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(LISTEN): Economic growth and state employee pay were two key elements of Missouri governor’s address

(LISTEN): Economic growth and state employee pay were two key elements of Missouri governor’s address

Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) speaks during Wednesday’s State of the State address in Jefferson City. House Speaker Dean Plocher (R-Des Peres), left, and Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe (R) listen (January 24, 2024 photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

Missouri’s governor says his administration will leave a record $1.5 billion on the bottom line for the next administration.

While GOP Governor Mike Parson outlined his budget and 2024 legislative priorities during Wednesday’s State of the State address, he also touted his administration’s successes over the last five-and-a-half years. Governor Parson tells lawmakers that state revenues have increased 40 percent since 2018, with significant growth coming from sales revenue.

“And one of the huge factors is the three separate tax cuts we approved, including the largest in our state’s history. We have decreased Missourians’ tax burdens by over 20 percent. Unleashing an economic powerhouse in the state of Missouri,” Governor Parson tells lawmakers.

Governor Parson says that when he took office in 2018, Missouri was ranked 42nd for GDP growth and last among Midwest neighbors. He says that Missouri now ranks 23rd in the nation and in the Midwest’s top five for GDP growth.

Meantime, Governor Parson says his administration has raised state employee pay by more than 20 percent since he took office in 2018. Missouri’s 47,000 state employees received an 8.7 percent pay raise last February, under a bipartisan plan proposed by GOP Governor Mike Parson. The governor is proposing another state employee pay increase in this year’s budget.

“And let me just say … the investment in our state employees have been worth every penny (audience applause). “And that’s why this year we are proposing an additional 3.2 percent cost of living increase for all of our state employees,” says Governor Parson.

State Rep. Adrian Plank (D-Columbia) was one of the first lawmakers to stand up and applaud that line. Representative Plank represents numerous state employees in his Boone County district.

Governor Parson is also calling on state lawmakers to again fully fund the K-12 education foundation formula with an additional $120-million over last year’s levels. The governor is proposing $52-billion budget also includes funding to increase teacher baseline pay to $40,000.