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The General Assembly returned to the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 4, for the start of the new legislative session. This is my second year in the Missouri Senate, and I’m looking forward to a productive session. There is much to be done as we work to create a job-friendly atmosphere and get Missouri’s economy back on track.
A significant part of this year’s session will be focused on approving a balanced budget, which promises to be no small task. Though there are signs of growth, our state’s economy is still sluggish. We’re in better financial standing than many other states, but we’re still looking at a possible $500 million revenue shortfall. We’re going to be faced with many hard decisions as we work to craft a fiscally responsible budget that meets the most pressing needs of our state without raising taxes.
Job creation will also be one of the Legislature’s main priorities. Our state currently has an 8.2 percent unemployment rate. There are thousands of Missourians out of work, and losing hope of ever finding gainful employment. We must pass legislation that will give our state a pro-business environment where companies want to move to and expand. We must find ways to help companies create the types of quality, permanent jobs Missourians deserve.
Things are looking brighter than they were a few years ago, but a lot of work remains to put our state on a true path to economic prosperity. I’m optimistic about the things we can achieve this session, and am looking forward to working with my colleagues.
As the session continues, there are sure to be many more issues that arise. I’ll also be filing my own legislation in the weeks to come. I will keep you updated on all the happenings in the Capitol, as this promises to be a very busy session.
If you have any questions regarding legislation or any other issues, feel free to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1503.