AIM for Good Business Issue Articles
Nathan Dampf, AIM Director of Communication, 1/5/2011
Today marked the first day of the 96th General Assembly in Jefferson City. The incoming freshmen Representatives and Senators were sworn into the offices they were elected to last November. The two leaders in the chambers gave their inaugural addresses. While both discussed their priorities for the 2011 session in different chambers of the Capitol, the priorities discussed mirrored each other, but also the priorities of business.
Just this Tuesday, over a dozen business group leaders were present to show their associations’ support of a business-led initiative: Fix the Six. Associated Industries of Missouri has our own Agenda to Restore Prosperity in Missouri consisting of the six Fix the Six priorities, a DNR fee extension and AIM’s across-the-board business income tax deduction. The Fix the Six Coalition is comprised of business groups with broad interests that have agreed to this common agenda with no fiscal impact to the state. Groups involved include: AIM, the Missouri National Federation of Independent Businesses, Missouri Merchants and Manufacturers Association, Missouri Grocers Association, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Missouri Restaurant Association, and the Associated General Contractors of Missouri.
The priorities within the Fix the Six initiative include legislation to prohibit outrageous and frivolous lawsuits that drive up court fees, tax law changes that would cap Missouri’s franchise tax, workers’ compensation reforms, unemployment insurance reform, tort reform, and a provision eliminating the indexing provision contained in the 2006 minimum wage ballot initiative.
Today’s inaugural speeches from the House and Senate leaders included many of these priorities. Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer (R-Dexter) addressed the difficult budget scenario for the Show Me State and discussed ways to help alleviate those budget constraints.
“The first solution is to put people back to work in good-paying jobs with benefits,” said Mayer. “Our state’s revenue is reliant on people working and participating in our economy…Missourians want results and we’re going to give them results.”
Senator Mayer continued to discuss several ways to put people back to work. “We will put Missourians back to work by enabling all employers to invest in working families rather than government, improving employers’ ability to hire and retain quality workers, making sure employees can’t be personally sued for honest accidents at work, and ensuring an employee’s liberty when it comes to joining or leaving a union.”
Later in his address he specifically addressed capping Missouri’s Corporate Franchise Tax and “restoring balance to the Missouri Human Rights Act and Whistleblower provisions.”
Speaker of the Missouri House of Representative Steve Tilley’s (R-Perryville) also addressed policy initiatives to put Missourians back to work. He vowed that the voices of Missouri’s voters would be heard by the General Assembly. The families of Missouri have to tighten their belts: So should Missouri government. To show that commitment, Speaker Tilley stated that government must live within its means and be more efficient and demand that every state department not just ask for more money, but explain why.
But, “Our top priority must be job creation…Government does not create jobs,” Tilley said. “Entrepreneurs, small business owners, and larger employers do. Government’s role is not to run the economy, but to facilitate a business climate where the entrepreneurial spirit can thrive.”
Tilley also mentioned several of the priorities supported by the Fix the Six Coalition.
“To create a better economic environment for all job creators, businesses must have a piece of mind that they will not be hampered with new regulations, fees, taxes, or frivolous lawsuits.” He finished, “If we achieve that, they can create new jobs.”
Yesterday, Associated Industries of Missouri and the other Coalition groups, watched in agreement as the two leaders gave their opening remarks. Business leaders will have an opportunity to do the same next week at AIM’s 2011 SHOW ME Leadership Event. Next Wednesday, Associated Industries welcomes the two leaders, and several other House and Senate leaders, to a pro-business panel discussion and reception in Jefferson City. On January 12th, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, Senate President Pro Tem Mayer and Speaker of the House Steve Tilley will make similar comments to a room full of business leaders at Jefferson City’s Doubletree Hotel.
The keynote address by Attorney General Ashcroft and panel discussion with leaders of Missouri’s House and Senate will help alleviate much of the uncertainties that have developed over the past four years. The business climate of Missouri and our nation has been plagued with proposed anti-business regulation. Associated Industries of Missouri and our legislative leaders will discuss these business issues and explore ways to solve them at the event (CLICK HERE for the informational brochure and registration form).