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Letter to the Editor: Local option is good economic tool

Saturday, March 26, 2005

To the editor:

Marc Powers' March 20 story ("Matt Blunt says local taxes could create jobs") on the governor's support for legislation allowing local voters to decide whether to increase taxes for economic development left out some key facts that need to be mentioned to provide an accurate description of the plan.

Legislation currently making its way through the legislature would allow cities and counties to authorize sales taxes for economic development. If approved, the money generated by the tax would be used to improve infrastructure and build facilities in order to lure new businesses.

This is part of the governor's efforts to attract high-paying, high-quality, family-supporting jobs to the state. Powers did not mention the fundamental importance this local option would have in achieving that goal.

In many states that are in direct competition with Missouri, cash incentives are being offered to industry as a result of local sales taxes. The local-option sales tax in Missouri would put our communities in a position where it makes sense for them. Most importantly, it allows local communities to make that determination on their own.

Missouri is in competition with 49 other states and a host of countries around the world for economic-development dollars. The governor's support for a local option is a way for communities to have a say in their own economic future and, by extension, the overall expansion of Missouri's economy.

GREG STEINHOFF, Director, Missouri Department of Economic Development, Jefferson City, Mo.