After the Missouri Legislature failed to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a tax cut bill last month, lawmakers vowed to bring it back next session.
That’s not surprising. The legislature is dominated by Republicans who believe in limited government and lower taxes.
The historic bill would have cut taxes for businesses and lowered the state’s income tax rate for the first time in 90 years.
One of the main arguments for the bill was that businesses were choosing to locate in other states that didn’t have income taxes. In a bizarre twist, proponents of the bill, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, brought in Texas Gov. Rick Perry to persuade lawmakers to override the bill. Perry’s form of persuasion was a statewide media campaign inviting Missouri businesses to move to Texas. That didn’t sit well with many Missourians who accused him of trying to poach Missouri jobs.
The tax cutters and Perry apologists say the issue is about our state competitiveness. Missouri is losing jobs to other states, so the argument goes, because our tax structure isn’t friendly to businesses.
That line of thinking was challenged this month by two independent reports that show Missouri more than holding its own when it comes to competitiveness in economic development. While neither report is likely to forestall another tax cut bill, they do shed some light on how Missouri fares in the national arena of taxes and jobs.
The Tax Foundation’s 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index ranked Missouri as having the seventh most favorable corporate tax structure and 16th best overall business tax climate in the nation.
A second finding, as reported by Bob Priddy of MissouriNet, indicates Missouri manufacturing has grown by a rate that is 11 times greater than the national average. Manufacturers’ News, which calls itself the nation’s biggest publisher of industrial databases, calculates Missouri manufacturing jobs from Aug. 20-12 to August 2013 grew by 1.1 percent, almost 3,300 manufacturing jobs. The national average was one-tenth of 1 percent.
The publication noted that the state’s central location and reasonable business costs make Missouri “a great place to do business.”
It appears our low business tax climate is attracting jobs.