Essay
Justifying Boeing: A Post-Mortem Analysis On The Process Print E-mail
By Joseph Haslag   
Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Last year, Missouri’s General Assembly passed and the governor signed legislation that would provide $1.7 billion in tax incentives to Boeing conditional on the company locating all or part of the assembly plant for the 777 aircraft in Missouri. In January 2014, Boeing reached a deal with the key unions in the state of Washington and decided to continue manufacturing the Boeing 777 there.

In this post-mortem review, the emphasis will be on the process used to justify the Missouri tax incentive package. In particular, the governor proclaimed that this deal would generate an additional $2.9 billion in state revenues, thus more than paying for the costs of the tax incentive package. Quantitative analysis is imperative for a society to make good public policy decisions. Unfortunately, it is imperative that transparency is part of the quantitative analysis. In short, how did the governor arrive at the $2.9 billion figure?

 
Available Seats? Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D.   
Sunday, January 12, 2014

Throughout Missouri, many families find that the district-run public schools in their area simply are not the best option for their children. It seems clear that families want choices. This essay examines the data on what parents want, what private schools can supply, and how much taxpayers could save.

 
Increasing The Minimum Wage Does More Harm Than Good Print E-mail
By Rik W. Hafer   
Thursday, November 21, 2013

Establishing a minimum wage higher than the going wage rate for the low-skilled segment of the working population will harm many of the very workers for whom the minimum wage is supposed to help.

 
What Makes a Good Tax Structure Print E-mail
By Joseph Haslag and Haleigh Albers   
Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Tax reform is not limited to dealing with the complexity of the tax code. It is also about answering the question: what kind of taxes do the least harm to Missourians?

 
New Evidence of the Effects of City Earnings Taxes on Growth Print E-mail
By Howard Wall with Foreword by David Stokes and Michael Rathbone   
Monday, September 30, 2013

Although the theory behind replacing earnings taxes with other revenue sources is fairly straightforward, its empirical importance has not been settled. The purpose of the present essay is to offer a new perspective on the possible empirical implications of city earnings taxes in Saint Louis and Kansas City. Updated October 1, 2013, with a foreword by David Stokes and Michael Rathbone.

 
The Power To Lead: Analysis Of Superintendent Survey Responses Regarding Teacher Tenure Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D. and Kacie Barnes   
Monday, August 19, 2013

Of all the decisions an employer must make, none may be as important as staffing. This does not just include who they hire, but also who they fire. An effective leader should be able to identify those who are not performing at an acceptable level, work with that individual to help them improve, and terminate him or her when necessary. But what if state law does not provide such flexibility? What if the employer is required to give the employee 90 working days to improve before finally being able to dismiss the employee and replace him or her with a higherquality employee? That type of regulation does not seem optimal for a business’ success, but it is exactly the position in which Missouri school leaders find themselves. In many instances, these restrictions limit the power principals and superintendents have to effectively lead their schools.

 
Redefining Public Education Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D.   
Friday, July 26, 2013

Show-Me Institute Education Policy Analyst, James Shuls, PhD, takes a look at the impact of De La Salle Middle School on education in St. L ouis, MO. Shuls' analysis considers a broader definition of public education that is focused on educating the public at large, not just those who attend publicly financed schools.

 
Public Dollars, Private Schools: Examining the Options in Missouri Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D.   
Friday, April 26, 2013

“Isn’t that just a voucher?” I often hear that question when I discuss enabling students to use public dollars to attend private schools. This question is an attempt to do two things: (1) lump all forms of state-supported private school choice programs into one group and (2) dismiss these programs with a word that to some has a negative connotation. Labeling all programs that give students the ability to attend a private school with state money a “voucher” may be an effective rhetorical device, but it obfuscates the important distinctions that exist between different types of programs. Even worse, it ignores the potential benefits private school choice programs can bring to students and the state.

 
Why We Need School Choice Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D.   
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Throughout the country, lawmakers have discussed expanding educational options for students by establishing charter schools or allowing public dollars to go to private schools. Yet bills that legislators proposed often failed to gain much traction; in part, because opponents of school choice often hail the traditional system where children are zoned for a local public school based on their address. Some view this method of delivering public education as the model because democratically elected officials control the schools on a local level. Though democratically controlled local school districts meet the needs of many students, they simply cannot satisfy the needs of all families. Many families, mine included, have found the traditional system to be frustrating and unresponsive.

 
Passing Through Missouri: Left Behind on Taxes? Print E-mail
By Patrick Ishmael and Michael Rathbone   
Friday, February 08, 2013

Missouri’s economic growth is lagging behind the rest of the country. As we wrote in our recent research report, “Cutting The Ties That Bind: End Missouri’s Corporate Income Tax,” Missouri’s economic performance places it squarely in the bottom tier of economic performers compared to other state economies.

 
Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying: Government Lobbying Government Print E-mail
By David Stokes and Abhi Sivasailam   
Monday, December 10, 2012

This paper discusses taxpayer-funded lobbying and attempts to qualify its use in Missouri. In connection with this paper, the Show-Me Institute has collected contracts between dozens of local governments and lobbying firms in Missouri and made those contracts available at smiinfo.org/lobbycontracts. Those contracts will give Missourians a better idea of who their local governments are hiring for lobbying, what they are aiming for, and how they are spending tax dollars.

The practice of government using tax dollars to lobby other governments appears to often be a lose-lose proposition for taxpayers. In many cases, if the lobbying succeeds, government expands; if it fails, government wastes tax dollars. The authors hope that this paper and the disclosure of existing contracts will subject taxpayer-funded lobbying to greater scrutiny, transparency, and accountability in Missouri.

Full Essay (PDF)

Related Links

Commentary: “Missouri’s Taxpayers Lobbying To Pay More Taxes?” by Mary Kate Hopkins

Public Documents: Missouri State and Local government lobbying contracts, searchable

 
Cutting The Ties That Bind: End Missouri’s Corporate Income Tax Print E-mail
By Patrick Ishmael and Michael Rathbone   
Thursday, November 29, 2012

For more than a decade, Missouri has suffered economically. Formerly a state of middling economic fortunes, Missouri now sits firmly in the bottom tier of growth nationally. From 1997 to 2011, Missouri was ranked 48th out of 50 states in real state gross domestic product (GDP) growth and 46th in total employment growth.

 
The Salary Straitjacket: The Pitfalls Of Paying All Teachers The Same Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D.   
Monday, October 29, 2012

Imagine a school in which the highest prize for academic achievement went to the student who had been there the longest. Though it seems ridiculous to reward students in this manner, this is exactly how school districts reward teachers — by longevity. Teachers by and large are paid on a single salary schedule. These schedules not only fail to reward teachers based on their quality, but they fail to recognize that teaching different subjects and grade levels requires different skill sets and that those particular skill sets are in varying demand in the marketplace. For instance, there are reportedly 3.1 jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for every one unemployed person in Missouri. In comparison, there is only 1 non-STEM job for every 3.7 unemployed people. This means teachers with strong backgrounds in math and science may have more, higher-paying options outside of teaching. This is a reality we must address.

 
Slip Sliding Away: The Weak Relative Growth of the Missouri Economy Print E-mail
By Joseph Haslag and Michael Podgursky   
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The purpose of this essay is to examine the relative economic performance of Missouri with two comparisons. Our first benchmark is the overall U.S. economy, where we find that output and job growth in our state has consistently lagged behind that of the nation as a whole. For example, if Missouri economic performance had simply paced that of the nation since 1997, state output would be $285 billion higher than it is today. We draw out the consequences of this stagnation in terms of lost tax revenues, jobs, and charitable contributions. A second benchmark is our neighbors: Missouri’s economic performance was dead last or second to last when compared to our neighboring states. In short, Missouri’s relative performance over the last decade and a half has been dreadful.

 
Attacks on Fair Tax Are Propaganda, Not Economic Analysis Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Coalition for Missouri’s Future, a group organized to oppose efforts to eliminate Missouri’s income tax and replace it with a more broadly-based sales tax (a.k.a., The Fair Tax), has produced a series of papers questioning the benefits of the switch. The papers — currently there are five — have been written by Brian Schmidt, the former executive director of the Missouri General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Tax Policy, who is now doing private consulting. The papers raise some interesting questions and fair points, but they cannot be considered legitimate economic analysis. If the organization who commissioned the papers wanted useful propaganda, they got it. If they wanted any type of serious economic analysis, the papers fail completely in that regard.

 
City Managers and County Seats: Differences Between Kansas City and Saint Louis Governments Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Thursday, December 22, 2011

Missouri’s two largest cities, and their related primary counties, have chosen substantially different systems of local government. The stark differences between Saint Louis and Kansas City stand out, even though it is common for larger cities within the same state to have different government structures.1 These differences among the governments of Kansas City and Jackson County, and Saint Louis City and the neighboring, but separate, Saint Louis County, are both obvious and subtle. In fact, the few similarities are rare enough to be notable by that reason (similarity) alone.

 
Payments in Lieu of Taxes as a Supplemental Revenue Source After the Earnings Tax Elimination Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Thursday, March 31, 2011

Proposition A, passed by Missouri voters last November, requires that Kansas City and Saint Louis allow citizens the opportunity to vote on the continuation of their local earnings taxes within six months of the measure’s passage. Voters may decide to maintain their earnings taxes at that time, or they may choose to sunset it over the coming 10 years. As they weigh their decision, it is important for officials to begin considering alternative methods by which their cities can raise revenues that will fund necessary services.

 
New Evidence of the Effects of City Earnings Taxes on Growth Print E-mail
By Howard Wall   
Friday, March 25, 2011

Although the theory behind replacing earnings taxes with other revenue sources is fairly straightforward, its empirical importance has not been settled. The purpose of the present essay is to offer a new perspective on the possible empirical implications of city earnings taxes in Saint Louis and Kansas City.

 
Income Taxes vs. Sales Taxes: A Welfare Comparison Print E-mail
By Grant Casteel and Joseph Haslag   
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Which tax structure — sales or income — is most preferred by the typical Missourian? Because both types of taxes are distortionary, it is difficult to tell whether welfare is higher under the system relying more heavily on the income tax or under the system relying more heavily on the sales tax. This essay uses quantitative methods built on logically consistent economic theory to compare welfare under the two alternative tax structures.

 
The Missouri Compromise Print E-mail
By Art Laffer   
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A tax-swap proposal to eliminate both Missouri's personal income tax and corporate income tax in favor of a static revenue-neutral sales tax increase is currently edging ever-closer to becoming a constitutional amendment. The benefits from reform could be enormous if the process is administered well and the constitutional amendment is carefully crafted. 

 
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