Rent-Seeking in St. Louis

Centene Corporation, a multi-billion-dollar health care provider, is considering expanding its headquarters in Clayton, Missouri. The move would bring hundreds of new jobs, but despite the fact that Centene had a profit of $355 million last year, it is seeking $147 million in corporate welfare.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board, which is against the taxpayer-funded subsidy, asserts that “the residents of Clayton, St. Louis County and the Clayton schools will be out $96 million in property taxes over however long the abatement lasts.” Continuing, the board notes, “There might be some public benefit in this project, but not $147 million worth.”

Many readers will notice that Centene’s behavior reflects a predictable pattern of rent-seeking. Frequently, under this behavior firms publicly waver on whether or not they will expand in or move to a particular city, which in turn leads to governments bidding up their corporate welfare packages to secure these firms.

In a free society, governments should instead focus on creating a competitive economic climate for all businesses rather than using taxpayer money to give advantages to select favorites.

More Blog Posts

04-05-2018 08:04pm

Second Chances for Prisoners Help All of Us

Read more

03-20-2018 09:03am

Iraq at 15

According to a new poll conducted by the Charles Koch Institute and Real Clear, Americans do not think that the Iraq War has made the United States safer, nor do they think the Middle East is more stable.

Read more

02-13-2018 09:02am

Julie Warren Profile

After working at the U.S. Department of Justice, and as a criminal appellate lawyer for the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office, Julie Warren is devoted to improving the system for everyone—from parolees to police.

Read more

Sign up for updates

Sign up to receive weekly updates in news and events.