Last week, Kansas City Week in Review had a fascinating segment about the economics and politics of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s tax cut veto. Among other things, the panelists talked a little bit about the “victories” each side of the Kansas-Missouri economic border war had experienced in recent years. Kansas City Star reporter Kevin Collison specifically cited two Missouri “wins” — Freightquote and Applebee’s.
Well, you know, Missouri has gotten a few major wins, too. Freightquote, a major firm, is going to be moving into their new space on the Missouri side of the border. There has certainly been a lot — Applebee’s came over here. Kansas has had an edge…
As we’ve noted here before, both Freightquote ($60-plus million) and Applebee’s ($10-plus million) were promised massive tax incentive packages to get them to move into Missouri. That’s remarkable for one big reason: For all the hand-wringing about how disastrous tax cuts would be, it is ironic and hilarious that the very “wins” Collison and others cite in support of the status quo are themselves . . . extremely targeted tax cuts. What else would you call reducing the tax burden for a few businesses?
A better policy, based in the literature, would be to reduce taxes for everyone. Why Collison and others would support special tax breaks for the favored few, and then deny tax relief for millions of others, is strange, unfortunate, and wrong.