In December 2011, Missouri lead the nation for most jobs lost. Between November and December, 11,800 jobs disappeared in Missouri – either eliminated or moved to another state.

It’s easy to fixate on unemployment and be encouraged to see Missouri’s rate has fallen – but unemployment only considers those who are actively seeking a job in Missouri. Many people who want to be employed have stopped looking. Others may have moved away from the state to seek employment. Fewer jobs means fewer people in Missouri, and ultimately less economic activity and revenue.

On the heels of Governor Nixon’s State of the State Address last week, the Post-Dispatch and others blasted the Governor’s stubborn fixation on tax credits as a silver bullet for job creation. This year promises more budget cuts, mainly targeted at education, while Nixon vows to expand the use of tax credits as the main mechanism of job creation in Missouri.

Let’s give the Governor a gut-check: what kind of track record do tax credits have if our state shed 11,800 jobs last month?

Sen. Jason Crowell’s opinion in the Southeast Missourian gives us some numbers by which to judge Missouri’s tax credit success:

Over the last 13 years the state’s jobs plan has been to increase tax credits, which it has done by 430.8 percent, equaling $545 million in 2011 and projected to reach $639 million in 2012. Yet, the promised jobs have not come.

Clearly, the government picking who should get a tax break hasn’t worked, and it’s left average taxpayers holding the bill, scrambling to fund state services. It’s a solid bet that you would create more jobs than the Governor has been able to if that same money, instead of being funneled to special interests, was instead returned to the taxpayers who earned it.