Taking ownership of the state’s economic future
There has long been a notion that Missouri is a fractured state, divided by the interests of urban versus rural, of east versus west. But to move Missouri’s economy forward with Missouri 2030, it will take a united effort that citizens and business leaders from all regions can stand behind.
“The Missouri business community needs to come together,” says Tracy King, vice president of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Right now, Missourian’s business owners don’t believe that politics will fix the problems. We all need to come together to create a statewide plan to get Missouri business back on track.”
Only 20 percent of business leaders believe politicians are committed to improving the business climate. While there are many strong employer advocates in elected leadership, many are not. Add that to the limited tenure due to term limits, and it becomes clear why employers lack confidence in politicians.
Ted Abernathy, a national economic strategist who founded Economic Leadership LLC and who helped lead the Missouri 2030 project, says it makes sense for the business community to take ownership of job creation.
“We’re not in the position in the world today where we want government to grow our jobs,” Abernathy says. “We want our businesses to grow jobs, so if you’re trying to seed an environment where the businesses can be successful, you have to ask the businesses, you have to listen to what they say, and then you have to take action to make your environment better.”
The Missouri 2030 plan is proposing several steps to help galvanize the business community and establish leadership of the state’s economic future:
- Unify the business agenda.
- Develop new studies to target strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.
- Continue extensive, annual statewide employer issue polls.
- Continue to hold strategic planning sessions with the Missouri Chamber Federation, a network of the state’s strongest chambers of commerce.
- Continue to hold strategic planning sessions with the state’s top CEOs.
- Conduct in-depth opposition research, tracking, and reporting.
- Invest in communications and strategies to improve Missouri’s business image.