Dan Mehan speaks at a press conference in Jefferson City

A diverse group of business leaders have joined together to stress their support for six legislative priorities for the session beginning today in Jefferson City.

Dan Mehan, the President of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, was flanked by about a dozen business leaders in the Capitol Rotunda. They’re all members of a coalition they’re calling “Fix the 6.” That’s referring to the six issues the group is pushing this session: employment law reform, worker’s compensation reform, a cap on the franchise tax, tort reform, unemployment insurance reform, and eliminating the minimum wage escalator.

“The overarching goal of this coalition is to make sure we have the most competitive environment for job creation in the state of Missouri. We feel the time is now to fix these six items, approach these six areas, and make Missouri a little more different when compared to other states and countries when it’s competing for job creation,” Mehan said.

Mehan expects some challenges.

“Some are more difficult than others. Whenever you have a tort reform issue you bring out plaintiff attorneys who try to stop that issue because by suing employers and making it more difficult for employers to defend themselves, they stand to make a (larger) cut of a settlement,” Mehan said.

He also says eliminating the minimum wage escalator may be difficult since it was established by a vote of the people. Mehan says a group of employers got together to grow this coalition.

“It’s the unity of this group that really is the story and the fact that this agenda came from within the employer community. None of these items cost the state money, there’s very good consensus on the fact that we should do these and, thirdly, it makes us more competitive,” Mehan said.

The entities involved in the coalition are Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the NFIB, Associated Industries of Missouri, the Missouri Merchants and Manufacturers Association, the Missouri Grocers Association, the Missouri Restaurant Association, Associated General Contractors of Missouri, the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association, the St. Louis Regional Business Council, and the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

AUDIO: Ryan Famuliner reports [1 min MP3]