This weekend, The New York Times kicked off a three-part investigative series titled “The United States of Subsidies.” The series highlights the problems that tax incentives, state and local, pose to government budgets and the barriers they may erect to genuine and sustainable economic growth. The Times‘ series is especially notable for Missourians because the authors have begun it with a special focus on the economic Border War that has embroiled the Kansas City region for years. The Times‘ video report featuring the governors of both Missouri and Kansas is embedded below and is a must-see for Missourians who are worried not only about the state’s tax credit problem, but about making sure the state is economically competitive.
Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal wrote a similar piece about the incentives handed out for the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City. We at the Show-Me Institute have long-criticized the wasteful use of incentives in this state and around Kansas City. David Stokes has heavily criticized the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and has continuously advocated for statewide TIF reform. Last week, Michael Rathbone and I put forward a proposal to make Missouri more competitive and to mitigate the use of tax credits in Missouri. Soon we will publish an essay about the tax on pass-through income in the state, a topic about which Brenda Talent and I wrote in the Kansas City Star last month. Indeed, a lot can and will happen in the state over the next few months as the legislative session opens. Missourians who want to move the state forward do not have the luxury of sitting on the sidelines.