Archive for Friday, April 5, 2013

Editorial: Border battle

A new survey of small-business owners indicates that tax cuts may not be the key to making Kansas or Missouri more attractive to business.

April 5, 2013


Some rivalries and competitions just are not destined to fade away. Kansas vs. Missouri is a case in point.

Sure, the annual Big 12 (and predecessor conference) athletic events have been tabled by conference realignment decisions, but the border between the states still spurs intense scrutiny by both parties, with each wanting to be aware of what’s going on across the line.

Missouri lawmakers, for example, are being urged by their business constituents to reduce income taxes to emulate Kansas. “Kansas is specifically targeting Missouri businesses. I believe if we do nothing, we’re going to lose Missouri businesses,” said a lawmaker who is a sponsor of the Show-Me state’s income tax cut proposal.

Missouri educators, on the other hand, are warning that such a “me-too” tax cut likely means reductions in revenues for schools — and they point to Kansas as an example. A St. Louis-based nonprofit organization has begun running ads opposing the tax cut, which it says would reduce Missouri’s revenues by $960 million annually.

The nonprofit might find some support for its position in the results of a nationwide survey of more than 7,000 small-business owners undertaken by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and, an online personnel service.

That survey showed that Kansas was rated friendlier to small businesses than Missouri, getting an A grade to Missouri’s C. However, that friendliness apparently wasn’t based on the survey’s “tax code” ratings, which were nearly identical for the two states: Kansas got a B+ and Missouri got a B-. “Some 7,000 business owners across the country have told us that they care about a lot more than just taxes. For most businesses, simple licensing regulations and helpful training programs are even more important to their success,” a survey spokesman reported. The survey measured a number of factors that should act as a guide for local governments, as well as states, seeking to be business-friendly.

The results indicate Missouri has work to do in some areas. Kansas outpaced its neighbor in nine of 11 categories: overall friendliness, ease of starting a business, regulations, employment/labor and hiring, tax code, licensing, environmental, zoning, and training and networking programs. The Sunflower State trailed in the categories of ease of hiring and health and safety.

All we need now is a marching band, cheerleaders, and biased announcers! Then let the games begin!


Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Politicians are not interested in creating new employment and industries. It has come down to stealing from one another which brings a net zero in new industry and new employment.

Wasted and reckless use of tax dollars such as this shenanigan demonstrates.

Whoaaaaa $700 million a year in corporate welfare. This scam starts with the normal practice of corporations withholding from each employee's monthly check the state income taxes their workers owe.

However rather than remitting this money to pay for state services, this simply allows the corporations to steal the tax payments for themselves! Adding to the funkiness of taxation-by-corporation, the crooks don't even have to tell workers that the company is siphoning off their state taxes for its own fun and profit.

These heists are rationalized in the name of "job creation," but that's a hoax, too. They're really just bribes the states pay to get corporations to move existing jobs from one state to another, or they're hostage payments to corporations that demand the public's money – or else they'll move their jobs out of state. My goodness this smells like extortion.

Last year, Kansas used workers' withholding taxes to bribe AMC Entertainment with a $47 million payment to move its headquarters from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to a KC suburb on the Kansas side, just 10 miles away. What a ripoff!

Diversions of state taxes from public need to private greed .... meanwhile foreclosures are still part of the new business as usual.

Meanwhile AMC Entertainment has since been sold to Dalian Wanda Group of China. AMC executives did well. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Bring back the $47 million tax $$$$$$$ i say!

How about funding a public school district instead?

chootspa 5 years ago

I'm sure that also has absolutely nothing to do with the relative price of housing there or Google Fiber.

63BC 5 years ago

Kauffman Foundation gave Kansas an "A" for small business climate and Missouri "C".

Taxes were one reason among many, including regulatory policy and permitting.

So again, Kansas an "A" and Missouri a "C"---taxes one reason among many.

That's not even in this editorial.

So do Kansas officials get credit for beating Missouri in lots of ways?


Instead the whole piece is about how good tax policy isn't enough---even though Kauffman says it helps and that Kansas is getting the other stuff right too.

The extent this paper will go to deny Sam Brownback credit for anything is amazing.

63BC 5 years ago

Check that, read a 'stub version'.

Full editorial does get around to mentioning Kansas "A" Missouri "C"---in the sixth paragraph of eight.

So eventually, even Sam Brownback does get some credit.

grandnanny 5 years ago

Sad that those people don't realize that their property taxes will soon increase to make up for any income tax savings. Also sales tax on food and everything else. I bet those people already worked in Kansas and just didn't want to keep paying both states.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

Nothing new here. Dozens of large American corporations have their headquarters listed as some Swiss post office box while they do their banking in the Cayman Islands. States have been competing against each other for business while cities do the same. Many very wealthy athletes make their home in the no income tax state of Florida.

It might be a zero game we're playing, but the question is what will happen if we stop playing? Will surrounding states suddenly see the light and quit competing? Or will they continue to encourage Kansas businesses to relocate and bring their tax base with?

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Local taxes and user fees are sure to increase under the guise of who knows what. Absolutely.

And some of those homes sold may have been foreclosures selling at bail out prices. I see where investor groups are buying up large numbers of foreclosures at special prices so it appears as though the housing market is improving. Some of those becoming rentals UNTIL the market does actually improve.

Just what communities need a growth in the slumlord industry.

What can make the housing market improve? In reality employing at least 11 million unemployed at better than a living wage. Otherwise the market improvement is mostly smoke and screen.

question4u 5 years ago

I can't imagine that there is anyone who would deny that Brownback's policies have made Kansas friendlier to small businesses. Nor is there likely to be anyone rational who would deny that Brownback has in the process undermined education, highway systems, worker's rights, and state services, pushed to increase sales and local property taxes on the average Kansan, and increased income taxes on the poor.

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