JEFFERSON CITY, Mo — When most Missourians think about our state laws, they probably don’t think about Israel.
SB 812, sponsored by Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar was heard in the Jobs, Economic Development, and Local Government Committee on Wednesday. The bill would force The Department of Economic Development to place an economic development office in Israel under the condition that the funds are appropriated.
Parson visited Israel last year and said the Middle-Eastern nation is booming economically. Although Israel only has a population of nine million people, about the same as New York City, it accounts for $100 million worth of exports with the U.S. The country holds the highest number of patents in the world, more than the U.S. The tech market only falls behind the U.S.
Parson also pointed to Sigma-Aldrich; the chemical and high-tech company has large offices in St. Louis and Israel. He said the economic benefit far outweighs the potential cost of an office, which he estimates at $100,000 or less.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the state of Missouri to be a part in Economic Development,” he said. “It’s an important area to expand to where we had relationships before.”
Previously, Missouri had been a part of a group of states that had a presence in Israel. Parson said an autonomous office would provide singular access. Again, he added that if the legislature feels the program is not serving its intended purpose that appropriations can be withheld.