Thu. Nov 30th, 2023
Missouri’s governor delivered an upbeat State of the State address on Wednesday afternoon, touting the state’s recent record of job creation, state worker pay increases, and tax cuts.
Governor Mike Parson – saying he’s not done yet positioning Missouri for continued success….“Missouri is stronger today. And we’re going to continue what we’ve started. Because this governor isn’t done yet. We are not done yet for the state of Missouri.”
In reviewing the past year he touted the state’s recent record of job creation, state worker pay increases, and tax cuts…“Missourians work hard. They provide for their families. They pay their bills and they pay their taxes. And they deserve to keep their hard earned money. This tax cut means that our administration will have cut Missouri’s taxes three times and by 20%. Money that can help put gas in a car, food on the table, and save for a rainy day. And it means more money in our economy.”
He’s also promised to address what he calls the child care crisis…“To help address this issue, we are proposing three new childcare tax credit programs. These programs will help improve childcare facilities, support employers who support their workers with childcare assistance, and allow more of our dedicated child care workers to earn a pay increase. We are also investing more than $78 million to increase child care subsidy ratio for child care providers across the state.”
Parson also highlighted that Missouri is the number one state in the nation for the lowest cost of doing business, pledged a major investment in improving the safety of railroad crossings, and said thousands of miles of rural roads will be resurfaced by June of this year.
The governor also pledged continued programs to increase teacher pay.
Watch the full address below….
(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – Today, Governor Mike Parson delivered the 2023 State of the State Address to the Missouri General Assembly.
Governor Parson expressed to the General Assembly and state officials that Missouri is stronger today and committed to continuing what his administration has started because “We Are Not Done Yet.”
After recalling the last year and a historic special session that saw the passage of the State’s largest income tax cut and extraordinary support for agriculture, his speech centered on the progress state government has made in infrastructure, workforce and education, mental health and health, government reform, and public safety and where more is needed.
“Together, we’ve moved billions of dollars in investments across this state. Whether you live in Kansas City or St. Louis, call Kennett or Rockport home, grow corn or cotton, vote left, right, or center, we’ve left no community behind,” Governor Parson said. “Missouri is stronger today, and we’re going to continue what we’ve started because this Governor isn’t done yet. WE ARE NOT DONE YET.”
To build on the state’s past successes, Governor Parson prioritized major investments in infrastructure, including $250 million to continue broadband expansion efforts and $35 million to update railway crossings all across the state to modern day safety standards.
Governor Parson also called on the General Assembly to make a generational investment to widen and rebuild the I-70 corridor. His plan invests $859 million and expands six lanes from St. Louis to Warrenton, Kansas City to Odessa, and extending both East and West from Columbia. I-70 is one of the most traveled stretch of highway in Missouri, and Governor Parson’s plan would improve inter and intrastate travel for Missourians, visitors, and goods and services as well as reduce traffic injuries and deaths.
“For years, congestion, traffic accidents, and delays have become serious issues for commuters on I-70. Not only are we concerned for motorist safety, these inefficiencies are costly to our state’s economy,” Governor Parson said. “To those who say we can’t afford it, I say we can’t afford not to. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the time is now.”
Workforce Development and Education
During his speech, Governor Parson detailed the progress his administration has made in education funding, teacher pay, and workforce development. This year, his budget proposal adds $117 million to fully fund the foundation formula, $233 million for school transportation needs, $32 million to expand the Career Ladder Program, and continues the Teacher Baseline Salary Program that raised teacher pay from $25,000 to $38,000 per year.
Governor Parson also requested $56 million to expand pre-kindergarten options to all four-year-old children eligible for free and reduced priced lunch at no cost. To further strengthen the child care network, he includes $78 million to increase child care subsidy rates and establishes three new child care tax credit programs:
“Missouri businesses consistently rank the lack of child care options as a barrier to recruiting and retaining employees, and we have an opportunity to assist,” Governor Parson said. “Together these supports will help serve more Missouri families by enabling more child care providers to remain in business, start their business, or expand their business.”
Governor Parson also recommended several key investments in workforce development and higher education, which includes:
Governor Parson re-emphasized the need for the General Assembly to act to raise state team member pay. He asked legislators to immediately act on his plan to provide an 8.7 percent cost of living adjustment for all state workers and increase the shift differential to $2 per hour pay for team members working in congregate care facilities during high-demand evening and overnight shifts.
Governor Parson also included $22 million for the Missouri Department of Social Services’ Children’s Division. The Division remains critically understaffed and under-resourced. Governor Parson’s plan makes strategic investments to hire more support staff and extend critical support to struggling families and children.
Health and Mental Health Care
Governor Parson also requested $3.5 million to expand the state’s successful youth behavioral health liaison program and add 27 additional liaisons across the state. Additionally, Governor Parson’s budget includes $4 million for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training programs to increase the number of individuals receiving CNA training.
Missouri currently ranks 44th in the United States maternal mortality. Governor Parson asked the General Assembly to allocate $4.3 million to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to implement its new maternal mortality plan.
“Frankly, it is embarrassing and absolutely unacceptable for us to be failing in this area,” Governor Parson said. “We must do better. If we can’t get it right for our mothers and children across our sate, we might as well pack our bags and let someone else occupy these seats. Let’s support mothers, let’ support our children, and let’s support the future of Missouri.”
During his speech, Governor Parson expressed his continued support for Missouri’s law enforcement officers. He also highlighted the success of the Missouri Blue Scholarship, which, so far, has awarded scholarships to 147 individuals to attend law enforcement training academies in Missouri.
This year, Governor Parson also proposed $50 million for school safety grants for Missouri schools to make physical security investments on their campuses, develop safety plans, establish school resource officer programs, and increase active threat trainings.
2023 State of the State Special Guests
During his speech, Governor Parson recognized special guests for their achievements and commitment to the people of Missouri:
Governor Parson concluded today’s State of the State Address by inviting students from Missouri’s seven public Blue Ribbon Schools on to the House Floor, where he introduced them and highlighted their American Dream.
“It’s them, their future, their dream, their American Dream that state government MUST support – that we in this building must come together to fight for. It’s our privilege and our responsibility,” Governor Parson said. “Like Teresa and me, the American Dream should be achievable for ALL, never the exception for some.”
“Your children, your grandchildren, these Missouri children are the future. The future of our state, our nation, and our democracy. If we fail to provide them with the tools for success then the failures of tomorrow are the failures of today,” Governor Parson continued. “For you, your kids, your grandkids, and your families, this Governor, this Dad, and this Gramps is not done yet. WE are not done yet!”