Some state senators think it’s time to look critically at tax incentives given for business development.

Rural Senator Chuck Purgason of Caulfield and city Senator Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit say tax incentives for ethanol development are backfiring on some farmers because more farmers are abandoning beans and other crops to produce corn to sell to ethanol producers, who are paying high prices which drive up prices to farmers who use corn for feed. Purgason says some dairy farmers in his area are on the verge of going out of business because of feed costs.

Bartle says tax credits let governments play favorites. He says government "is getting into the business…of picking preferred industry."

Also casting a skeptical eye at tax credit abuse is the Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Chuck Gross of St. Charles, who says government officials don’t know how to say "no" to special interests looking for tax breaks.

Some of the Senate critics argue tax credits for favored developers or businesses just place a heavier tax load on middle class taxpayers who don’t have the means to hire lobbyists to subsidize their efforts.

The discussion in the Senate has derailed Senator Luann Ridgeway’s bill giving tax incentives for various alternative energy programs.

It’s just talk so far. None of the critics has put anything on the table.


(The bill is SS/SB40. It is on the informal calendar in the Senate and could be brought back up for debate at any time the Majority Floor Leader allows it).


Download the debate (21:06 mp3)