Governor Parson highlighted several of the state’s major successes in workforce development and infrastructure last year, including a $1.5 billion investment from General Motors and an $81.2 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding American grant to build a new I-70 Missouri River Bridge at Rocheport, among many others.
Following a recap of 2019, Governor Parson’s speech focused on issues in four main areas for 2020: stronger communities, workforce and education, infrastructure, and government reform.
“We have made record progress over the past year, but there is still more to do and much more we can achieve with hard work,” Governor Parson said. “That is why my call this legislative session is to propose initiatives aimed at building stronger communities, improving workforce development and education, revitalizing our aging infrastructure, and making government more accountable.”
After multiple meetings with the mayors of St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia, Governor Parson announced their solutions to help combat violent crime in Missouri. These include providing greater protection for victims and witnesses, providing more mental health resources and services, and strengthening laws to target violent criminals.
Governor Parson also shared the results of joint federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts in Kansas City and St. Louis to combat violent crime. Operation Triple Beam in Kansas City and Missouri’s commitment of state personnel in St. Louis have resulted in the arrest of hundreds of violent criminals and gang members and the seizure of nearly 30 pounds of illegal drugs.
Workforce and Education
Governor Parson also emphasized the importance of early childhood education to workforce development in his speech, noting that Missouri recently received a $33.5 million preschool development grant aimed at creating a more effective, high-quality early learning system.
With this funding, the state has an opportunity to strengthen its early childhood offerings and better prepare Missouri children for success.
In addition to early childhood education, another focus for 2020 is increasing opportunities for high-demand job training at the high school level. Governor Parson announced his administration is seeking a $750,000 investment to certify approximately 12,000 new high school students as work-ready through the WorkKeys program.
Governor Parson also announced an increase of $5.3 million in Bright Flight and A+ Scholarship funding for college bound students, as well as an additional $19 million for the MoExcels Workforce Training Initiative.
Further, all of these investments can be made while increasing school transportation funding and again fully funding the Foundation Formula.
Building on last year’s progress, Governor Parson again called for key investments in Missouri’s infrastructure, including $4 million in disaster recovery funds and another $50 million for the transportation cost-share program.
Governor Parson also announced the approval of the Buck O’Neil Bridge project in Kansas City.
In his speech, Governor Parson highlighted the state’s efforts to drive efficiency and accountability for Missourians’ tax dollars, including a savings of $84 million in the Medicaid system.
Governor Parson also announced several other actions the state can take to improve government and promote Missouri, including tort reform and license reciprocity for military spouses.
Additionally, Governor Parson’s administration is proposing $100 million for a cash operating expense fund and directing a portion of Wayfair collections into this fund until it establishes solvency. The remainder of Wayfair collections will be used to payoff debt obligations and provide another funding source for infrastructure cost-share programs.
“By working together on these issues, we can set the stage for greatness for Missouri,” Governor Parson said. “My hope in the near future is that all of us will be able to celebrate more successes with one another, but the real benefits will be for the people of our state and our future generations.”