Economist casts doubt on Mo. business incentives

Jan 28, 2013

Credit File Photo / KBIA

A university economist is casting doubt on whether Missouri's job-creation incentives actually result in more jobs.

Economist Howard Wall of Lindenwood University testified Monday before the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee about the effectiveness of the Missouri Quality Jobs program. The initiative offers tax breaks to businesses that add jobs with good wages and health benefits.

Figures from the Department of Economic Development show the program has created about 11,000 jobs since 2006 — about one-quarter of what was projected. That number likely will grow, because the tax breaks run for several years.

Wall said some of those employees likely just shifted jobs. His analysis showed little net gain.

But lobbyists for Express Scripts and Monsanto said the tax breaks were important to their decisions to expand in Missouri.