As Show-Me Policy Assistant Kacie Galbraith noted last week, I was not high on the idea of reconstituting the Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission (TCRC) this year because I assumed the commission would, at best, reaffirm its previous findings. I said at the time that “[w]hat I want to see is leadership on the issue from our elected officials, not a cycle of committee meetings where nothing gets done.”
In fact, the TCRC’s new recommendations actually kick the tax credit reform can even further down the road, presenting an even less ambitious reform proposal than it did in 2010. Among other things, the TCRC recommended higher caps than it did just two years ago on giant fiscal violators such as the Historic Preservation Tax Credit program. Missouri’s tax credit disease has become worse over the last two years. In response, the TCRC has recommended . . . dialing down the reform dosage from its previous reform prescription.
What a disappointment.
That does not mean that nothing worthwhile came from the TCRC, or at least, despite it. Based in part on commission member Craig Van Matre’s early draft report, eight commission members also produced a blistering minority report. That report actually cites free-market luminaries such as Frederick Hayek and Henry Hazlitt for intellectual support and takes a rhetorical hammer to the state’s tax credit woes. That report is embedded below.
It really would have been something if the TCRC had adopted the minority report rather than retrenched the tax credit status quo. Sadly, the body on the whole took the tax credit debate in precisely the wrong direction.