Missouri Gov. Mike Parson outlined two priorities to drive the state’s economy during an appearance in St. Louis on Wednesday: workforce development and infrastructure.
The governor spoke at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center following an all-day summit convened to focus on the two issues. Parson urged the gathering of business and education officials from around the state to work together to prepare tomorrow’s workforce and to vote in November.
“If we really want to change the state of Missouri,” the governor said, “you’re going to have an opportunity at the ballot box to change Missouri for the better and to vote on an initiative that’s going to change infrastructure in our state forever. It’s going to take all of us working together to get that done in the state of Missouri.”
Parson was referencing the “Missouri Gas Tax Increase, Olympic Prize Tax Exemption, and Traffic Reduction Fund Measure” that will appear on the November ballot statewide. If the proposal is approved, it will increase the motor-fuel tax by 10 cents over four years. It is the first attempt to impose a gas-tax increase since 1992.
The governor did not outline any specific policies or programs to improve workforce development or infrastructure during his brief remarks. But he said that the two issues have emerged as the biggest concerns he’s heard from Missourians as he’s toured the state since becoming governor June 1.
“We know we’ve got to do something different for our workforce development,” Parson said. “We just can’t keep doing the same thing, because we’ve not been as successful as we should have been. We see other states like Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana and others doing a better job than we are. We have got to play catch up.”
The governor said while change is difficult, it is necessary “to do something different” to transform Missouri into an economic powerhouse and leader in the region.
The Department of Economic Development convened Wednesday’s Best in Midwest and Talent for Tomorrow Summit that will send recommendations to the governor on new strategies for workforce development. The Department of Higher Education and the Hawthorn Foundation partnered with the DED on the initiative.
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