Next week, Gov. Bob Holden will stand before the General Assembly and offer his take on the needs of Missouri in the annual State of the State address. It will come as no surprise that Holden will offer a surprisingly similar agenda as he did last year and it will come as no surprise that his ideas for tax increases will likely fail as they did last year.
On Tuesday of this week, Senate leader Peter Kinder announced legislation that would prohibit a governor - any governor - from basing the state budget on tax increases that have yet to be approved. The move would require a constitutional amendment and I have no idea where that may be headed. But Kinder, I believe at least, is trying to make the point that budgets should be based on real numbers and not projections of tax hikes that have proven far less than popular.
When Holden addresses the legislators, he'll rant and rave about the need to close tax loopholes for businesses and he'll offer legislation that would raise some business taxes to help fund a sagging economy.
Well the timing couldn't be worse. On Tuesday, Union Pacific Railroad announced they would transfer more than 1,000 workers from St. Louis to Nebraska primarily because of the tax incentives available there that are not available here. In short, Holden will surely get the message that taxing business at this time is unwise.
The competition for jobs is intense in today's marketplace. Just ask the economic development specialist in Sikeston. Our Sikeston office works long and hard to attract jobs here but other communities are equally as active. And when deciding where to locate, the tax environment is a crucial factor.
The pols in Jefferson City must live within their financial means because we the taxpayer provide those means. And it appears that at this time, the taxpayer has had just about enough additional blows to the pocketbook. So that means cuts are required in state spending to balance the books at the end of the year.
The loss of 1,000 jobs will not make the difference in balancing the state budget. But the attitude and approach that moved these jobs to Nebraska is a telling sign of the times. We need to attract industry and therefore jobs. And you don't do that by placing an additional tax burden on their shoulders.