April 3, 2012

Contra the KC Star: Tax Increases are NOT the Answer

The Kansas City Star wrote an op-ed urging Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to expend some of his political capital in order to bring in more revenue to fund state programs. The Star states that lawmakers in Jefferson City should stop bickering about which programs to cut (they specifically mention the current fight about cutting funds from higher education or funding for a medical program for the blind) and focus on finding new sources of revenue. They specifically mention reigning in tax credits and raising the tax on cigarettes.

Why are tax hikes even on the table? Legislators have not even cut all waste and low-priority programs from the state budget, never mind bigger ticket items such as higher education and medical programs for the blind. Considering that the Missouri House passed an appropriations bill that includes funding for the Missouri Wine & Grape Board along with ethanol subsidies (and that is only for the Department of Agriculture), the state has plenty of places to cut.

The Star editorial is not all bad. It does call for reigning in tax credits, which the Show-Me Institute has pushed for repeatedly. However, it also calls on raising the cigarette tax. The Show-Me Institute has written on this issue and the situation is the same now as it was then; raising taxes on cigarettes is not the cure for what ails Missouri.

Missouri needs a healthy environment so its economy can thrive. That does not just mean low taxes; it also means lowering regulatory burdens. Doing so will ensure that the state receives enough revenue so that all PROPER functions of government have enough funding to work effectively.

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