With all of the attention focused on incentives these days, it is good to remember that incentives can only be awarded in Missouri if they promote a public purpose. There is no single statute which controls the definition of public purpose in Missouri. The courts have consistently held that as long as governmental action is designed to fulfill a public purpose, the wisdom of the governmental action is not subject to review absent fraud, bad faith or an abuse of authority. The fact that “fat cat developers” or multi million dollar corporations may also profit will not be a legitimate challenge to the award of incentives. Job creation and general economic development has been recognized by Missouri Courts as a valid public purpose.
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