PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST: Governor Parson Delivers Final State of the State Address

JANUARY 24, 2024

 — Today, Governor Mike Parson delivered his sixth and final State of the State Address to the Missouri General Assembly, outlining his legislative and budget priorities for Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25).

Governor Parson opened his final address expressing appreciation to First Lady Teresa Parson and their family for always standing by his side during his time as Governor and throughout his political career. He then continued with a commitment to Missourians that he will continue what he's done since the very beginning: putting people first

"When I became Governor, we declared a fresh start and the return of stability. We committed to ensuring the next generations have their opportunity at the American Dream. We promised the return of integrity," Governor Parson said. "Above all, we promised to return a people first mentality to state government, and that's our final commitment to Missourians. Until our final day, we'll continue putting people first."

Governor Parson's speech focused largely on the legacy of achievements his administration, the General Assembly, and state government have accomplished together. A summarized list can be found below:

  • Reshaped the Supreme Court of Missouri and judiciary as a whole – with 40 percent of the judiciary being appointed by Governor Parson; 
  • Protected second amendment rights, focused on law and order, and safeguarded Missouri’s landmark castle doctrine;
  • Fought the fight for life – reducing the number of elective abortions in Missouri to zero annually;
  • Streamlined state agencies and reduced the size of state government;
  • Supported state team members with a more than 20 percent increase in pay, professional development opportunities, and better retirement savings plans;
  • Cleared the 3,700 pending clemency applications inherited by his administration; 
  • Built over 1,000 bridges and repaired 50 percent of Missouri's entire highway system;
  • Boosted higher education funding by 24 percent;
  • Increased state funding for K-12 education by $700 million and increased baseline teacher pay by $15,000 (with FY25 recommendations); 
  • Secured investments to close Missouri's broadband digital divide once and for all; 
  • Cut nearly 20 percent of regulations on the books and made state government more efficient and effective while unleashing economic development;
  • Maintained Missouri's AAA credit rating and achieved the lowest unemployment ever recorded in state history at 2.1 percent;  
  • Improved Missouri's GDP growth rate ranking from 42nd in the United States and last among Midwest neighbors to 23rd in the nation and Top 5 among thirteen neighboring states; 
  • Grew state revenues by 40 percent since 2018;
  • Paid the state's bills and left the State of Missouri with $600 million – 53 percent – less debt than when his administration began;
  • Left $1.5 billion on the bottom line for the next administration;
  • Created over 110,000 jobs and brought $14.5 billion in new business investment through nearly 685 new business projects; and 
  • Reduced Missourians' state income tax burdens by over 20 percent with three separate tax cuts, including the largest tax cut in state history.

Workforce Development & Education

Governor Parson again called for fully funding the K-12 foundation formula for the 6th year in a row and for funding to increase baseline teacher pay to $40,000 for teachers across the state through his Teacher Baseline Salary Grant program.

Governor Parson's FY25 budget also includes a three percent core increase for both public four-year institutions and community colleges and $54 million to support MoExcels workforce training programs on college campuses. He also continues his support for youth apprenticeships with $3 million and JAG-Missouri with a $3.8 million investment. 

To build on Missouri's status as a top manufacturing state, Governor Parson includes $10 million for advanced semiconductor research, development, and skills training and nearly $7 million to support critical mineral development.

Governor Parson's budget continues investments in the expansion of pre-kindergarten programs and invests $52 million to boost child care subsidy rates, all to help address the child care crisis Missouri families face and improve outcomes for Missouri children. 


During his speech, Governor Parson announced that, with the help of Congressman Sam Graves, Missouri will receive a more than $90 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant, the largest federal transportation grant Missouri has ever received, to support the Improve I-70 project. More information can be found on the Missouri Department of Transportation's website. [Link]

Thanks to the help of this grant and savings and interested accrued on the $2.8 billion set aside for Improve I-70, Governor Parson announced his recommendation to establish the I-44 Improvement Fund. This fund will supplement the nearly $150 million already budgeted for expansion studies and congestion and safety improvements on I-44. 

Additionally, with nearly $1.7 billion former U.S. Senator Roy Blunt help secure before his retirement and past state efforts, Governor Parson announced Missouri's plan over the next five years is to close the broadband digital divide once and for all. 

Government Reform

To continue efforts to recruit and retain quality state team members, Governor Parson's FY25 budget calls for a 3.2 percent cost of living increase for all state employees and an additional one percent pay increase for every two years of continuous employment for eligible state employees working in certain congregate care facilities, capped at 10 percent. 

Legislative Proposals

This year, Governor Parson announced two legislative priorities: child care tax credits and stricter punishments for fentanyl. 

Working alongside Senator Lauren Arthur and Representative Brenda Shields, Governor Parson announced his support to establish new child care tax credits programs included in Senate Bill 742 and House Bill 1488 to improve access and affordability for Missouri families.

To address the fentanyl crisis in Missouri, Governor Parson announced his office will partner with Senator Holly Thompson-Rehder and Representative Cameron Parker to pass legislation that guarantees stricter punishments for exposing children and minors to fentanyl. 

Governor Parson also recommended $900,000 to support Attorney General Andrew Bailey's efforts to find, prosecute, and punish human traffickers and sexual predators in the State of Missouri. 

2024 State of the State Special Guests

During his speech, Governor Parson recognized special guests for their achievements and commitment to the people of Missouri:

  • JAG-Missouri
    • Dominik Burns – JAG-Neelyville student
    • Dylan Reed – JAG-Van Buren graduate
    • Mitchell Gant – JAG-Stockton graduate
    • Yajaris Guzman – JAG-Aurora graduate
    • “Mama Joan” Priggel Dietrich – JAG-West Plains Specialist
    • Shannon Davis – JAG-Neelyville Specialist
  • Child Care
    • Jennifer Sikes – Mineral Area College Early Learning Academy Program Director
    • Katherine Godier – Mineral Area College nursing student/parent
    • Theodore (Theo) Godier – Mineral Area College Early Learning Academy student
  • Apprenticeships
    • Philip King – Four Rivers Career Center Director
    • Isaac Lough – Four Rivers Career Center student
    • Jeff Fields – Wilson Logistics Director of Safety and Apprenticeship Director
    • Kayla Putnam – Wilson Logistics trucking apprentice
    • James (Ricky) Schmoll – Wilson Logistics trucking apprentice
  • Clemency
    • Reverend Kenny Batson – Pastor of Grace Fellowship Interdenominational in El Dorado
  • Appointments
    • Gabe Gore – City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney
  • MoDOT Team Members
    • Doug Hood – Assistant Financial Services Director, Central Office
    • Nicolette Comstock – Senior Maintenance Worker, Northwest
    • Rhonda Marsden – Maintenance Crew Leader, Northeast
    • Ron Clark – Buck O’Neil Project Senior Construction Inspector, Kansas City
    • Mike Schupp – District Construction and Materials Engineer, Central
    • Sheron Thomas – I-270 North Senior Highway Designer, St. Louis
    • Wyatt Schubert – Motorist Assistance Operator, Southwest
    • Nikki Knight – Construction Inspector, Southeast

Governor Parson wrapped up today’s State of the State Address with a heartfelt message to his team in the Governor's Office – Team 57 as he commonly refers to them – and a reminder for state leaders to always put the people of Missouri first. 

"The First Lady and I may never be able to fully realize the work we’ve done here alongside all of you. But that was never the purpose in the first place. The point is that all of our kids and grandkids across this state, they will," Governor Parson said. "In Missouri, our economy is strong, our democracy is strong, our people are strong, and we can keep it that way if we continue to PUT PEOPLE FIRST."

With his final words, Governor Parson expressed appreciation to Missourians and foreshadowed his and the First Lady's retirement from public office. 

"The First Lady and I will be returning to the farm with our heads held high, and if I'm honored enough to be considered by Missourians as a “pretty good Governor” “decent guy” or “someone who never forgot where he came from," then it will all be worth it," Governor Parson concluded. "Words cannot express the sincere appreciation I have for this state and our people. So for one final time before this chamber today, I simply say to the more than six million Missourians who I have had the absolute privilege of serving, it has truly been the honor of my life to be your 57th Governor of the great State of Missouri."

To view a full transcript of Governor Parson’s speech and special guest bios, please see attachments. To view the FY2025 Budget in Brief, please click here. The FY25 Executive Budget will be available here at 3 p.m. Pictures from today's events, including special guests, will be available on Flickr.