We’re in the twilight of the legislative session here in Missouri, and as tends to happen, it looks like there’s going to be a legislative twist at the end. General Motors, the American car conglomerate, is reportedly considering a $1 billion expansion at its Wentzville auto production facility in the suburbs of St. Louis. The first the public heard about the proposal was on May 1, meaning that if the legislature passes a tax incentive plan of any kind for the company, General Motors will have gone from nothing to likely millions of dollars in hand in the course of only about 18 days.
To be clear: the Missouri Senate has put the brakes on all manner of tax relief for Missouri taxpayers—while pulling out all the stops for corporate welfare like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit—for the last five months. Now that another corporate crony has come with arms outstretched and “jobs” on its lips, the folks in Jefferson City have snapped back to life and are ready to let the money pour from public coffers like they just backed over a fire hydrant with a truck.
Here’s a proposal: Permanently end the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and save $180 million per year. Dramatically reduce and reform the historic preservation tax credit and save tens of millions of dollars per year. Drastically reduce and eventually end the corporate income tax.
Stop being such an easy mark. Stop just giving away other peoples’ money. And if General Motors needs a tax break, perhaps the people who would be forced to subsidize the company need one too.