AFP-Missouri Op Ed in Springfield News Leader

July 05, 2013

Springfield, MO – Americans for Prosperity – Missouri State Director, Patrick Werner’s op-ed titled “Nixon Failing to Bolster Missouri’s Economy” was recently published in the Springfield News Leader.

Below is a complete transcript of the article.  You can also read the article by clicking this link.

Let’s be frank: Missouri’s economy stinks.

According to a recently released report by the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Show-Me state ranked 42nd in economic performance — over the past 10 years! We are ranked 47th in state gross domestic product, meaning we aren’t producing many goods.

As a result, we aren’t creating many jobs — that’s why our unemployment rate remains stagnant at 6.8 percent, nearly double Nebraska’s unemployment rate and substantially higher than many of our neighbors like Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma.

This may explain why over the past three years, Missouri has suffered a net loss in migration as people leave for stronger economies.

Why are we in this mess? Gov. Jay Nixon refuses to lead and has taken zero initiative to grow the Show-Me State.

This year the legislature passed a comprehensive tax reform bill that included individual and business income tax relief for the first time in 90 years.

Unfortunately, Nixon’s lust for big government and commitment to keeping the status quo is more important than growing the economy.

While Missouri’s economy barely sputters along without a clear vision to right the ship, surrounding state governors are passing bold reforms. Many of our neighbors have reined in government spending and lowered the tax burden on its citizens.

In Indiana, for example, Gov. Mike Pence passed sweeping tax reform, slashing the state tax rate to 3.23 percent, just a bit higher than Pennsylvania’s lowest-in-the-nation rate of 3.07 percent. Indiana also permanently repealed the hated death tax, meaning you no longer are punished if you work hard, save, invest and leave something to your children. Indiana is also moving forward in the area of worker freedom, having become the 25th right-to-work state in the nation.

Going farther east, Ohio just passed more than $2.6 billion in tax reform, which will lower the state’s personal income tax by 10 percent over the next three years. And while it’s two years old, we can’t discount the bold tax reform passed in Kansas and the impact it is having on our western border.

Missouri is stuck in the past while our neighbors are moving forward — and taking our residents with them.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Our best opportunity to lower the tax burden and encourage taxpayers to stay in Missouri, build families and create jobs was HB 253, which would have lowered our individual and corporate income tax for the first time in 90 years.

Unfortunately, Nixon couldn’t give the beleaguered taxpayer a break and vetoed it.

Missourians are paying attention and know that their state can and should do better. Nixon should look at surrounding states (except Illinois) for inspiration and leadership. Next year, he’ll get another opportunity to work with the legislature to pass bold reforms that grow our economy.

We hope he steps up to the plate.

Patrick Werner is state director of Americans for Prosperity — Missouri. 

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. For more information, visit

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