Missouri has fallen behind other states and will continue to do so under the current liberal job-killing policies supported by Governor Nixon and Attorney General Koster. While most of our neighboring states have adopted policies to retain and attract new business, Missouri’s liberal administration has refused to do so.
For too many years, Democrats have been looking for quick fixes to Missouri’s economy, which recently ranked 47th in job creation. We cannot keep relying on piecemeal solutions. We must examine what’s holding Missouri back compared to neighboring states who are growing at faster rates and creating better jobs.
As governor, I will focus on job creating measures that bring quality and sustainable jobs to our state and make Missouri a better place to live and work. We must retain our smart young minds to stay in Missouri and recruit other talented hardworking individuals to move here. The top three priorities of my administration to enhance economic development in our state will be as follows.
First priority is making Missouri a Freedom to Work state (also known as “Right to Work”). Freedom to Work promotes economic growth as businesses locate to Right-to-Work states more frequently, and statistics show that union jobs have actually increased in many of those states. Eight of the top ten most competitive states for business have enacted Right-to-Work legislation. The most impactful effects of Right to Work are job creation and large-scale investment. In Indiana, the companies behind 107 of the state’s new projects and expansions each listed Right to Work as a major deciding factor, and thus it brought more than 10,000 new jobs and nearly $3.5 billion in investment to Indiana. Missouri must join the majority of states and become a Freedom-to-Work state.
My next priority is passing effective and meaningful tort reform so that Missouri’s workers and small business owners can benefit instead of the trial attorneys. Our state is currently one of the worst legal climates in the country for businesses. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Missouri ranks as the 9th worst legal climate in the nation. Two bills passed in 2016 would have helped improve our standing. One bill would have strengthened expert testimony requirements, and the other would have limited judgments to damages actually sustained by defendants. Unfortunately, Governor Nixon sided with Attorney General Koster and the trial attorneys and vetoed both of those bills. As governor, I would sign these pieces of legislation and any similar tort reforms that make it to my desk.
Additionally, I will address Missouri’s antiquated taxation system that hasn’t been updated since 1931. Our income tax is too high and comes in at too low a level. Our upper tax bracket starts at only $9,000, and is one of the lowest top brackets of any state. For example, Kentucky’s top tax bracket starts at $75,000. Under a Kinder administration, it would be my goal to set Missouri on a course to incrementally reduce our income tax to ZERO over the next eight years. We are being passed by Tennessee, Florida and Texas, all of which are Right-to-Work states with zero income tax. We should join them in both their policies and their successes.
If Missouri enacts Right to Work, meaningful tort reform, and a careful but serious renovation of our tax code, we will become a magnet for business and job growth. These three priorities will allow our economic developers to operate more efficiently and effectively and do what they do best – create more jobs.