Because Missouri is bordered by so many states, we compete with each one for job growth. Our state needs to stay competitive to grow and provide jobs for our citizens. My three part plan provides specific solutions and ideas to move forward into the 21st century economy:
- Workers Compensation Reform: Stop uncertainty among employers by fixing the 2nd Injury Fund. Provide specific solutions to the workers compensation system gleaned from years of experience working in the field.
- Right to Work: Ensuring employees have the right to decide whether or not to join a union is a simple matter of freedom in the workplace. Further, counties in Right to Work states grow jobs 26% faster than counties they border in non Right to Work state. Between 2000 and 2008, Missouri lost 75,000 manufacturing jobs while in that same time period, Right to Work states saw manufacturing GDP grow nearly 20%. Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas are all Right to Work states, Missouri is at a disadvantage in competing with these states for jobs. Elijah will work tirelessly to see Missouri become the 24th state to pass Right to Work.
- Maintain a Competitive Tax Rate: Missouri needs to keep taxes low to encourage job growth and keep employers in the state from leaving. Elijah will oppose any tax increases that will drive jobs out of state and represent a burden to Missouri taxpayers.
Creating an educated citizenry is vital to our state’s future and an educated workforce is the fuel of job growth. Survey after survey shows that employers consider the workforce of a state in determining where they will re-locate within its boundaries. Not only that but unemployment rates decline significantly when the amount of education increases no matter the age group.
- K-12: Missouri has fallen behind the nation in achievement. According to a 2011 survey, the state ranks 47th in the nation on improving low income students proficiency on 4th and 8th grade reading and math exams. This is unacceptable. Our state needs to review and update teaching standards, improve curriculum, and provide a wider variety of opportunities for students to promote the most basic elements of education.
- Higher Education: Elijah attended three of the colleges and universities and recognizes that Missouri is fortunate to have such a strong higher education system and the university system in Missouri is one of the state’s greatest strengths. Unfortunately, there is currently no system to ensure equality in funding for Missouri colleges leaving some colleges behind through no fault of their own. Each college in the state provides its own unique programs geared towards creating the most educated workforce possible and a fair and equitable system must be developed to guarantee that colleges in the state maintain equal access to state support.
With the rise of the Missouri Ethics Commission, our state has attempted to take the lead in promoting an open and transparent government. However, more reforms are needed. In fact, in one recent study, Missouri had more public officials convicted of corruption over a 10 year period than Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa combined. The best way to encourage ethical behavior is to promote transparency and accountability in every area. In keeping with that tradition, here are two pillars of my plan for promoting a fair and open government:
- Transparency: Every entity that currently does business with the state should provide public disclosure of their lobbyists to ensure transparency in the system.
- Accountability: Obstructing an ethics investigation is currently a class A misdemeanor. It’s time to put some teeth in the law and make that a class D felony to ensure accountability in the system