Missouri is a great place to live and raise a family. We are blessed with rich farmland, beautiful geography, abundant resources and most of all with a population that is innovative and hard-working. While we have so much to be proud of, we also realize that we are confronted with many serious challenges. Moving our state forward requires a realistic assessment of these challenges and a plan to address them.
Despite the fact that nationally we are seeing a slow economic recovery, Missouri’s economy continues to lag behind. For example, Missouri has been ranked 50th in job growth, 31st for competitiveness and third in the number of nonfarm job losses.
I believe that one of the best ways to spur our economy is to reduce taxes and bureaucratic “red tape.” This allows individuals and businesses the freedom and capital to invest and to ultimately create more jobs.
Missouri is bordered by eight of our sister states. In many cases, our major population centers are shared with our neighbors, separated only by a bridge or a city street. This makes it especially easy for people and businesses to relocate across state lines if it is to their financial advantage. We must make sure Missouri remains competitive.
A look around at some of our neighboring states demonstrates why the time has come to re-examine our state income tax. To the east, Tennessee no longer has an income tax. On our southwestern border, Oklahoma has been decreasing their income tax rate for the past several years and just this spring our neighbors to the west eliminated income taxes on certain businesses and lowered tax rates on all Kansans.
It is time we come together to work out a real, long-term solution to help spur our economy. This will require reprioritizing how we use state resources so that we can find savings that will make tax cuts more feasible. Moving forward requires work hard and a willingness to listen to all points of view, but together we can put Missouri on a path toward greater prosperity and a brighter future.