Audrey Spalding
Missouri Sen. Rob Mayer (R-Dist. 25) announced today that $300 million in tax credits for the construction of warehouses had been removed from the Aerotropolis legislation, part of a contentious economic development bill that the Missouri Legislature is considering in a special session.

Regular Show-Me Daily readers are, I am sure, nearly sick of hearing about Patrick Ishmael's and my questions regarding that $300 million.

We wondered: Why was the state considering subsidizing warehouse construction in the St. Louis area if there was more than 18 million square feet in vacant warehouse space already available? Why did versions of the legislation give the mayor of St. Louis City and area county executives the power to restrict who could receive hundreds of millions in tax benefits? Why were the construction tax credits limited to individuals and companies who owned more than 100 acres of land? Where was a substantive cost-benefit analysis?

We would have stopped asking those questions if someone had provided substantive answers. And yet, there really were none.

It is brazen to ask for $300 million, in the public or private sector, without substantive evidence that the money is necessary and would be put to good, productive use. As such, the removal of warehouse and facility construction tax credits from the legislation is good news for Missouri taxpayers.

But, things could easily change. There is a chance that the $300 million could be reinserted at the last moment. CBS reports that the Missouri House may attempt to re-insert construction tax credits in the legislation and "ram the bill through the Senate."

So, perhaps, this may be more about politics than good policy. I hope that isn't the case.

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Audrey Spalding