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Nixon’s State of the State Address contains four business impact policies


NixonHeadshot

Missouri Governor Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon


At the dais of the Missouri House of Representatives, Governor Jay Nixon spoke for the fifth time to Missouri’s General Assembly on Monday night.

Knowing that everyone in the chamber came from different backgrounds, ideologies and interests, he spoke to a common purpose.

“Whatever our small differences may be, we are united in a common purpose: to serve all the people of Missouri; to make their lives better and to make life better for our children and grandchildren,” Nixon said. “These past four years, Missouri has weathered historic challenges – from nearly double-digit unemployment to the tornado in Joplin.”

While Nixon addressed his vision for Missouri’s future, he discussed four initiatives in his 2013 budget that would impact Missouri business.

The first will most likely be met with resistance to those Missourians too young to vote.

“Right now, Missouri has the fourth-shortest school year in the nation,” said Nixon. “Adding six more days to the next school year will give teachers more time to work with their students, and give kids more time to learn.”

Governor Nixon called for further education investment as he discussed a bonding proposal to help fund K-12 classroom and college research lab investments, state infrastructure needs, and transportation.

The two-term governor also addressed the growing concern surrounding the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the “red-tape” that burdens small businesses.

“We need to simplify our convoluted environmental permitting process,” stated the governor. “We need to consolidate those commissions into one, to help businesses grow and create jobs.”

Associated Industries of Missouri is unsure whether consolidation of the commissions will have a positive effect on the ability of businesses to obtain permits and appeal harmful environmental regulations.

In addition to the education and environmental reforms that Nixon discussed, he also promoted two issues that his administration feels would promote jobs.

In 2010, the governor’s administration rolled out the Show-Me Heroes program. The plan was created to promote the hiring of veterans.

“Helping our veterans get work when they come home is not only honorable and patriotic, it’s good for Missouri businesses,” said Nixon. “If you’re looking for an employee who shows up early, stays late, works hard all day and knows how to overcome adversity – hire a veteran.”

Since the program’s creation, 2,700 Missouri employers have hired more than 4,000 veterans in the Show Me State. Governor Nixon plugged his own website asking Missouri business owners to visit http://www.MO.gov to take the Show-Me Heroes pledge.

Lastly, the governor discussed health care. Nixon touched on the “Affordable Care Act” and the revenue that could possibly be created if Missouri were to expand its Medicaid roles by 300,000 Missouri neighbors.

Governor Nixon recognized AIM and other business groups in this portion of his address due to the association’s support of the expansion.

“I am honored to be a part of our governor’s State of the State Address as he touched on the business support for the health care expansion,” said McCarty. “Given the federal government’s withholding of moneys used by hospitals to offset the costs of uncompensated care, we must also make sure that Missouri transforms our health system with real reforms; not simply throwing money at a broken system and keeping our fingers crossed it gets better.”

Once the speech was over, the Speaker of the House of Representatives gave the GOP’s rebuttal. Speaker Tim Jones (R-St. Louis County) agreed with Nixon on the priority of rebuilding Missouri’s state, education and transportation infrastructure but steered the opposite direction when it came to the Medicaid expansion.

“We must work together to make sure our roads and bridges, the essential transportation routes vital to economic development, are maintained, repaired and, when necessary, rebuilt,” said Jones. “We will not hesitate to use our historic majorities that the people entrusted us with to pursue our agenda to reform and transform our state. A prime example is the governor’s call to expand the welfare state by adding 300,000 Missourians to the Medicaid roles.”

Jones discussed how the Republican legislature had to cut the Medicaid program years ago due to the program’s unsustainable growth. He and the Republican super-majority have taken a strong position against the “call that has come courtesy of Obamacare and Washington, D.C.”

Jones did not limit his speech to the issues in Nixon’s address. He used his time to also discuss employment law reforms and medical malpractice reforms, both policies on AIM’s 2013 priority list.

“Being a part of Governor Nixon’s State of the State Address was good for AIM and its members,” said McCarty. “The governor has reached out to the business community on some vital issues, and we look forward to working with him and his staff. However, Speaker Jones is right on the money when he discussed the necessary medical malpractice reforms. If we don’t act now, Missouri won’t have a medical system to reform after many of our doctors leave the state.”

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