"Made in Missouri" Business Enticements Come at High Cost to Elderly Residents



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In September, Missouri lawmakers are expected to reconvene for a special session aimed at passing a jobs creation package to promote economic development. Legislation that increases corporate tax exemptions and general business incentives, though deeply flawed as policy, isn’t a novel concept.  Yet, leaders in Jefferson City are expected to do more than simply give money to corporations: lawmakers are actually planning to pay for these giveaways by revoking property tax credits for elderly and disabled renters.

The Associated Press reports that the legislation “would authorize tax breaks to attract international shippers to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.... It also would create incentives for science and technology companies, computer-based data storage centers and big-time amateur sporting events. And it would revamp existing programs so Missouri could offer incentives to retain companies being enticed by other states – a provision particularly intended counteract Kansas' efforts to lure companies from Kansas City, Mo.”

Of course, there is little evidence that these giveaways will actually produce jobs for Missourians, or expedite business decisions to expand in the Show Me State.

But, it’s been demonstrated repeatedly that programs like low income property tax circuit breakers, which mitigate the cost of property taxes, do produce results – and make an enormous difference in the budgets of low income folks.

Missouri lawmakers should take a serious step back and reexamine their intentions.  Taking property tax credits away from elderly renters to pay for dubious breaks for corporations isn’t a legacy lawmakers can feel proud of.

Photo via Tim 7423 Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

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