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Governor Parson delivers 2023 State of the State Address: 'Not Done Yet'


January 19, 2023 - Yesterday, 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."


Infrastructure

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:

  • Child Care Contribution Tax Credit - Encourages contributions to child care providers to improve and expand facilities and services;

  • Employer-Provided Child Care Assistance Tax Credit - Benefits employers who offer child care assistance to their employees; and

  • Child Care Providers Tax Credit - Assists child care providers with payroll costs and incentivizes capital improvements to child care facilities.

"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:

  • $275 million for transformational capital improvement projects at Missouri's public higher education institutions;

  • Seven percent ($71 million) increase in core funding to Missouri's public higher education institutions - the largest increase in 25 years;

  • $38 million for MoExcels workforce development projects on college campuses;

  • $3 million for Apprenticeship Missouri;

  • $2.2 million to modernize Missouri's 27 job centers;

  • $800,000 for Governor Parson's Fast Track program; and

  • $500,000 for Jobs for America's Graduates.

Government Reform

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."


Public Safety

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.


Click below to see the full transcript of Governor Parson's speech.

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