Often in Jefferson City, things seem to be the same day to day, but at the same time, there is always something new to see. I’ve been through filibusters in the past, and I’ve also been here when we stayed in session late into the night, but I’ve never been in a filibuster that started at 12:30 p.m. one day and continued until 9 a.m. the following day—21 hours. That’s what we saw this week during the special session called by the governor.
A number of senators took the lead in the filibuster against the so-called “Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act.” The proposal was to address a special benefit package, specifically for auto manufacturing companies and their suppliers. The legislation allows manufacturers, primarily Ford Motor Company, to retain their employee withholdings taxes. The bill caps these incentives at $15 million each year for 10 years—$10 million for the manufacturer and $5 million for suppliers. The qualified company also needs to meet a specific set of requirements to receive the tax credits.
Fundamentally, I disagree with the legislation because Missouri should not pick winners and losers when it comes to the economy. One of my colleagues in the Senate made a statement that echoed my beliefs: “Government is not meant to be all things to all people, but government is supposed to be the same to all people.” With these tough economic times and a high unemployment rate, I believe we need to assist all businesses: large, medium, and especially small. We need to build a strong economy through job creation, and benefits designed to do this should be there to assist all, not only one or two select businesses. We need to make sure that the policies the state puts in place address our economic viability into the future.
Our rural area of the state is primarily made up of small businesses. They are just as important to this state and to our economy as large businesses in urban areas. Elements of this proposal may have the beginnings of the right policy, but it should not be offered only to a select few businesses, as it is drafted. You all sent me to Jefferson City to represent the whole district, not just certain parts.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Barnitz: Government should not be picking winners and losers
In his latest column, Sen. Frank Barnitz, D-Lake Spring, explains his disagreement with the Ford/Claycomo legislation: