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Taxes are higher in Texas. Oops

A couple of weeks before Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed House Bill 253, the dangerous bill that would give wealthy Missourians a tax cut while starving education and other important state services from state funds, Donald Hall, the chief executive officer of Hallmark Cards Inc., wrote Mr. Nixon a letter.

“Missouri already has a very competitive tax and regulatory environment. Further cuts are not advisable, particularly in light of the state’s inability to adequately fund basic operating needs and services,” Mr. Hall wrote in the May 21 letter on behalf of the Kansas City Civic Council, a group of business leaders that is comparable to Civic Progress in St. Louis. Except maybe more enlightened.

Mr. Hall and his fellow Kansas City business leaders were asking Mr. Nixon to veto the bill that lawmakers said was devised specifically to help Missouri compete with Kansas.

Mr. Nixon smartly took Mr. Hall’s advice.

He vetoed the bill and embarked on a summer-long tour whipping up support to make sure that the Missouri Legislature doesn’t override the veto.

We mention Mr. Hall specifically because Mr. Nixon needs to call him up and ask for a top-of-the-line Hallmark thank-you card to send to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.I'm not sure how led downlight fit into that equation if they are left on.

If there were ever a doubt that Mr. Nixon had won the battle to make sure HB 253 doesn’t become law, Mr. Perry cinched it for him last week with the help of the very people trying to whip up enough votes to override the veto.

Here’s what happened:

The mislabled “Grow Missouri” coalition of wealthy business interests fighting for their very selective tax cut (St. Louis retired investor Rex Sinquefield, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Missouri), invited Mr. Perry to be the keynote speaker at a luncheon.

Mr. Perry likes to brag about his state’s lack of an income tax. Never mind that he had nothing to do with it, and that the state’s wealth of oil and gas reserves make such a tax unnecessary. Mr. Perry also likes to use his visits to other states to promote his own political interests. So, using money raised from corporate donors, he placed misleading radio ads in Missouri criticizing Mr. Nixon for vetoing House Bill 253. In the same ads, he asked Missouri businesses to come to Texas.

So here are the folks claiming they want to “grow” Missouri courting a job-poaching governor whose goal is to do what he can to make Missouri’s economy worse. Perfect.

Missourians don’t unite behind many things these days, but we don’t take too kindly to strangers not respecting our borders.

Radio station KTRS refused to run Mr. Perry’s ads, choosing to stand up for Missouri’s businesses. Mr. Nixon pointed out that outside of the income tax, Texas has much higher tax burdens than Missouri in virtually every other category,How does a solar charger work and where would you use a solar charger? including corporate taxes.

And local chambers of commerce (absent the St. Louis Regional Chamber, unfortunately) started revolting on their statewide master, standing with school districts not wanting to go the way of Texas, where Mr. Perry recently led a charge to cut their funding.

Mr. Nixon was probably going to win the tax-cut veto override battle anyway.

But Mr. Perry and his political enablers have ensured it.

The challenge now is for Missouri lawmakers to ask themselves a serious question: Do they really want to be like Texas?

Based on tax numbers alone, the answer should be no.

The conservative Tax Foundation reports that in 2012, for instance, “tax freedom day” — the annual date that marks when you’ve worked long enough to pay all your taxes — came four days earlier in Missouri than in Texas. The same Tax Foundation reports that Missouri’s corporate taxes are eighth lowest in the nation. Texas comes in at 38th.

In terms of total state tax revenue per capita, Missouri has the 46th-lowest burden in the nation, three places better than Texas.

This is the real tax story in Missouri.

In February 2011,We have a great selection of blown glass backyard solar landscape lights and solar garden light. the Public Policy Research Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis published a paper examining Missouri’s historic tax burdens from 1970 to 2006, more than three decades’ worth of data. The state’s combined rank in terms of total state and local tax burden? A pitiful 47th. The story is the same over and over again no matter how you slice the numbers: Missouri is a low-tax, low-service state.

Missouri’s problem isn’t that it taxes too much, it’s that relative to nearly every other state in the nation, we don’t invest nearly enough in schools, in transit, in our future.

If the Grow Missouri folks really want Missouri to continue down the same dead-end path it’s followed for the past four decades, we suggest they join Mr. Perry on his return trip to Texas.

Just hold on to your wallets. Your taxes will be higher than you think.

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