Capitol Report: Operating budget sent to Senate

State Rep. Allen Andrews

The House and Senate convened for a special joint session on Wednesday, Jan. 15 to receive the governor’s annual State of the State Address. Lawmakers gathered in the House Chamber to listen to Governor Parson share his priorities for the 2020 session.

Before outlining his goals for the year ahead, Parson highlighted some of the accomplishments that he and the legislature were able to achieve in 2019. Parson noted they were able to secure a $1.5 billion investment from General Motors that will keep good-paying jobs in the state. He also pointed to the millions of dollars being invested to repair and rebuild many of Missouri’s aging bridges.

Turning to his priorities for the year ahead, Parson focused on strengthening Missouri’s communities, supporting education and preparing the state’s workforce for the jobs of the future, updating the state’s aging infrastructure, and making government more efficient.

Parson said, “We have made record progress over the past year, but there is still more to do and much more we can achieve with hard work. That is why my call this legislative session is to propose initiatives aimed at building stronger communities, improving workforce development and education, revitalizing our aging infrastructure, and making government more accountable.”

Some of Gov. Parson’s proposals include:

• Combating violent crime by providing greater protection for victims and witnesses, providing more mental health resources and services, and strengthening laws to target violent criminals.

• Providing full funding once again for the School Foundation Formula and increasing school transportation funding.

• Strengthening the state’s early childhood offerings to better prepare Missouri children for success. Parson noted that Missouri recently received a $33.5 million preschool development grant aimed at creating a more effective, high-quality early learning system. 

• Increasing opportunities for high-demand job training at the high school level. Parson announced his administration is seeking a $750,000 investment to certify approximately 12,000 new high school students as work-ready through the WorkKeys program.

• Increasing Bright Flight and A+ Scholarship funding by $5.3 million.

• Allocating an additional $19 million for the MoExcels Workforce Training Initiative. 

• Making key investments in Missouri’s infrastructure, including $4 million in disaster recovery funds and another $50 million for the transportation cost-share program. 

• Setting aside $100 million to use in case of financial emergencies. The fund would be supplemented by Wayfair collections if lawmakers approve legislation to require online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases made in Missouri.

“By working together on these issues, we can set the stage for greatness for Missouri,”said Parson. “My hope in the near future is that all of us will be able to celebrate more successes with one another, but the real benefits will be for the people of our state and our future generations.”

As always, it is an honor to represent you!

Representative Allen Andrews, District 1, Missouri State Capitol, Room 407, 201 West Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO  65101

Allen Andrews is the First District State Representative.