More taxes won't be help to Missouri

Thursday, June 12, 2003

In California, Democratic Gov. Gray Davis is on the hot seat. Davis is a traditional tax-and-spend politician who believes that government should provide all needs for all people. To finance his grand scheme, of course, takes higher taxes. So taxes on businesses in that state have risen by just under 40 percent over the past five years. The result is that many businesses are looking to relocate from California to other states where the tax burden is lower.

Gov. Bob Holden's scheme is very similar. He wants to eliminate some $324 million in "tax loopholes" for Missouri business though his henchmen only seem to dwell on the lack of taxes of yachts. Surely there's more than meets the eye on this issue but that's beside the point. The House and soon the Senate will reject Holden's plan again as well they should.

Here's how to resolve the budget impasse in Jefferson City. The Republicans should go along with Holden's plan to raise casino taxes and repeal Missouri's phony loss limit. That, according to Holden, would generate $142 million to help shore-up the sagging state budget. I think it's a win-win situation for the GOP.

Support for repealing the loss limit is fairly strong. The money will come from the pockets of those who wish to gamble and, though not entirely, it would help balance the state budget. In my opinion, this is the only tax that the Republicans can support.

Holden will soon face the reality that no other taxes are going to be placed on the ballot. Not now at least. The Republicans can earmark those funds for education and that too would be a popular move. All in all, it puts the ball back into Holden's court. That's where it should reside.

Holden's grand "tax loophole" scheme may sound good but it may well prove an unwise business practice. It's just another populist ploy for which Holden is so famous. But it doesn't wash.

The message is clear to virtually everyone but Holden. Cut state spending Governor. Live within the means of this state.

What voters need to understand is that the budget crunch will not improve next year. A sagging economy and two past administrations who spent beyond their means have combined to put us where we are. Holden will face re-election next year and he's looking for a platform on which to run. He certainly can't point to his performance because by most definitions, it's been less than stellar. His only hope is to point the finger of blame at the Republicans. But the majority of Missourians want the same goal held by the GOP - smaller state government, services to only those truly in need and removal of the bloat that has built over the past decade. That message is clear. And Holden needs to listen.

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