As I reflect on my time in public office, I firmly believe that the Missouri Senate and the Missouri House of Representatives have never had a stronger relationship. Both myself and the speaker are committed to doing everything we can to make Missouri a better place for all Missourians. We are united, and both chambers are committed to working together for the betterment of the Show-Me State. Together, our ship is steady and strong, despite the actions and events surrounding our State Capitol. As we move toward the final weeks of the 2018 legislative session, my colleagues and I are committed to doing everything we can to make our state a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Since I began my career in public office, economic development has been my top priority. During my last year as a member of the Missouri General Assembly, I have continued to focus on this issue. The Senate has continued to work and pass legislation this week that makes Missouri a more business friendly state. A state not only where businesses will want to stay, but a state that attracts businesses looking for a new home and one that appeals to those wanting to start a new business. This week, the Missouri Senate passed three economic development proposals intended to foster and promote economic growth in our state. These proposals now head to the Missouri House for further consideration.

One of the biggest burdens facing businesses in our state, or for someone who wants to start a business is navigating the rules and regulations passed by our state’s executive boards and commissions. Missouri utilizes more than 200 boards and commissions to address a variety of issues affecting our state. These groups are responsible for overseeing many aspects of our daily lives, and many serve a vital function to our state. However, the size of many of these boards and commissions makes it difficult for these groups to effectively conduct their business. This past fall, the Task Force on Boards and Commissions recommended several changes intended to make Missouri’s system of boards and commissions more effective and efficient. Senate Bill 843 aims to reduce the size and number of many of these boards and commissions. This reorganization will occur through a reduction in the makeup of Missouri’s individual boards and commissions and through the termination of duplicate boards and commissions.

In addition to eliminating costly and cumbersome bureaucratic red tape, my colleagues and I approved legislation aiming to lower taxes for our state’s corporations and reform the tax code that governs these organizations. Senate Bill 674 lowers the corporate tax rate from 6.25 percent to 3.5 percent. As a result, Missouri will now have one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the nation. The legislation also closes a corporate tax loophole, allowing Missouri to lower the tax rate for all corporations. Our state’s corporate tax code is complex and outdated, and it has certainly played a role in keeping corporations from doing business in Missouri. Over the last several years, the General Assembly has provided several tax cuts intended to reduce the tax burden on working Missourians and our state’s small businesses. However, we have not done enough for our state’s corporations. Through SB 674, we are simplifying our tax code and broadening the overall tax base. This legislation allows us to lower the corporate tax rate while still maintaining a healthy bottom line. I believe this proposal is a reasonable and sustainable approach to tax reform, and I am confident it will help drive economic growth and generate revenue for our state.

There are numerous signs that our state’s economy is on the rise, but I believe more can be done to improve our state’s economic outlook. I believe one aspect of improving our state’s economy is by promoting and supporting our state’s numerous businesses. From the big manufacturing plant down the road to the local flower shop on Main Street, everybody wins when we keep our hard-earned dollars in our communities. For this reason, my colleagues and I passed Senate Bill 891. This proposal designates the second week in October of every year as “Buy Missouri Week.” During this week, citizens are encouraged to participate by supporting those who create, produce, grow, manufacture, distribute, promote and sell goods made in Missouri.