2014 Regional Report: The Midwest

Missouri (No. 22): Weak Job Recovery
Missouri weathered the Great Recession pretty well but lags the Midwest in post-recession recovery. “Missouri has experienced one of the weakest jobs recoveries compared with its neighbors and the overall economy,” wrote Show-Me Institute analysts R.W. Hafer and Michael Rathbone in a June report. Civil unrest in St. Louis over the summer revealed structural, economic inequalities and displayed the vulnerability of business owners to unexpected upheaval. Following a divisive political battle, a tax cut was passed that will slice a mere half a percentage point off income tax rates over five years; more immediately, S corporations and LLCs will benefit from deductions. The Tax Foundation ranked Missouri’s tax burden 32nd out of 50 states, and ranked its business tax climate 16th. Missouri spends over $96.5 million a year in incentives, according to The New York Times subsidy database.

Kansas (No. 26): Aviation Booming
Kansas ranked 11th among the 50 states in economic outlook by ALEC, the American Legislative-Exchange Council, reflecting Governor Sam Brownback’s billion-dollar tax rollbacks and adherence to the federal minimum-wage baseline. Less convinced, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities forecasts the Sunflower State will soon lag the nation’s economic growth rate for the first time in 20 years. Economic strengths include the aviation cluster in Wichita, claiming 30 percent of global aviation activity and a burgeoning veterinary technology corridor in the northeast. “I like the business dynamics in Kansas,” says site selector Bosman. “There’s a lot going on.”

The Tax Foundation ranks Kansas 25th out of 50 states in tax burden and 20th in business tax climate. Kansas spends over $1 billion a year on incentive programs, according to The New York Times state subsidy database.