Minimum Wage Increase? Just say no.

The Columbia Daily Tribune of 27th April, 2012 reports in an AP dispatch, “Minimum wage initiative clears hurdle,” that the ballot summary proposed for the initiative has survived a court challenge. The group Missouri Jobs with Justice (MoJWJ) wants an increase in the Missouri minimum wage to $8.25 starting in 2013 along with an annual cost of living adjustment. Unless a court challenge to the financial summary fails, the measure will be on the ballot in November.

Missouri Jobs with Justice is a far-left group with ties to labor unions, notably the SEIU, and community organizers. It has a particularly close relationship with organized labor, whose members benefit from every increase in the minimum wage, since increases at the bottom percolate up the wage ladder. They virtuously oppose ‘corporate greed,’ though someone ought to tell them that big greedy corporations employ very few at minimum wage. Continue reading

Missouri cities may soon have a new STAR in their tarnished ‘use-of-taxes’ crown

In his recent essay, “TIFS: Cities’ Unfair Advantage”,  David Stokes, Policy Analyst for the Show-Me Institute, politely asks this rhetorical question regarding the unfair advantage (redistribution of wealth) produced with Tax-Increment Financing:“Would you like to be able to unilaterally take some of your neighbor’s money and spend it on ways that benefit you, but not him?”

Some Missouri cities’ appetite for redistribution of wealth is apparently not being satisfied via the existing “Tax Increment Financing” (TIF) machinery, so it looks like the General Assembly may add sales tax revenue bonds (STAR bond financing)   as a so-called economic development tool (aka redistribution scheme) to sweeten the pot for its favored constituents. Continue reading

Missouri businesses are misallocating ‘political capital’

Nearly every politician these days is touting how he will “create jobs” with his wonderful programs and leadership. Often, opposing candidates in a race will each have their own “job creation” ideas; advertising those, while bad-mouthing their opponent’s ideas on the subject – even if their ideas are pretty similar in the first place.

HOW TO CREATE JOBS

As I see it, there are three ways government can facilitative job creation:

·   Direct cash subsidies – write a check directly to a certain business or businesses in a certain industry, or those involved in activities that meet certain criteria. Our friends on the left tend to describe this as “corporate welfare,” except when it’s their cronies getting the cash: Green Jobs, etc. 

·   Business tax credits – these are effectively back-door subsidies, whereby instead of cutting a check, the treasury will get less tax payments from businesses that meet the tax credit criteria. There have been popular tax credits for: historic preservation, low-income housing developments, government-backed bond issuance, and the like. More modern versions include various programs to discount the property or other local/state taxes for the increased value due to the expansion of certain businesses; or “jobs created” during certain periods.

·   Low Taxes and Regulations for everyone – Have a tax code that is as even across all board as possible, with few if any carve-outs for certain businesses or economic activities. Coupled with relatively low (or at least stable, and known) business regulations this makes sense to the average person.  Continue reading

Name That Party

Let’s play the old party game, Name That Party. Conservatives have long cried foul about the way the media apply party affiliations, those pesky (R)s and (D)s following a disgraced politician’s name. When the guilty politician is a Democrat the party is often omitted. This is not often the case when a Republican is guilty. This biased treatment is so common that it is often ignored. Tonight we have another example as the story broke that former Missouri governor and Columbia resident Roger Wilson, a Democrat, had been indicted and, facing the prospect of prison, pleaded guilty. The page 1 reportage of the Columbia Daily Tribune here ­ – surprise ­- did not mention the former Governor’s party affiliation.  Continue reading

Boone County State House and Senate races for 2012 – first impressions

With the 2010 census come new district maps for Missouri General Assembly seats. The State failed to come up with maps twelve months in advance of the election, so a weird rule kicked in, allowing aspiring candidates the choice of filing for any district that includes any part of the county they currently live in. For Boone County, that means there are five State House districts to pick from.

That has been advantageous for at least a few people, who have filed in districts where they currently do not live. Longtime Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) is/was the incumbent in the old district 24, which is basically southern Boone County, puts his place in new district 50, which has turned more conservative, and includes a lot of Moniteau County, home of current Rep Caleb Jones (R-California). Jones is a freshman this term, but his father served in the Capitol, and, well-known himself, is considered to be a shoo-in for reelection in his new district – in fact he will be, as he is running unopposed.

Who may distribute John’s malt?

No, not the name of a recently discovered and previously unpublished novel by Ayn Rand. It is the question that will be decided by the Missouri legislature, if either House Bill 1858 or Senate Bill 876, both dubbed the “ Beer Distributors Bill”, is passed into law this session. The answer to “Who may distribute John’s Malt?” may come in the form of a government dictum that prevents beer producers from distributing their own product. The result: an intervention in the workings of the free market that Rand could have used to demonstrate why Atlas Shrugged. Continue reading