*Editor’s Note: This opinion is in response to a Lake view titled “HB 253 a step in the right direction for Mo.” by James Bryant published in the Friday, Sept. 6 Lake Sun.
Where do I start? First comparing advancements in light bulbs, computers and cars isn’t quite the same as rolling the dice on our state’s economy. If one of those advancements failed it wouldn’t have effected six millions lives in Missouri, HB 253 would have.
You state that Kansas and Oklahoma and other surrounding states are have been competitive in taking jobs from Missouri. You state that the numbers are in and they are winning. Really? If this is the case you failed to give one single number to back this statement up. In reality this is not true.
Kansas’s income tax collections dropped 17 percent within the last year. Missouri’s has risen 4.6 percent. If thousands of people were abandoning Missouri, these numbers would be reversed.
It is true that Kansas and Oklahoma’s unemployment rate are lower. Kansas at 5.9 percent and Oklahoma at 5.3 percent. Missouri is at 7.1%. Missouri also has six million people living in the state compared to Kansas with 2.8 million and Oklahoma with 3.8 million. They don’t need to add as many jobs to lower their unemployment rate. One thing to note too is that in both states their unemployment rates have been going up since they passed a income tax bill. Since Oklahoma has passed their bill back in Feb. they have lost jobs in every month but one.
Oklahoma has gone from 5.1 percent to 5.3%percent in the last few months, Kansas has gone from 5.5 percent to 5.9 percent. So if we are losing jobs to these states why are their unemployment numbers on the rise?
Kansas also had to pass a $777 million sales tax bill to pay for their income tax bill, meaning your boss keeps more of his money so you pay more in sales tax. They also are not dropping their income tax as much as our state is suggesting. Kansas wants to go from 4.9 percent to 3.9 percent, Oklahoma 5.25 percent to 5 percent. Missouri wants to drop from 6.5 percent to 3.5 percent. Kansas and Oklahoma are testing the water first before jumping right in, like you are suggesting.
Kansas sale tax was going to be reduced from 6.3 percent down to 5.7 percent in June of this year, but because of their income tax bill they had to lock it in at 6.15 percent and could be as high as 9.8 percent in some areas. Oklahoma’s is 4.5 percent to 11 percent. Missouri 4.225 percent to 9.6 percent without a income tax bill.
I agree that we do need to make some changes to make our state more competitive and we have. Two weeks ago a bill went into effect that revamps Missouri incentive programs it’s called Missouri Works.
Page 2 of 2 - This programs combines all four incentive programs into one, making it easier for business to apply for incentive programs. In the past, companies would have had to create 40 new jobs in two years to qualify for tax incentive programs. Now they only need to create ten new jobs or two in rural areas with a $100,000 investment.
The new program also refocus the state’s workforce development programs more on job placement and training.
One last thing Mr. Bryant, Ben Franklin did not say “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” It was Albert Einstein. Facts are facts. You should try looking them up.