The house passed the Economic Development Bill today by a vote of 98 to 48. 

I voted for several amendments to the Economic development bill including amendments to:

·      Cut the Corporate Tax ¾ of a percentage (the only part of the bill that provides a decent help to more businesses than just the ones picked for targeted tax credits)

·      A sales tax holiday for products that are “Made in the USA” (Finally a step in the right direction to ultimately encourage production of goods in America and also good for business in our state)

·      No sunsets on Tax Credits for Food Pantries and Pregnancy Care Resource Centers. (These tax credits operates more like a tax deduction and they are nontransferable so no one stands to profit at the expense of the taxpayer Also, these are for benevolent organizations, not businesses so no one is forced into a competitive disadvantage)

After other amendments were added, I had doubts about a vote I cast to add sunsets to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, I liked a plan that I heard later by Rep Ryan Silvey.  Rep Silvey had offered up an amendment to bring every tax credit under review every four years instead of sunsets. Due to the nature of the various types of tax credit programs (some are more characteristic of tax deductions etc…) I think it would be a good idea to bring ALL of them up for review on a routine basis, at this time in our state, we do not have the luxury of perpetual tax credit programs that continue on without any oversight.

Although I voted in favor of several amendments, I ultimately voted NO on the entire bill for two main reasons: 

(1) The bill was extremely bloated and covered an entire host of different issues and tax credit programs and we didn’t even debate the content of the proposed 200 page + bill on the house floor, we just debated different amendments.  The 200 pages of this bill were given to us a day or so before we arrived in Jefferson City and many of us felt we didn’t have adequate time to study the new version of the bill. 

(2) I believe the Economic Philosophy of the state is headed in the wrong direction; instead of using sound principles of economics to spur economic growth, we are debating how best to control the economy in an attempt to force it into prosperity instead of relying on consumers and producers to initiate the growth. When the government issues policies to choose who can and who cannot participate in the market  we only put more economic control in the hands of bureaucrats and politicians who feel they can improve the economy by writing new laws.  The government cannot predict supply and demand so they should stop trying to give economic advantages to one industry over another. The more we do this, the deeper of a hole we will have to dig ourselves out of when we finally decide to break a sweat on the tax reform that we desperately need to give businesses more economic freedom to succeed and prosper.

I am glad that there were beneficial items in this bill but  unfortunately the cost of this bill seems to have outweighed the overall benefit, especially if we continue with flawed economic policy geared more and more toward central planning.

Freedom, liberty and property rights for consumers, producers and laborers will make us the most prosperous in the end; it worked the first 200+ years in America and I believe that if we try it again we will see some great innovation come out of our state!