Wrong Thing to Do ... - The Missourian: Opinion

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Wrong Thing to Do ...

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

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce is supposed to represent business interests. By being a player in supporting the visit to Missouri by Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, the state Chamber placed itself in an antistate role since Perry is trying to lure Missouri companies to his state.

Perry, who probably will run for president in the Republican primary, came to Missouri for political reasons and to join in the movement to try to influence state legislators to override Gov. Nixon’s veto of HB 253, the controversial tax cut bill. Gov. Nixon vetoed the bill because he said it is a poorly written legislation that would mean cuts to state services, including education.

Supporters of the Perry visit the past week say it wasn’t planned to help the veto override effort and that he travels to other states to promote Texas. They don’t tell you that he also is trying to recruit companies to locate in his state. And, of course, for political reasons to promote his candidacy for president.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce president, Dan Mehan, believes that tax breaks will bring more companies and jobs to Missouri, which already is a low tax state, one of the lowest in the country. Also, Missouri has a number of incentives available to businesses in the state to help them expand and create more jobs. The incentives also are available to eligible prospects from other states. Companies in Washington and in Franklin County have taken advantages of these incentives.

It is interesting to note that prior to Perry’s speech Thursday night, a number of area companies were invited to a private reception with the Texas governor, according to the St. Louis Beacon. Perry’s expenses are being paid by TexasOne, a consortium focused on promoting economic growth by attracting more businesses to Texas.

TexasOne is running television and radio ads in the state in which Perry promotes Texas as pro-business, the Beacon reported. One radio station, KTRS (550 AM), pulled the ads because they focused on “wooing Missouri businesses to Texas.” Perry has endorsed the override of HB 253 by the Missouri General Assembly.

Behind the debate over HB 253 is the moneyman, Rex Sinquefield, who reportedly is funding the advertising campaign to override the veto of HB 253. Sinquefield wants to get rid of the state’s income tax and replace it with a higher sales tax. Texas does not have an income tax but its sales tax is higher than Missouri’s, as is Texas’ property, fuel and cigarette taxes. Gov. Nixon has pointed all of this out to the Missouri Chamber, which defended the Perry visit.

We agree with Gov. Nixon when he told the Missouri Chamber that it should support activities that seek to strenghten our economy — not undermine it.

Missouri Democrats said HB 253 would give the average Missourian a tax cut big enough to buy a Big Mac and the “favored few” would get a tax break of $1,200 bucks a year. The bill also would cripple public schools, eliminate services to the mentally ill and raise taxes on prescription drugs, the Democratic Party pointed out.

The Republicans, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and others who supported Perry’s visit did a disservice to Missouri and its citizens. We regret to say this newspaper is a member of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, which certainly doesn’t represent the positions of many of its members, including this member, on this issue. We are very disappointed in the Missouri Chamber.

/opinion