Economic Development News
Great Legislative Session for the Jefferson City area
Published: Thursday, May 22, 2014
By: Randy Allen, President/CEO
The 2014 Legislative Session is now over and it was a very positive one for our community. The Chamber participated in discussions with the legislature this session and supported many proposals that will affect Jefferson City and Cole County businesses and residents.
Here’s an overview of what was completed last week.
State Employee Pay Increase
The budget bills were approved last week and sent to the governor for his signature. The original budget request by the governor asked for a 3% across the board increase. The final version provides for a 1% pay raise. Although not as much as we hoped, this equates to $6 million annually for our Cole County jobs. Also the State will once again match $25 per month for employees in their deferred compensation plan. A long-term success was finally an appropriation to fund the $300,000 needed to study in detail the wage and benefit package of state employees and to recommend a pay and benefit framework for the future. This is long overdue and will provide answers to the questions about state pay that have been debated for years. Our local Rep Mike Bernskoetter chairs that committee in the House.
St. Mary’s Redevelopment Project
HB 2013 contains an appropriation of $6mm, general revenue, for the State to acquire and provide funds for Phase 1 of the redevelopment of the existing St. Mary’s Campus for LU and LSTC Programs. As you may remember the governor proposed this project in his initial budget in January. It included an agreement with SSM and a request for $10mm for this project. During this process the Chamber Board approved a task force to facilitate the local effort to secure this funding. Representatives of the task force met with over 30 key legislators to educate them on the economic potential to Cole County and the State. During these discussions the legislature and governor agreed that if the appropriations bill contained $6mm the project would move ahead. This was a phenomenal win for the Chamber, LU and LSTC (soon to be State Technical College of Missouri). We understand work will begin on this project next year.
Fulton State Hospital Funding
The approved budget also includes $200 million for the construction of a new state mental hospital in Fulton, Missouri. The Chamber Board supported this appropriation to rebuild this facility in Fulton.
Fulton State Hospital is vital to every area of the state for the mental health services it provides. It is Missouri’s only maximum-security psychiatric facility. It is also vital to the state’s economy and to Central Missouri in particular. Fulton State Hospital is the largest employer in Callaway County with nearly 1,100 employees. Its