The Missouri State Auditor recently released a report on the Missouri Quality Jobs Incentive Program and the results are not good. The audit:
(1) determined that due to weaknesses in program data, program effectiveness and efficiency could not be determined, (2) identified deficiencies in internal controls, (3) identified noncompliance with legal provisions, and (4) identified the need for improvement in management practices and procedures.
Needless to say, the auditor rated the overall performance of this program as poor. I am not really shocked that an economic development program that the state administers is run poorly. If I am surprised about governmental incompetence, I am in the wrong line of work. However, even when it is clearly demonstrated that another government-run program is not working, legislators refuse to do anything about it. It seems Ronald Reagan was right when he said the closest thing to eternal life on earth is a government program.
I know I am starting to sound like a broken record, but the state should eliminate economic development tax credits and the corporate income tax. Not only would this abolish ineffective programs like the Quality Jobs Incentive Program, it would be fairer to everybody. The government would not be in the business of picking winners and losers and it would benefit all corporations instead of a select few.
The auditor’s report is the latest in a growing pile of evidence that tax incentive programs are not working. If the state really wants to make a positive step toward renewed economic growth, it should eliminate the corporate income tax.