Governor Mike Parson announced a package of workforce and economic development legislation designed to make Missouri the "Best in the Midwest” on Wednesday.

The Governor's continued focus on the administration’s top priorities of infrastructure and workforce development, when all combined together, would give Missouri an advantage when competing with other states to attract and retain major business expansion projects, including the potential General Motors investment in Wentzville, Missouri, according to the Office of Governor Parson on Wednesday. 

 

“From the very beginning, our administration has been focused on two key issues, workforce development and infrastructure,” Governor Mike Parson said. “Whether it’s working with major businesses like General Motors or small family businesses all across the state, business leaders throughout the state have shared the same challenges - Missouri does not have the tools that we need to compete, and to win. To make Missouri the "Best in the Midwest," we must take action on workforce development and infrastructure.”

 

In talks last week, General Motors officials echoed feedback from businesses large and small across the state - workforce development and infrastructure are key to their continued growth in Missouri.

 

“This is the kind of economic development opportunity that Missouri can’t afford to ignore. I appreciate General Motors’ confidence in Missouri as a place to do business, and I support the Governor's plan 100 percent,” Senator Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) said.

 

“The Governor’s proposed plan is good policy that will benefit the entire state of Missouri,” Senator Justin Brown (R-Rolla) said. “Businesses large and small are in need of skilled workers, and we know that our economic development tools are not competitive. The Governor is working to give every corner of this state, rural and urban, the tools we need to help businesses grow and create jobs statewide.”

 

The Governor’s plan advances four key pieces of workforce and economic development legislation, each designed to meet employer needs across the entire state and help Missouri compete both for the General Motors project and other major business expansions in the future. 

 

According to the Office of Missouri's Governor the four vital pieces of legislation are and are defined as: 

•Missouri Fast Track: Fills workforce gaps through financial aid for adult learners pursuing education and training in high demand industries

•Missouri One Start: Improves Missouri’s workforce programs that help businesses recruit, onboard, and train large numbers of job applicants during major expansions

•Missouri Works - Deal Closing Fund: Gives Missouri a negotiating tool to close deals with companies by granting tax credits earlier in a business expansion, and includes a claw back provision

•Automotive Economic Development Tools: Helps retain automotive jobs by granting $5 million in tax credits annually to automotive manufacturers that invest $500 million or more in plant upgrades and agree to retain current workers

 

Specific to Missouri’s more than $4 billion automotive industry, is a section of the legislation that would create a new economic development tool targeting automotive manufacturers, according to the Office of Governor Parson, currently, Missouri does not have a program to compete for opportunities that primarily involve capital investment or large scale job retention. This section of the legislation would make Missouri competitive with other states on projects like the potential Wentzville expansion.

 

“We’re talking about an industry that reaches every corner of our state,” Director of Economic Development Rob Dixon said. “We owe it to the 1 million plus Missourians employed in this industry to fight for them, to build the most competitive tools we can, and submit a strong proposal on their behalf. This package of legislation does that, and it does it in a way that will provide a positive return for taxpayers and help Missouri grow in the long term.”

 

“The Governor’s plan will impact thousands of jobs in my district and thousands more across our state,”Representative Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon) said. “This is a watershed moment for Missouri. What we do as a legislature in the hours and days to come will have far-reaching impacts for the future of all Missourians.”

 

“We appreciate the Governor’s swift action and strong support of General Motors,” Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione said. “We encourage our state Representatives and Senators to pass the Governor’s legislation and equip the state with the tools needed to secure this potential investment for Missourians. The City of Wentzville looks forward to participating in this process to reach a positive outcome.”

 

“Governor Parson’s plan is an important step toward winning this investment for Missouri,” St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann said. “We appreciate the Governor’s support of our region and hope that our legislators will come together to pass these priorities and help us compete for this potential investment.”

About Missouri’s Automotive Industry:

•$4.3 billion of Missouri’s GDP comes from automotive

•776,000 vehicles manufactured annually

•More than 1 million Missourians employed

According to data recently released by the U.S. Census Foreign Trade Bureau and WISER Trade, automotive vehicles (trucks) and parts have consistently been Missouri’s number one export category over the past four years. Exports in this category accounted for nearly $2.1 billion in 2018, an almost 4 percent increase over 2017.