Missing the Big Picture

Missouri's tax system needs an overhaul, not a holiday

That's right. Just equaling the national average in per capita net corporate-income-tax collections would add more than a quarter-billion dollars to state government. That's two months of sales-tax holidays.

Obviously, raising rates by 43 percent overnight would send some companies scurrying overnight, but it's not clear that phasing in increases to bring the state's corporate community up to a fairer share -- on the basis of national numbers -- is not an achievable goal. At least the idea should be on the table.

Now if someone could show that Missouri's tax-friendly status has been a magnet for some stunning influx of new and expanding industry, it would follow that lower corporate taxes paid off in thousands of jobs and thus a booming economy. Nice theory, but who's buying it?

Where are all these companies?

The numbers don't translate into eternal truths, and it can't be assumed that hitting the national norm is a utopian ideal. But don't you think the legislators ought to have a look around the country before flinging millions of tax cuts on a lark? And shouldn't they be looking at the big picture?

Imagine a day in Jefferson City on which legislators ignored their corporate benefactors and restructured the tax code to bring companies' contribution up to the national average. You know what the average citizen could call that day?

A real tax holiday.

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