Mike Cunningham

There’s an old expression that says “It’s not bragging if you really done it.” Lately, Missouri’s governor has been particularly vocal in singing Missouri’s praises. If recent statistics and the many announcements of industries expanding or relocating to Missouri are any indication, I’d say the governor is on solid ground.

Over the past months, the good news has come so fast that it’s hard to keep track. Two weeks ago, the governor welcomed the U.S. secretary of agriculture to Kansas City for a tour of the federal agency’s new facility there. The relocation of USDA’s Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture will bring more than 500 high-paying jobs to the Kansas City area and enhance the region’s already established reputation as a nationwide hub of ag-related science and technology.

If the USDA announcement wasn’t enough, last week, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency broke ground on its new headquarters at a 97-acre site in north St. Louis. The proposed 700,000-square-foot facility will replace the agency’s current home in St. Louis.

These are just the latest in a series of successes for Missouri. Casey’s General Stores is building a $50 million distribution center near Joplin. Bayer is investing $160 million and adding 500 jobs in the St. Louis area. CVS pharmacy’s new Kansas City distribution center will add about 350 taxpayers to Missouri’s rolls. The Warrensburg area will get a $100 million shot in the arm from Dollar Tree.

Closer to home, the expansion of Brigg’s & Stratton’s Poplar Bluff facility will come with about 130 new jobs.

All told, more than 37,000 new jobs have been created in Missouri since June 2018. The state’s unemployment rate is at near-record lows — just 3.1% in October. The latest general revenue report for the state of Missouri shows a 10% increase compared to the same month the previous year. The great news is that rising state revenues are due to increased economic activity, not higher taxes. Corporate income and franchise tax collections are up nearly 30%. Sales tax revenues have increased 5% this year, a sign that consumers are confident enough to spend money.

We owe a lot of thanks for this good news to the leadership of the governor and lieutenant governor. They’re doing a great job promoting Missouri businesses and spreading the word that this state is a great place to do business. We still have work to do and a ways to go, but Missouri is moving forward. We’re attracting more businesses and we’re better preparing individuals to fill the jobs needed.

Speaking of jobs, I’ve been pleased to see quite a few residents of the 33rd Senatorial District appointed to boards and commissions. Many people don’t realize that citizen involvement and oversight is essential to good government. With more than 200 boards and commissions in Missouri, we need people with professional expertise to ensure that state regulations are appropriate. If you’d like more information about serving on a state board, visit boards.mo.gov, or call my office in Jefferson City.

Although the start of the 2020 legislative session is still more than a month away, my staff is available to help you. You can call my office Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Once session reconvenes on Jan. 8, we’ll be in the office at 8 a.m. We have some pretty late nights around the Capital from January through May, so you may reach someone here even past normal business hours.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I’ve noticed we don’t get as many calls as we once did. We’re not hearing a lot of complaints about the various programs or departments of Missouri state government. I take that as a sign we’re doing something right.

It is my great honor to represent the citizens of the 33rd Senatorial District. Although the Legislature has adjourned for 2019, I remain your senator throughout the year. If there’s anything that I can do to assist you, please feel free to contact my Capitol office at 573-751-1882.

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