The President of the University of Missouri system says the theory behind the tax cut bill facing a veto override vote in the legislature is misguided.
President Tim Wolfe calls the legislature “schizophrenic” for proposing a tax cut of hundreds of millions of dollars–a figure one business group says is grossly overstated by opponents–at the same time it is studying borrowing more than a billion dollars to pay for capital improvements it has not funded for several years.
Backers of the tax cut bill say the cuts in business taxes will encourage business development which will generate more taxes that will pay for improvement to state services. But Wolfe, who has spent thirty years in private business before becoming a university president, says , “In the year and a half that I have been here I have yet to have a conversation with a business owner that is considering relocating to Missouri say, ‘ Boy, I’d come here if your business tax rate was lower…'” He calls the Associated Industries study that says the tax cuts would be about one-sixteenth what Governor Nixon claims they will be. Wolfe says the tax cuts will benefit the wealthy while hurting the people who see education as a key to a better life. He says an override of the veto would force the University to increase tuition again, by eight to sixteen percent.
Wolfe says that quality of education was one of the factors his companies considered when considering locating in Missouri; low taxes in a low-tax state were not.