Don't Mess With Texas Model: Missouri Can (Does) Do Better - The Missourian: Opinion

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Don't Mess With Texas Model: Missouri Can (Does) Do Better

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Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013 6:32 pm

Gov. Perry was to visit Missouri to cheer on supporters of HB 253 — and to try to steal our jobs, courtesy of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, AIM, and other groups. But a new publication, “Don’t Mess With the Texas Model: Missouri Can (and Does) Do Better” shows that Missourians should be wary of becoming more like Texas.

HB 253’s $800 million annual cost will drain our state of the resources to invest in education, child services, public safety, and other critical services that support our economy and allow families and businesses to thrive.

“They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and if they’re talking about class sizes, high school dropout rates, or property taxes, then they may be right,” said Amy Blouin, executive director of the Missouri Budget Project.

Though Texans don’t pay an income tax, they make up for those funds through a variety of other taxes that are higher in Texas. In addition, the state’s tax structure is less fair than Missouri’s, requiring low-income Texans to pay almost four times as much in taxes as a share of their income than wealthy Texans.

“But despite those higher taxes, Texas fails to invest in its citizens,” said Blouin. “A larger share of Texans live in poverty, and with such low graduation rates, it’s even harder for low-income families to make it to the middle class.”

HB 253 would cause similar impacts in Missouri. Though businesses look for an educated and skilled work force when making location and expansion decisions, HB 253 would rob our state of the resources to invest in its future, causing more crowded classrooms and higher college tuitions. To really compete in a 21st century economy, Missouri should invest in quality public schools, world-class universities, and efficient, state-of-the-art transportation systems.

The truth is that Missouri can do better than Texas. In fact, it already does, Blouin said.

/opinion