Jefferson City Today, Governor Parson delivered his first State of the State Address to a Joint Session of the 100th Missouri General Assembly.
The Governor’s speech focused on his two core priorities, workforce development and infrastructure. The Governor stated these are the right priorities to ensure the State of Missouri thrives both now and into the future.
“I firmly believe the people of Missouri are eager to have leadership that will propose bold ideas and is willing to tackle tough issues that have been put off too long,” said Governor Parson. “My administration is focused on making significant investments in workforce development and infrastructure, reforming and restructuring government responsibilities, and saving for the future. We look forward to working with the Legislature to move Missouri forward.”
Governor Parson announced $22 million towards a new scholarship program called Fast Track, which will allow Missourians to receive training in high-demand areas largely taught at our community colleges, technical schools, colleges, and universities. The Governor also announced $10 million towards a new fund known as Missouri One Start, which is an increase and consolidation of the Missouri Works program, aimed at assisting new and existing businesses with upgrading their workers’ skills to build out their workforce needs. Further, he announced $16 million for the creation of Missouri Excels, a program for Missouri Higher Education Institutions to develop and expand employer-driven education, training programs, and initiatives to increase career readiness.
The Governor announced several long-term investments in Missouri’s infrastructure, beginning with $5 million to help every Missourian have access to high-speed broadband internet. He also announced $350 million were being freed up to allow MoDOT to begin immediate work on nearly 250 bridges across Missouri in need of critical repair or replacement. Further, $50 million were announced for a transportation cost share program to assist cities and counties with addressing the most serious infrastructure needs in our local areas.
The Governor discussed other measures aimed at restructuring state government to demand greater efficiency and accountability and to improve our customer service to Missourians. He announced that his budget reduces the size of state government by 450 positions and saves nearly $120 million dollars, the first time in over a decade a Governor’s budget does not spend every tax dollar.
His speech also discussed the Governor’s efforts to improve the health and healthcare of all Missouri citizens. He announced that his budget provides a substantial increase to directly help those facing mental health challenges, expand telemedicine technology, combat the opioid crisis, and better serve those in need. The Governor and First Lady’s commitment to promote awareness and advance autism research was also discussed, with the Governor announcing a proposed $1 million towards that cause. He also restated his commitment to safeguarding the integrity of the Medicaid program and the importance of curbing Medicaid costs in future budget years.
The Governor’s FY 2020 Budget Summary can be found here: oa.mo.gov/2020budget.
The transcript for the 2019 State of the State can be found here: https://www.mo.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/2019-State-of-the-State-Text.pdf