Throughout Missouri, small business owners are concerned about their future. I hear these concerns throughout the 16th District, and I know that this resilient group is the foundation of our state’s economy. In tough economic times, it is our small businesses that suffer, but it is also the same small businesses that allow our economy to get back on track and ultimately thrive.
On January 20th, the governor delivered his 2010 State of the State Address. This is the chance for the governor to introduce his legislative agenda for the year as well as his budget proposals for the coming fiscal year. He made it clear that job creation is one of the most important issues we can address. With unemployment at record levels, we must work to bolster our economy and find ways to help small businesses remain prosperous and encourage them to expand.
One proposal that is a part of the governor’s job creation legislative package includes the “Missouri First” initiative, which would help Missouri businesses expand by giving them preference for state incentives. Missouri First would change the law regulating certain incentives to authorize the Department of Economic Development (DED) to provide additional resources to existing businesses that are considering expansions in the state. The DED would be able to increase the maximum incentive by up to 2 percent of the total incentive amount for each five-year increment the company has been located in Missouri — up to 10 percent of the total incentive for companies that have been in Missouri for 25 years or more.
The governor’s legislative package also includes the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA), which is designed to attract high-tech businesses to Missouri, especially those in the plant, animal and life sciences industry. The program would create a dedicated fund to help attract and grow high-tech businesses in the state.
“Training for Tomorrow,” is another new initiative to help community colleges in Missouri increase job training programs in high-demand fields such as health care. The program would invest $12 million in educating Missourians for in-demand careers.
The number one way that I feel I can help small businesses is to keep the lines of communication open. On January 22, I spoke to the St. James Chamber of Commerce and discussed several state programs that could help business owners expand. I am also organizing a meeting in Rolla with small business owners and the DED to talk about programs that will help small businesses with recovery and expansion efforts. I will get you more details on the meeting down the road, but I am confident that it will be a helpful experience for our small businesses.
Recent economic indicators show that their might be light at the end of the road in this economic downturn. In order to encourage recovery in our state and in our communities, our focus must be on supporting our small businesses, and this will be work that I will continue to make one of my main priorities.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Barnitz: Small businesses are the foundation of our economy
In his latest capitol report, Sen. Frank Barnitz, D-Lake Spring, addresses the problems facing small businesses: