2024 Legislative Priorities & Advocacy

We understand the many challenges facing our state and appreciate the efforts by elected officials to address statewide issues. Listed below are items identified by business and community leaders in Christian County that we feel are critical to economic development. We want to thank you for continuing to advocate for our county and for addressing issues important to us.

After nineteen weeks, Missouri’s legislative session ended on May 17. Though legislators filed a record 2,607 bills for consideration, the assembly passed a total of 48 bills, making it the least productive session on recent record, including the 2020 session’s previous low. Twenty-eight of these were non-budget bills. Lawmakers will reconvene in September for a veto session.

Throughout the session, Show Me Christian County closely monitored proposed legislation affecting economic development. We also want to thank our partners at the Missouri Economic Development Council for their advocacy, communication, and education regarding economic development issues at the state level.

At the session’s conclusion, a status update on several bills of note is provided below:

Funding I-44 Expansion

Status: PASSED. The Missouri legislature voted to secure $727.5 million for the expansion and improvement of key stretches of I-44 in Springfield, Joplin, and Rolla, benefiting local business and industry​​​.

  • I-44 is a critical corridor for the entire state, heavily utilized by business and industry for transporting goods, employees, visitors, and residents.
  • The 2022 Missouri State Freight & Rail Plan names I-44 as the “number one freight mover in Missouri.”

Childcare and Workforce Retention

Status: DEAD. HB 1488, sponsored by Representative Brenda Shields (R-St. Joseph), served as the House companion to SB 742, sponsored by Senator Lauren Arthur (D-Kansas City). The bill authorized three different tax credits for child care, specifically the “Child Care Contributor Tax Credit Act,” “Employer-Provided Child Care Assistance Tax Credit Act,” and “Child Care Providers Tax Credit Act.”

  • Efforts to pass these bills faced significant opposition from the Freedom Caucus, resulting in stalled progression​​.
  • The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry reports, “Eighty percent of business leaders in Missouri declare that the difficulty in finding available and affordable child care is hurting their ability to recruit and retain workers. That comes at an estimated cost of $1.35 billion annually for the state’s economy and $280 million a year in lost tax revenue.”

Business Development

  • Regulatory Sandbox Act - Status: PASSED. SB 894, sponsored by Senator Travis Fitzwater (R-Fulton), creates the Regulatory Sandbox Act, which will identify state regulations that could be waived in the first years of establishing a business. The bill also establishes an Office of Entrepreneurship to promote small business development.
  • MoBucks Program - Status: PASSED. HB 1803 has already been signed into law by Governor Parson. This bill increased the total amount of state funds the State Treasurer may invest into the low-interest linked deposit MOBUCK$ program from $800M to $1.2B annually.

Revenue-Cutting Legislation for Municipalities:

  • HB 2112: Referred to House General Laws Committee on May 17, 2024.
  • HB 2055: Referred to House Budget Committee on April 15, 2024.
  • HB 2224: Referred to House Ways and Means Committee on April 5, 2024.
  • HB 2187: Referred to House Local Government Committee on April 22, 2024.
  • SB 1231: Referred to Senate Appropriations Committee on March 20, 2024.
  • SB 1062: Referred to Senate Ways and Means Committee on April 7, 2024.

Status: DEAD. These bills did not gain sufficient support to pass in the legislature, ensuring no negative impact on municipal services​​.

  • All seven incorporated municipalities in Christian County are heavily supported by sales tax. Bills that reduce or eliminate local sales tax would negatively impact general revenue funds for our communities, some of which rely on grocery sales tax for as much as 45% of general revenue.
  • Vital infrastructure and services such as stormwater systems, police and public safety, public works, and many more necessities cannot operate as needed with the proposed reductions in local funding.

Business Attraction

  • Status: DEAD. SB 1301, sponsored by Senator Jason Bean (R-Holcomb), the bill seeks to improve the Missouri Works Program by providing the Department of Economic Development more flexibility to attract businesses to the state. The bill removes certain expiration dates, combines the advanced industrial manufacturing (AIM) zone and a targeted industrial manufacturing enhancement (TIME) zone tax incentives with the Missouri Works Program, and clarifies that the total authorized tax credit cannot exceed $181 million.

For additional information and a full recap of bills passed, please see THIS LINK from the Missouri Press Association.

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