Governor Parson touts success, accomplishments in State-of-the-State address
JEFFERSON CITY- For the second time as governor, Mike Parson went before state lawmakers Wednesday afternoon to deliver the annual State of the State address.
"Even though it was a challenging time, it was also an opportunity to do things differently, to tackle tough problems, and propose bold solutions," Parson said. "That is why I am confident telling you today that the state of our state is strong ... and by working together, we will be ready for an even better future."
It is an opportunity for the governor to present his priorities and budget to the Missouri General Assembly for the upcoming year. Like last year's speech, workforce development and infrastructure each played a big role.
"We have reached second in the nation for apprenticeships, and we fully intend to keep that momentum going," he said.
In his speech, Parson touted Missouri’s economy noting that real incomes are rising faster than any time in recent history and Missouri ranks seventh in the nation for small business wage growth.
“At 3.1 percent, our unemployment rate continues to remain at historic lows, and has been below the national unemployment rate for 40 consecutive months,” he said. “Our workforce efforts have created over 40,000 new jobs since I took office.”
Infrastructure has been a big issue for Parson. He said the $50 million-dollar investment in an infrastructure cost-share program will lead to nearly $150 million in new infrastructure investment, and an economic impact of approximately $350 million.
“I am excited to announce that we will again be putting another $50 million toward the cost-share program this year,” he said.
Parson said that's enough funding to repair or replace more than 250 bridges around the state including the I-70 bridge over the Missouri River in Rocheport.
While addressing the topic of violent crimes, Parson re-affirmed his commitment to the second amendment.
“Let me be clear during my six years in the Army, 22 years in law enforcement, and as a lifetime member of the NRA, I have never wavered in my support for the second amendment,” he said. “But, we all have to understand the very real issue of violent crime affecting our neighborhoods and the potential consequence of doing nothing.”
Columbia Mayor Brian Treece and Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones were both in attendance and referenced during Parson’s speech. They were there alongside the mayors and police chiefs of St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield. This past fall, Parson met with the eight of them to discuss ways to reduce gun violence.
The group came up with plans to help combat violent crime. They include providing greater protection for victims and witnesses, providing more mental health resources and services, and strengthening laws to target violent criminals.
“While reducing violent crime is our immediate goal, I strongly believe that at the end of the day, it is about better education and skills to get a quality job because that is going to be the long-term solution,” he said.
Parson said his priorities this legislative session includes building stronger communities, continuing to improve education and workforce development, further revitalizing our infrastructure and making government more accountable.
The Governor also unveiled his $31-billion budget proposal on Wednesday.
The budget proposal recommends fully funding the state's elementary and secondary education formula and a $10 million increase to fund additional school transportation costs. It also includes funding for MO Excels, which encourage workforce education and training programs in colleges and universities and Missouri One Start.