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05 March 2010

Engler: Reducing the Size of Government and Focusing on Job Creation

This week marks the mid-way point for the legislative session. With state revenue numbers continuing to look grim, the General Assembly is working with the governor to cut the size and scope of government as well as spur the creation of new jobs to help move us out of this recession.

The economic situation that we are in is dismal. The national economic crisis is creating a budget situation that is nearly unprecedented. With more than a $1 billion deficit looking into 2011 and beyond, drastic cuts must be made to the size and scope of government. Because raising taxes is out of the question, the state of Missouri, like any business, is going to have to decrease its overhead in order to survive.

With the budget situation being so bleak, the focus of the General Assembly is not only on reducing government but helping create jobs. This week we worked on several proposals that are geared to attracting new businesses to Missouri as well as helping current Missouri employers to expand their businesses.

We began work on Senate Bill 895 this week, the omnibus economic development bill. The legislation contains several key provisions that would attract new high tech jobs that we are currently losing out on to surrounding states. This proposal, called Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, or MOSIRA, would create a funding source to target growth in high-tech areas by capturing a small percentage of the growth in state revenue over a base year from a designated group of Missouri science and innovation companies. Money generated would then go into a fund that would continue to do outreach to attract more high tech jobs.

Senate Bill 895 also contains the Missouri First initiative, a program that would provide new incentives to companies already established in our state that want to expand. It is vital that we take care of the companies in Missouri that have been such an integral part of our communities and state. Missouri First would provide the additional resources that will encourage growth for these businesses.

Another way we can encourage job growth is through looking critically at our state's way of collecting taxes. One idea that has been discussed and is gaining support in the Legislature is repealing the state income tax. This plan is also called a "fair tax" or "flat tax" because it would replace the state income tax with a slightly higher and expanded sales tax. One of the benefits to this plan is that businesses would not have to deal with the state dipping into their earnings, property, and savings, which allows them to reinvest that money into growing their business and creating jobs.

We will continue debate and discussion on the budget situation and these bills when we return from the annual spring recess on March 15th. In the meantime, I invite you to get involved in our efforts to streamline state government. You can submit your ideas on how to "reboot" state government through control, alternations or deletions by clicking here. We hope to here from you soon.

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