Missouri’s governor says a proposed state government reorganization plan is scheduled to take effect on August 28th. Governor Mike Parson, a Republican, updated the Capitol Press Corps on the restructuring plan during a Tuesday afternoon press conference in Jefferson City.
The restructuring involves four state agencies, primarily the state Department of Economic Development (DED). Monday was the end of the 60-day period in which Missouri lawmakers could vote to oppose the proposal, and that didn’t happen.
Governor Parson is praising the Legislature.
“And I want to thank the Legislature for their support of our efforts to improve state government and make Missouri the best in the Midwest,” Parson tells Capitol reporters.
The proposal involves moving DED’s Division of Workforce Development to the Department of Higher Education and several other moves, which Parson says will allow DED to focus entirely on economic development.
The restructuring plan also involves returning the Division of Energy from DED to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and making the Missouri Arts Council part of the Lieutenant Governor’s office. It would also move the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Office of Public Counsel to the newly-named Department of Commerce and Insurance.
Governor Parson says Missouri is not competitive with neighboring states, adding that Missouri’s DED houses more functions than any of its Midwest peers.
Parson says the Show-Me State ranks 14th among its Midwest peer states in gross domestic product (GDP) and eighth for wage growth. He says it ranks ninth for job growth.
The governor says the plan will focus DED.
“We must do a better job clearly identifying expectations and priorities, and ensure our agencies are structured in the best way to meet those goals,” says Parson.
Parson says DED has 865 full-time employees, more than any of its Midwest peers.
Missouri DED Director Rob Dixon joined Governor Parson at Tuesday’s press conference. Dixon says other Midwest states are outperforming his agency in nearly every measure, including workforce development.
Dixon backs the governor’s state government restructuring plan, saying that when everything is a priority, “nothing is a priority.”
“In economic development, Missouri is not competitive in economic development with other states and we had to take action or we’re going to continue that negative trend line,” Dixon tells reporters.
Governor Parson says DED has had seven directors in the past decade.
State Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, and State Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, also spoke at the press conference. Riddle and Fitzwater both praise the reorganization plan.