Year in Review: Governor Parson Highlights 2019 Successes

 — As 2019 comes to a close, Governor Mike Parson highlights the state’s many successes and accomplishments over the past year. 

“From economic and workforce development to rebuilding our state’s infrastructure, 2019 has been an exciting year for Missouri,” Governor Parson said. “We've had some big wins worth celebrating and have shown what major progress we can make by working together for the people of Missouri. We are proud of all that we’ve accomplished in 2019 and look forward to another successful year in 2020.” 

 

Strong Economy

Currently at 3.1 percent, Missouri’s unemployment rate has remained at near-historic lows throughout 2019 and has been below the national unemployment rate for 40 consecutive months. The African American unemployment rate in Missouri has dropped from over 10 percent in 2015 to 5.9 percent today. 

Governor Parson and Kansas Governor Laura Kelly came together to end the years-long economic border war between Missouri and Kansas, costing an estimated $330 million in incentives over the past decade. 

Also this year, the General Assembly passed a state budget that for the first time in over a decade left more than $100 million on the bottom line. Thanks to additional tax cuts at the state and federal level, real incomes are rising faster than any time in recent history. 

 

Economic and Workforce Development

Over the last year, Missouri has grown by nearly 40,000 new jobs and secured several major business investments across the state, including General Motors’ recent announcement of a $1.5 billion investment in its Wentzville facility.

Boeing secured a $16 billion contract to build the T-X trainer in St. Louis; Bayer announced it will bring 500 new jobs to Creve Coeur; and agriculture giant Bunge announced the relocation of its global headquarters from New York to the St. Louis metropolitan area. 

On the other side of the state, Kansas City, Missouri, landed two divisions from the USDA and over 500 new jobs for the first time in our nation’s history. Briggs and Stratton is creating 130 new jobs in Poplar Bluff; Purina invested $115 million to expand its factory in Bloomfield; and Nucor Steel is close to beginning operations at its $250 million steel mill in Sedalia, among others. 

Over 42,000 Missourians are signed up to receive customized training assistance through the Missouri One Start program, and over 600 applications have been received for the Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant program. 

Missouri also officially reached 10,000 new registered apprenticeships this year, ranking the state second in the nation for new apprenticeships. The state also ranked second in the nation for the number of completed apprenticeships in FY 2019.

 

Infrastructure

In July, Missouri received an $81.2 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to build a new I-70 Missouri River Bridge at Rocheport.

Receipt of the grant triggered $301 million in state bonding, authorized by the General Assembly during legislative session, to repair or replace another 215 bridges across the state. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) recently issued the first series of bonds at a true interest cost of 1.25 percent. 

In addition to the bonding plan, the Missouri legislature included $50 million in general revenue in the FY 2020 state budget to repair or replace approximately 45 bridges throughout the state and another $50 million for a transportation cost-share program. 

This $50 million cost-share investment will ultimately lead to nearly $150 million in new infrastructure and an economic impact of approximately $350 million. 

In all, the bold infrastructure proposals put forward this year have netted $1 billion in new projects for the state. 

 

Government Reform 

Governor Parson’s first reorganization of state government took effect in August, impacting one quarter of state agencies and hundreds of state employees. 

The reorganization moved several divisions from the Department of Economic Development to other state agencies in an effort to better align functions of state government, increase efficiency, and improve customer service to all Missourians. These changes reduced the agency’s size by 75 percent, representing the most significant reorganization of state government in decades. 

As part of Governor Parson’s plan to improve state government, a state prison was also successfully consolidated this year at an annual savings of $22 million that was reinvested in increased pay for Department of Corrections staff. Other state employees were also given a much-needed pay raise.

Under Governor Parson’s leadership, Missouri has invested in building the state workforce’s skills and capabilities to better serve Missourians through such programs as The Missouri Way, the Missouri Leadership Academy, and MOLearning.

Since Governor Parson took office, he has made a total of 397 appointments to various boards and commissions, as well as county offices and department and division directors. He has also made 20 judicial appointments in 2019.

 

Health and Public Safety

Governor Parson signed several Executive Orders this year aimed at improving the health and public safety of Missourians. 

To help curb rising healthcare premiums and increase access to health insurance, Governor Parson signed Executive Order 19-13 in July creating the Missouri Health Insurance Innovation Task Force. 

In March, Governor Parson signed Executive Order 19-04 creating the School Safety Task Force, and in October signed Executive Order 19-18 to address the youth vaping epidemic in Missouri. 

Executive Order 19-18 directed the Departments of Health and Senior Services, Elementary and Secondary Education, and Public Safety (DPS) to use existing resources to develop a statewide campaign to educate, warn, and deter the use of vaping devices among Missouri’s youth. The state’s Clear the Air youth vaping awareness campaign was officially launched in November. 

Also this year, Governor Parson committed Highway Patrol troopers and Department of Public Safety resources to the City of St. Louis to assist with federal task forces (ATF Strike Force, US Marshals Fugitive Task Force, USAO Adoptive Cases, and the Mission SAVE task force) to focus on violent crime. He also designated troopers to police certain interstates in St. Louis at the request of St. Louis City elected officials.

 

Flood Recovery 

Missouri was plagued by record-level flooding this year, devastating businesses, homes, and communities across the state. 

To help establish a path forward and refocus the state’s flood control priorities, Governor Parson signed Executive Order 19-14 in July creating the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group. 

Governor Parson also came together with the Governors of Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa to discuss flood control and identify regional solutions. As a group, they met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers three times to discuss what needs to be done differently to be better prepared for the future.

The Governors also recently signed a four-state agreement to cooperate on issues relating to flood control and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

 

2019 Missouri State Fair 

Governor Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson attended the Missouri State Fair again this year for a multi-day, 15-stop tour of many of the Fair’s biggest attractions. 

Attendance for the 2019 State Fair reached 337,112 individuals, showing the importance of the Fair to the Show-Me State.