There are a substantial number of government programs to stimulate economic investment in Missouri. There are 36 different state economic development tax credit programs, each with their own requirements and rules.

They range from large programs, such as the historic preservation tax credit and the Quality Jobs program, to the small, such as the state’s film tax credit. There are at least half a dozen more state-authorized local tax incentive programs, such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Missouri, like many states, aggressively uses these programs to encourage investments the government deems desirable.

But do these programs work? Do they accomplish their various goals, which have many different angles but all fall eventually into the categories of economic growth and job creation? These programs may not be as intense as a Soviet Five-Year Plan, but they are centralized economic planning nonetheless. Any time the government takes tax dollars and directs them to other areas of a market economy, it is engaged in central planning. Some planning is essential, but has this type of economic planning benefitted our state or our local communities?

This study relates closely to the current debate over Enhanced Enterprise Zones (EEZs) in Missouri.

Note: The data source for Personal Income, Per-Capita Income, and Total Employment is the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The source for Labor Force is the Economic & Policy Analysis Research Center at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The source for Assessed Valuation is the Missouri State Tax Commission.

Related Links

Commentary: Why Enhanced Enterprise Zones Are A Bad Deal For Missouri Cities

Commentary: EEZs Are An EZ Path To Corporate Welfare

Commentary: Callaway County Does Not Need An EEZ

About the Author

David Stokes
David Stokes was a policy analyst at the Show-Me Institute from 2007 to 2014 and was director of development from 2014 to 2016.