Report criticizes Missouri, Kansas business battle

Thursday, January 24, 2013 | 7:42 a.m. CST; updated 9:54 a.m. CST, Thursday, January 24, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY — A new report cites the tax incentive battle between Kansas and Missouri as a prime example of how states are squandering taxpayer dollars in the name of job creation.

The report by the Washington, D.C.-based group Good Jobs First recommends that states stop providing subsidies for companies that move existing jobs to new locations across state lines.

It cites the battle between Kansas and Missouri over businesses in the Kansas City area as the most intense "jobs border war" in the nation. The two states have offered hundreds of millions of dollars of tax incentives for businesses to locate in the Kansas City area. But sometimes those businesses have moved just a few miles across the border.

The report says other battles are centered in Charlotte, N.C., and Memphis, Tenn.

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Michael Williams January 24, 2013 | 9:00 a.m.

This article fails to make its point, which is "states are squandering taxpayer dollars in the name of job creation."

There may indeed be a link between providing subsidies for jobs and "squandering" taxpayer dollars, but this article sure doesn't explain it.

I've heard these claims before, but each argument stops short of explaining whether the subsidy money is eventually recovered by jobholders paying various taxes by the simple virtue of being there. "Squandering" would be not getting your money's worth.

This article concludes right up front that there is squandering, yet never makes its case. It (mis)leads readers to a conclusion that is never supported.

Really bad journalism.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin January 24, 2013 | 9:28 a.m.

That looks like just a "bullet" -- a brief wire story that might be inserted with a series or other longer stories with related subject matter. It's not designed to be that complete. Most wire stories average 500 words; this one comes in at 130.

Generally, the best incentive for job creation and new business is across the board lower taxes, fees, and non-redundant, fair regulations, not re-distributionist tax giveaways and weirdly intrusive programs like EEZ. But then, the latter allow politicians more control and a new tool in their re-election toolbox.

This New York Times series explains the incentive situation better.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 24, 2013 | 9:41 a.m.

"It's not designed to be that complete."

My question would then be, "Why write it?"

You may as well write "blah&%$#^&!)blah+*^(blah$&)$@blah&*#^!(#%+$blah(^+@%@&!"

Would make about as much sense.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 24, 2013 | 9:46 a.m.

I'm particularly interested to see what happens in Kansas, given their recent aggressive tax changes. I hear Nebraska is following their lead.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 24, 2013 | 11:15 a.m.

"I'm particularly interested to see what happens in Kansas, given their recent aggressive tax changes"

Should be interesting to see if tax cuts on State level produce growth and additional revenue for government, as they do for central government.

If they do will liberal D's change their tune? No, they'll probably write "*^(blah$&)$@blah&*#^!"

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 24, 2013 | 11:44 a.m.

Frank: East Kansas has been eating Missouri for lunch for a long time. I first recognized it when the speedway/Cabela's complex went in on I-70 way back when (You can also see it along I-435; not much happens until you cross the state line from east to west).

Of course, it is perfectly acceptable to argue "Did we want such a thing in MO anyway? Should we go after such things?". But, after we say, "No", any subsequent gripes about losses of business and tax revenues seem a bit churlish and I get unsympathetic in a real hurry.

There are consequences, good and bad, to every such decision. But, you should have to live with those consequences, whatever they may be, after the decision has been made.

East Kansas' arrow is pointed up. KCMO, not so much......

PS: For the life of me, I cannot figure out why the hell there is no good highway system from KCMO towards the Memphis area. You can easily go from Joplin to STL on I-44, but to get to SE Missouri from KCMO (and even Columbia) and beyond you have to go east through STL and then south.

Maybe I just answered my own question......

(Report Comment)

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