Legislature meets lofty goals for 2017 session

DanFor many years, Missouri has been stuck in a state of almost. The big reforms, the ones needed to truly chart a new course for Missouri, tended to come up just short — blocked by a governor’s veto, a filibuster or a failed override vote.

It’s no surprise, then, that some of our state’s biggest job growth opportunities were meeting a similar fate — almost, but not quite.

This year, things are changing. A united business community and Missouri voters sent a staunchly pro-jobs governor to Jefferson City alongside record numbers of business-friendly legislators who were empowered to act on several long-neglected priorities.

They made the most of this rare alignment:

  • After waiting 65 years, Missouri is now a right-to-work state.
  • For 10 years, a judicial rewrite of Missouri’s employment laws left businesses vulnerable to frivolous litigation. This year, the legislature passed a fix.
  • Underfunding K-12 education has been an annual tradition in Missouri. But when school opens next year, the state will, for once, be meeting its commitment.

And those are just the highlights.

It was truly a watershed year in the General Assembly — there’s no other way to put it. I fully believe the work the legislature and Gov. Eric Greitens put in this year will be a turning point in our state’s economy. Some of our state’s biggest, most stubbornly held obstacles to economic expansion have finally been pushed aside.

Many of the bills passed this year relate directly to the goals of the Missouri Chamber’s Missouri 2030 plan. Excuse me if you’ve already heard this, but our Missouri 2030 plan was generated by the state’s business community and included a Gallup survey of more than 1,000 business leaders that helped define what needed to be done to move Missouri forward (if this is new to you, learn more).

One of the four drivers that make up the Missouri 2030 plan is “Uniting the Business Community.” When we announced the plan, many of the action items we set were daunting, to say the least. But over the last two years we’ve spent countless hours educating Missouri’s business community, elected officials and the public about what needed to be done to move our state forward and get where we need to be as 2030 approaches. Today, businesses are united behind Missouri 2030. This is truly what enabled our success this year.

I’d like to thank Gov. Greitens and the leaders of the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate for taking heed of the business community’s voice in Missouri 2030. Their work this year puts our state on a new path. We are ready to compete.

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