April 17, 2014

OPINION: Missouri’s Purgason deserves thanks

Danedri Thompson

dthompson@gardnernews.com

Missouri State Sen. Chuck Purgason deserves a medal – instead, he’s been removed from his committee chairmanship in the Missouri State Senate and may lose a primary race against Congressman Roy Blunt for the U.S. Senate.
Purgason — with the help of a few key Republican allies  — filibustered in the Missouri Senate for 21 hours earlier this week in an attempt to stall a bill that will give Ford Motor Company $150 million in tax incentives to expand in Missouri. It was the longest filibuster in that state’s history, but it wasn’t enough to stop the legislation.

As other state officials accused him of sending Missouri jobs down the river and killing business, Purgason said he was standing for free market principles.

They’re principles I share, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be in his position. Missouri faces stiff competition for Ford plant expansion. Other states are offering tax incentive plans just as sweet to the motor company. Ford has a significant presence in Missouri with a plant right up the road. I wouldn’t want to make them angry.

However, even with the legislation, there is no guarantee Ford will expand in Missouri, and even if they do, it only requires a 10 year commitment from the company. What happens 10 years from now? Ford likely requests further incentives in order to re-commit to the state.

It’s a vicious competitive cycle. Large businesses demand that states, cities or counties offer them dramatic tax incentives, and competing governing entities slobber all over one another offering the world. Meanwhile, the companies offer pie-in-the-sky benefits to the community – high paying jobs, additional tax revenues from anciliary development, growth. Few ever follow up to determine whether those things occur – although occasionally  we learn the benefits didn’t quite live up to expectations.

At some point, competing governing entities have to stop this cycle. Someone has to tell a Ford Motor Company or an Allen Group ‘no.’ They have to say, ‘We want your business, but the taxpayers aren’t going to subsidize you.’ That’s how the free market is supposed to work.

Instead, we have “too big to fail,” while small businesses in essence pay the price in the form of taxpayer subsidies to their larger competitors. It’s government picking the winners and losers, and it needs to stop. That’s not a free market. That’s a watered down version of tyranny looking for a place to happen.

But saying no to these big industries is a tall order for politicians who don’t want to be called anti-business and don’t want to be blamed for job losses within their constituencies.

It also hits politicians right in the pocketbook. Large corporations are big time contributors to political campaigns, and they aren’t giving money to politicians who actively support a true free market that would dry their subsidies and tax incentives up.

In a free market, everyone should have to pay their fair share to public coffers – to a man. If taxes are too high for Ford – and I believe they are – then they’re way too high for smaller businesses in the region. Yes, when businesses are taxed, those costs get passed on to the consumer, but then, at least the consumer gets the choice whether to pay for it. The consumer picks the business winners and the losers.

Everyone should have an equal playing field in America – big businesses and small – but that can’t happen until government gets out of the way.

A big thank you to Sen. Chuck Purgason for taking a stand for the free market. It’s desperately needed.

Comments

  1. I say it can’t happen until the worthless elected politicians get out of the way or start working for the people who voted for them.

    Right now Gardner is on the edge of changing times and the decisions with respect to the handouts, subsidies, etc. to biz, developers and other special interests are going to be vital to the taxpaying citizen.

    This madness needs to stop. ALL ENTITIES need to be paying their full taxes and not be asking to be taken care of. Citizens have got to get fully educated on these incentives, TIFs, handouts and all of the similiar sweet deals that are putting them in the poor house.

    Gardner is going to be in the middle of several cities. Let those towns make the sweet deals with the thieves if they want to. Our people will be able to drive 6 or 8 miles to a location for a job – it would be much cheaper to do that than to take care of these bloodsuckers. You are losing tax revenue like crazy with these sweet deals and your tax bill, consequently, gets higher and higher and higher. That and the huge debt we are carrying from irresponsible spending are killing us. Loss of tax revenue and lack of fiscal responsbility by spending more than you can afford resulting in huge debt and cronyism government represent LOSERS for the people in my book.

    If a business wants to come to Gardner and set up shop and it won’t hurt the people with terrible pollution or other hazardous exposure or create unusual high costs, they want to be a full partner with the people of this city, pay their full taxes, pay their own development costs, etc., then bring it on. However, I am through with the good ole privatizing gains and socializing costs and losses games.

    I did research on several cities in Will County, Ill. where the Elwood intermodal is located a few years back. The area is much like ours – close to Chicago with city after city in the suburbs. I tracked the suburb cities giving the most TIFs and handouts and every one of those cities doing that with frequency had much higher mill levies than those that controlled that expensive subsidy game and some had stopped giving any subsidies whatsoever. The “player” cities sometimes had a mill levy twice what the other cities had – it is expensive to take care of the bloodsuckers and let me tell you, they never stop asking for more. You have got to have elected officials and city administration with spines and strong moral values or you are are sunk with less money in your bank account and many times living in areas that are not desirable for families or anyone else who values quality of life.

    Every citizen better get back in the driver’s seat with respect to your government or I truly believe you are headed for two classes of people in the U.S. – the poor and the rich.

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