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Legislative leaders tout climate for manufacturing growth in opening statements

On a day of firsts at the State Capitol, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) was the first legislator to mention the role manufacturing will play in the recovery of Missouri’s economy.

During a session opening speech from the dais of the Missouri Senate Chamber at the State Capitol, Dempsey opened his second term as the Senate’s chief executive with a call for the legislature to do what is necessary to continue to strengthen the state’s business climate.

“We have an emerging technology industry that is lending itself to a resurgence in other industries, specifically manufacturing,” said Dempsey. “We are on the verge of a manufacturing revival, and Missouri’s existing foundation of support for the industry combined with our friendly business climate can easily facilitate further growth in this important sector of our state’s economy.”

Dempsey called for legislation that will “provide advanced workforce development opportunities in order to prepare Missouri and its citizens for the economy of the future.”

Dempsey did not go into any further specifics about any particular legislation that he may have in mind.

Newly elected Speaker of the House Rep. John Diehl (R-Town and Country) also signaled a willingness to work on legislation that will help business and the manufacturing sector grow and prosper. During a speech to the House membership, Diehl called on the body to adopt legislation that does away with burdensome regulation, and that encourages investment in infrastructure and education.

“By standing together in support of the families and businesses of Missouri, we will rein in the ever-expanding government bureaucracy and foster the freedom of workers and innovators to do what they do best,” said Diehl. “Together we will provide the kind of opportunities that will encourage and foster economic growth and job creation. Together we will challenge our educational institutions to put students first and to graduate students at all levels who are ready to compete in a 21st century economy.”

Later, at a press conference with other members of the House Republican Caucus, Diehl said he wanted to support and encourage entrepreneurship and investment in small business.

“I’m a firm believer that government’s role is not to produce economic development, but it is our duty to create the kind of level playing field that will allow employers and workers to succeed if they work hard enough,” said Diehl. “Right now we are seeing some encouraging signs of life in our economy…but as a state we continue to fall short in many of the areas potential employers look for as they determine whether to relocate or expand existing businesses.”

Diehl says Missouri’s neighboring states’ have less burdensome regulatory structures and tax environments that allow their citizens to keep more of their hard earned dollars.

The Speaker Pro Tem of the House…the House’s number two position of power…Rep. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) has more specific plans. Hoskins in a speech to fellow House members Wednesday outlined his legislative agenda which includes House Bill 32… an extension of his earlier “Big Government Get Off My Back Act” that seeks to reduce the red tape that surrounds Missouri’s job creators.

Hoskins has also filed House Bill 299 which he says will stop the practice of the Department of Revenue’s “notification by audit” where business owners learn about the change in their tax status when the Department of Revenue finds thousands of dollars of back taxes owed to the state during audits.

“We must end the practice of notification by audit and ensure that all Missouri taxpayers are treated equally,” said Hoskins.

Hoskins is also the sponsor of House Bill 298 which will put in place incentives for students educated within the state’s new Innovation Campuses to work for Missouri businesses.

“Innovation Campuses provide a streamlined process for Missouri high school students to receive the on-the-job training skills and education students need to work in the high demand fields in science and technology,” said Hoskins.

The legislation builds off last year’s efforts by Rep. T.J. Berry (R-Kearney) and Rep. Jeanie Lauer (R-Blue Springs) that encouraged tax credits for businesses and individuals that helped fund these campuses as they begin to spring up around Missouri. Lauer’s bill made it through the legislative process and was signed into law by Governor Nixon. AIM was the only statewide organization to come out in support of both pieces of legislation…and wholeheartedly supports the concept and mission of the Innovation Campuses which are now beginning to spring  up in many areas of the state.

A full text of Senate President Pro Tem Dempsey’s remarks can be found on the Senate webpage here.

The Missouri House of Representatives YouTube page features several videos of the important events of the first day of the legislative session.

Speaker Diehl’s opening day speech is available here.

The House Republican Caucus press conference is available here.

Speaker Pro Tem Hoskins’ speech is available here.

House Democratic Leader Rep. Jacob Hummel (D-St. Louis) opening day remarks are available here.

And the House Democratic Caucus press conference can be found here.

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