JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — On Wednesday, Mike Parson addressed the General Assembly for the first time as governor and released his first budget recommendation.
Parson’s State of the State address at times drew a standing ovation from the entire General Assembly and other times just from Republicans. Folks had praise and criticism for his budget and speech.
Before Parson made his address, Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh released a recorded video reminiscing of the events that took place over the last years and urged a return to shared priorities.
“..simply being better than Eric Greitens is too low a bar to set for any of our leaders, too low for the kind of change we need,” said Walsh. “Missouri deserves better.”
She called on the Senate to fully fund the School Foundation Formula, increase school transportation dollars, strengthening the workforce through higher education and job training, and making sure the Mental Health Safety Net is there for anyone in crisis.
“With his first State of the State address, Governor Parson demonstrated his in-depth knowledge of the policy process and state government by offering a number of real, achievable policy proposals,” said James Harris. “His focus on finding common sense, conservative solutions to the issues facing our state shows his commitment to the people of Missouri.”
The Missouri Republican Party Chair Todd Graves also commended Parson on his State of the State address.
“Governor Parson is determined to make Missouri a better place to live, work and raise a family, and today he laid out those plans,” said Graves. “It is clear that Governor Parson and his administration are working hard to continue to move our state forward.”
“The Governor did a great job of presenting his vision of building a better Missouri. Whether it’s increasing broadband access, making government more efficient, criminal justice reform, or educating Missouri employees to meet 21st century workplace demands, we share many of the ideas he has for Missouri,” said Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr, Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, and Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo in a joint statement.
“We know our members have a strong desire to move the state forward with bold solutions to the challenges that face us. As a co-equal branch of government, we look forward to reviewing the details of his proposals and budget recommendations in the weeks to come. We appreciate the great working relationship we have with Governor Parson and are optimistic that together we can further our shared priorities for our state.”
The communications director for the campaign advocating for an increase to the state’s motor fuel tax praised Parson’s move on transportation funding.
“Governor Parson is doing the right thing by targeting bad bridges for replacement. For safety’s sake, Missouri must keep working on the backlog of deficient bridges and every dollar helps,” said Scott Charton.
The same move was criticized by some House Democrats.
“Tax cut after irresponsible tax cut, now we find ourselves in a deep budget hole. Paying for things like infrastructure, education & healthcare is important – but Gov proposes just putting $350 million on credit card (bond)? That’s not how ‘fiscal responsibility’ works,” Rep. Peter Merideth said on Twitter.
“No mention of possible withholds. No mention of withholding table error or surprise tax bills. I want to be optimistic, but someone has to be talking about this issue. BIG questions remain,” Rep. Kip Kendrick noted on Twitter.
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.