So, economics, once again, provides a grim backdrop from Governor Nixon’s State of the State address. Perhaps not as severe as a year ago, but certainly still grim.
Expect Governor Nixon to focus on the economy in his remarks to this joint session of the General Assembly. The Nixon Administration has made turning the state economy around its top priority. The governor began to unveil some of his proposals late last year. His jobs package has three major components:
- Missouri First, a program to provide increased economic incentives to businesses that have been in Missouri at least five years;
- The Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, or MOSIRA, a focus on attracting businesses in emerging technologies, especially Life Sciences; and
- Training for Missourians; more money for community colleges to expand programs for in-demand fields, such as lab techs, nurses’ aides and mechanics.
Nixon has received solid support from legislative leaders for those programs, some of which have been discussed in the legislature before.
Money matters won’t be the only discussion. Expect the governor to outline his ethics proposal. This is a Democratic governor addressing a House and Senate in the control of Republicans. The two sides don’t exactly agree on ethics reform. Nixon will call for the reinstatement of campaign contribution limits and might well get a cold shoulder from Republican leaders. Senate leader Charlie Shields of St. Joseph has already indicated that is a non-starter in the Senate. Most Republican proposals have focused on cleaning up the legislative session, cutting back greatly on food and gifts that have become part of the day-to-day activities during a legislative session at the Capitol.