Dave Helling at The Kansas City Star recently wrote a piece about how Kansas City and St. Louis might fare under Missouri’s new governor. Helling wrote,

Kansas City and St. Louis interests have been nervous about Jefferson City for years, of course. Rural Republican lawmakers have long looked askance at big-city projects and have turned back city efforts to raise the minimum wage or tighten gun control laws.

In January, Kansas City Mayor Sly James testified before the Missouri Senate Ways and Means Committee that the legislature should “leave us alone.” Conversely, Kansas City Councilwoman Jolie Justus, a former state senator, strikes a more diplomatic and productive tone when she told The Star, “I want to make sure we start off on a good foot with Gov.-elect Greitens, because I want to go down and explain to him … that frankly we’re the economic engines of the state, for the most part.”

Kansas City and St. Louis are the economic engines of Missouri; but recently those engines have been failing the state badly. Kansas City and St. Louis are more likely serving as obstacles to economic success, not engines. Consider the following:

If Kansas City and St. Louis are the economic engines of Missouri, they are either stuck in neutral or reverse. No state legislature should stand by idly while so much economic opportunity is wasted. Reformers in Jefferson City would do a great deal to improve things if they reined in cities’ abilities to levy taxes, reformed economic development incentives, and greatly increased transparency at every level. Cities can be a great economic engines, but not without occasional tune-ups.

Patrick Tuohey

About the Author

Patrick Tuohey
Patrick Tuohey
Patrick Tuohey is the western Missouri field manager at the Show-Me Institute.