Capitol Building - Jefferson City - 16:9

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Governor Mike Parson last Wednesday delivered the 2023 State of the State Address to the Missouri General Assembly.

After recalling the last year and a historic special session that saw the passage of the State's largest income tax cut and support for agriculture, his speech centered on the progress state government has made in infrastructure, workforce and education, general and mental health, government reform, and public safety.

"Together, we’ve moved billions of dollars in investments across this state. Whether you live in Kansas City or St. Louis, call Kennett or Rockport home, grow corn or cotton, vote left, right, or center, we’ve left no community behind," Governor Parson said. "Missouri is stronger today, and we're going to continue what we've started because this Governor isn't done yet. We are not done yet."

Infrastructure

To build on the state's past successes, Governor Parson prioritized major investments in infrastructure, including $250 million to continue broadband expansion efforts and $35 million to update railway crossings across the state to modern safety standards.

Governor Parson also called on the General Assembly to make a generational investment to widen and rebuild the I-70 corridor. His plan invests $859 million and expands six lanes from St. Louis to Warrenton, Kansas City to Odessa, and extending both East and West from Columbia. I-70 is one of the most traveled roadways in Missouri, and the Governor's plan would aim to improve intrastate travel for Missourians, visitors, and goods and services, while also reducing traffic injuries and deaths.

"For years, congestion, traffic accidents, and delays have become serious issues for commuters on I-70. Not only are we concerned for motorist safety, these inefficiencies are costly to our state’s economy," Governor Parson said. "To those who say we can't afford it, I say we can't afford not to. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the time is now."

Workforce Development and Education

During the speech, he detailed progress his administration has made in education funding, teacher pay, and workforce development. This year, budget proposals add $117 million to fully fund the foundation formula, $233 million for school transportation needs, $32 million to expand the Career Ladder Program, and continues the Teacher Baseline Salary Program that raised teacher pay from $25,000 to $38,000 per year.

Also requested is $56 million to expand pre-kindergarten options to all four-year-old children eligible for free and reduced priced lunch at no cost. To further strengthen the childcare network, he includes $78 million to increase childcare subsidy rates and establishes three new childcare tax credit programs:

  • Child Care Contribution Tax Credit - Encourages contributions to childcare providers to improve and expand facilities and services.
  • Employer-Provided Child Care Assistance Tax Credit - Benefits employers who offer childcare assistance to their employees; and
  • Child Care Providers Tax Credit - Assists childcare providers with payroll costs and incentivizes capital improvements to childcare facilities.

"Missouri businesses consistently rank the lack of child care options as a barrier to recruiting and retaining employees, and we have an opportunity to assist," Governor Parson said. "Together these supports will help serve more Missouri families by enabling more child care providers to remain in business, start their business, or expand their business."

Governor Parson also recommended several key investments in workforce development and higher education, which includes:

  • $275 million for transformational capital improvement projects at Missouri's public higher education institutions;
  • Seven percent ($71 million) increase in core funding to Missouri's public higher education institutions - the largest increase in 25 years;
  • $38 million for MoExcels workforce development projects on college campuses;
  • $3 million for Apprenticeship Missouri;
  • $2.2 million to modernize Missouri's 27 job centers;
  • $800,000 for Governor Parson's Fast Track program; and
  • $500,000 for Jobs for America's Graduates.

Government Reform

Governor Parson re-emphasized the need for the General Assembly to act to raise state team member pay. He asked legislators to immediately act on his plan to provide an 8.7 percent cost of living adjustment for all state workers and increase the shift differential to $2 per hour pay for team members working in congregate care facilities during high-demand evening and overnight shifts.

Also included is $22 million for the Missouri Department of Social Services' Children's Division. The Division remains critically understaffed and under-resourced. Governor Parson's plan makes strategic investments to hire more support staff and extend critical support to struggling families and children.

Health and Mental Health Care

Governor Parson also requested $3.5 million to expand the state's successful youth behavioral health liaison program and add 27 additional liaisons across the state. Additionally, Governor Parson's budget includes $4 million for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training programs to increase the number of individuals receiving CNA training.

Missouri currently ranks 44th in the United States maternal mortality. Governor Parson asked the General Assembly to allocate $4.3 million to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to implement its new maternal mortality plan.

"Frankly, it is embarrassing and absolutely unacceptable for us to be failing in this area," Governor Parson said. "We must do better. If we can't get it right for our mothers and children across our sate, we might as well pack our bags and let someone else occupy these seats. Let's support mothers, let' support our children, and let's support the future of Missouri."

Public Safety

During his speech, Governor Parson expressed his continued support for Missouri's law enforcement officers. He also highlighted the success of the Missouri Blue Scholarship, which, so far, has awarded scholarships to 147 individuals to attend law enforcement training academies in Missouri.

This year, Governor Parson also proposed $50 million for school safety grants for Missouri schools to make physical security investments on their campuses, develop safety plans, establish school resource officer programs, and increase active threat trainings.

2023 State of the State Special Guests

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

  • Emily Fluckey – First grade teacher from Meadville R-IV School District 
  • Sharon Winton – Director of Discovery Place child care in Jefferson City
  • Project Pave Students
    • Christian Malloyd
    • Jaydin Thomas
    • Savanna Jones
    • Desiya Pace
    • Sophia Luraschi
    • Destinee Oglesby
    • Kayla Stewart
    • Vivian Martin
  • Phallin Thornton – Missouri Youth Behavioral Health Liaison (YBHL)
  • Leah Crawford and her daughter Jewel – Received care through YBHL Phallin Thornton
  • Rachel Kelley – Missouri Blue Scholarship recipient 
  • Samuel Altom – Missouri Blue Scholarship recipient
  • Missouri Blue Ribbon School Students
    • Emmerson Hilty – Blair Oaks Elementary student
    • Preston Snitker – Blair Oaks Elementary student
    • Cooper Minks – Chapel Lakes Elementary School
    • Skylaur James – Chapel Lakes Elementary School
    • Mahlia Waheed – Dewey Elementary School
    • Decker Rardon – Dewey Elementary School
    • Henley Ricklefs – EPiC Elementary School
    • Sawyer Burch – EPiC Elementary School
    • Carson Defazio – Eugene Field Elementary School
    • Rosalind Martin – Eugene Field Elementary School
    • Ben Herwick – Kirkwood Senior High School
    • Julia McDonald – Kirkwood Senior High School
    • Meghana Nakkanti – Nixa High School
    • Gideon Carter – Nixa High School

Governor Parson concluded the State of the State Address by inviting students from Missouri's seven public Blue Ribbon Schools on to the House Floor, where he introduced them and highlighted their American Dream. 

"It's them, their future, their dream, their American Dream that state government MUST support – that we in this building must come together to fight for. It's our privilege and our responsibility," Governor Parson said. "Like Teresa and me, the American Dream should be achievable for ALL, never the exception for some." 

"Your children, your grandchildren, these Missouri children are the future. The future of our state, our nation, and our democracy. If we fail to provide them with the tools for success then the failures of tomorrow are the failures of today," Governor Parson continued. "For you, your kids, your grandkids, and your families, this Governor, this Dad, and this Gramps is not done yet. We are not done yet!"

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