Taxes - Testimony
Missouri’s Tax Administration Practices: Some Ideas For Improvement Print E-mail
By Michael Rathbone and David Stokes   
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Overall, the three guiding principles in tax policy and tax administration should be simplicity, consistency, and equity. Complexity and inconsistency in administration can cause confusion not only for taxpayers, but also for the people charged with enforcing the state’s rules and regulations.

 
Funding Transportation With A Temporary Sales And Use Tax Print E-mail
By Joseph Miller   
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Upon the legislature’s and voters’ approval, Missouri Senate Joint Resolution 48 (SJR48) would institute a 1 percent sales tax to fund significant transportation infrastructure investment in Missouri.

 
Missouri Public Pensions: Their Funding Status And Roadblocks To Reform Print E-mail
By Michael Rathbone   
Tuesday, April 08, 2014

If pension liabilities continue to be understated, the state faces a significant risk and policymakers may be forced to make drastic cuts to services or significantly raise taxes in order to meet the state’s pension obligations. The risk posed to Missouri’s financial well-being is a real and serious one.

 
Proposed Metro Fare Increase: Discussing The Options Print E-mail
By Joseph Miller   
Thursday, April 03, 2014

Raising Metrobus and Metrolink fares are a reasonable and, depending on the elasticity of transit demand, often an effective method for increasing transit revenues.

 
Corporate And Pass-Through Income Taxation: Time For Reform Print E-mail
By Patrick Ishmael   
Tuesday, February 04, 2014

For the past decade, Missouri has fallen behind its sister states in economic growth. As noted in our paper “Cutting the Ties That Bind: End Missouri’s Corporate Income Tax,” Missouri’s economic performance places it in the bottom tier nationally. It's time to reform corporate and pass-through income taxes.

 
Testimony: Missouri’s Taxing Environment: Some Ideas For Reform Print E-mail
By Michael Rathbone   
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Taxes affect the decisions that people make about spending and investing their money. In an analysis of Missouri’s tax structure, Show-Me Institute Chief Economist Joseph Haslag found that a land tax would cause less economic harm than income taxes, and among income taxes, income taxes on capital are the most harmful. Haslag also found that if the state replaced its income tax with a revenue neutral sales tax, it would realize faster economic growth.

 
Paving The Way To Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure Print E-mail
By Joseph Miller   
Friday, December 20, 2013

To maximize the benefit of every dollar spent on transportation infrastructure, MoDOT should focus on matching infrastructure supply with transportation demand, while supporting flexibility in the public transportation sector.

 
Take This TIF And Pool It! Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

When it comes to municipal sales tax competition, Missouri has gone too far. The sales tax pool system in Saint Louis County has been one way to address that problem.

 
Warren County Should Not Institute An Enhanced Enterprise Zone Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The dirty little secret that nobody seems to want to recognize, or even attempt to uncover, is that Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ), Tax Increment Financing (TIF), and other subsidies do not work. They do not succeed in growing the local economy. The panoply of subsidies that come into play when a large area is declared blighted can have a number of adverse side effects. They shrink the local tax base, encourage more government planning of the economy, and increase the chances of eminent domain abuse. As a famous Swedish economist once said, “It is not by planting trees or subsidizing tree planting in a desert created by politicians that the government can promote . . . industry, but by refraining from measures that create a desert environment.”

 
Missouri's Public Pensions: Worse Than They Appear Print E-mail
By Michael Rathbone   
Thursday, March 14, 2013

The unfunded liabilities of the state’s public pensions are an economic ticking time bomb, which the state is obligated to honor. By incorrectly assessing the risk of not being able to meet future liabilities, these pensions significantly underestimate the amount of additional funding they need in order to be financially secure. A new policy study for the Show-Me Institute shows that if these public employee pensions use a more appropriate discount rate, they pose a real threat to the state’s finances. If left unaddressed, the state faces a significant risk and policymakers will be forced to make drastic cuts to services or significantly raise taxes in order to meet the liabilities. The risk posed to Missourians’ quality of life is a real and serious one. The study estimates that the liability equals nearly $9,000 for every Missourian.

 
Corporate and Pass-Through Income Taxation: Time for Reform Print E-mail
By Patrick Ishmael and Michael Rathbone   
Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Missouri is not doing well economically. For the past decade, the state has fallen behind its sister states in economic growth. As noted in our paper “Cutting the Ties That Bind: End Missouri’s Corporate Income Tax,” Missouri’s economic performance places it in the bottom tier nationally.

 
Missouri Transportation Infrastructure Funding Print E-mail
By David Stokes and Michael Rathbone   
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Many elected officials and state transportation voices are proposing a bond issue to fund significant transportation infrastructure investment in Missouri. We support that idea. Now is the time for major transportation investment in our state. The reconstruction, expansion, and repair of our state’s highways, bridges, and ports are needed and the timing is right for the state to do it now. Missouri will benefit in many ways from this investment.

 
Missouri's Bonding Future Print E-mail
By Michael Rathbone   
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It is easy to see why bonds are attractive; the influx of revenue allows favored projects to be financed while minimizing, or in some cases, completely avoiding, tax increases. However, bonds are not free money. There are several factors worth considering before issuing new bonds . . .

 
Corporate and Pass-Through Income Taxation: Time for Reform Print E-mail
By Patrick Ishmael and Michael Rathbone   
Thursday, February 07, 2013

Missouri is not doing well economically. For the past decade, the state has fallen behind its sister states in economic growth. As noted in our paper “Cutting the Ties That Bind: End Missouri’s Corporate Income Tax,” Missouri’s economic performance places it in the bottom tier nationally.

 
Sales Tax Pooling Should Be Expanded in Missouri Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The federal government recently released the 2012 Census of Governments. According to that data, Missouri has the sixth-highest total of local governments of the 50 states. More directly to the issue of sales tax pooling, Missouri has the fourth highest number of municipalities and the fourth-highest number of counties. This is pertinent because many other types of local government (school districts, special road districts, etc.) lack authority to impose sales taxes, but all cities and counties have that authority. With so many cities and counties imposing sales taxes, tax competition can be a major factor in Missouri. Competition is good, but as with many things, it can be taken too far. When it comes to municipal sales tax competition, Missouri has gone too far. In some counties, expansion of the policy known as sales tax pooling is necessary to improve our tax base and limit government involvement in the economy.

 
Special Taxing Districts In Nixa, MO Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Missouri has seen an explosion of new taxing districts during the past decade. These districts are used as vehicles to focus public tax dollars toward private purposes. They include the use of tax increment financing (TIF), Chapter 100 bonds, transportation development districts (TDD), community improvement districts (CID), and more.

 
Tax Credits: A Poor Strategy for Economic Development Print E-mail
By Christine Harbin   
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

These programs defeat the purposes that supporters usually cite in their favor: encouraging employment and helping Missouri compete. In short, tax credits are a form of wealth redistribution — we all bear the cost, but only special interests and favored industries benefit.

 
Flexible Commercial Surcharge Rates Would Promote Economic Growth in Missouri Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Tuesday, February 16, 2010

David Stokes, a policy analyst with the Show-Me Institute, testifies before the Missouri House of Representatives Job Creation and Economic Development Committee, about the economic effects of pending legislation, House Joint Resolution 81. Stokes argues that the commercial surcharge rates established 25 years ago long outdated, and that legislation allowing local officials to reduce those rates in response to changing economic conditions would provide a strong incentive for businesses to stay in Missouri.

 
General Guidelines For Charter Governments: Testimony Before the Franklin County Charter Commission Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Wednesday, October 01, 2008

David Stokes, a Show-Me Institute policy analyst, makes recommendations for provisions that should be included in the proposed Franklin County charter.

 
Testimony Before the Metro Board of Commissioners Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thank you for the opportunity to submit my comments about the upcoming sales tax vote in Saint Louis County, the proposed service cuts if the tax increase does not pass, and more. This testimony follows up on comments I made last month, at Metro’s invitation, at the Missouri Public Transit Association’s convention. The primary point of this testimony is not to comment on the proposed service cuts, but to suggest alternative means of financing and providing mass transit in general. These ideas will hopefully be given consideration, whether or not voters pass the sales tax increase, although they may become imperative should the measure be defeated.

 
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