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Parson tackles supply chain issues on state, federal levels

Gov. Mike Parson waded into supply chain concerns Monday, creating a task force dedicated to the issue and joining a 14-state coalition calling for federal reform.

Parson also signed an executive order Monday creating the Missouri Supply Chain Task Force co-chaired by the directors of the Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and the Office of Workforce Development. The task force will engage public and private stakeholders to come up with possible solutions. 

The task force will also facilitate interstate supply efforts with Missouri’s neighbors. 

“This is a national crisis that requires coordination across all levels of government and between public and private partners. By signing this order and supporting this initiative, we are acknowledging the threat and working to mitigate the negative impacts on Missourians,” Parson said. “Missouri agencies and stakeholders have already begun identifying ways to improve and strengthen our transportation infrastructure and workforce, and this task force will complement and further that work, while prioritizing prompt and meaningful solutions.”

The task force’s recommendations that require legislative action will be expedited before it is dissolved in June 2022, according to officials. 

Parson also joined a coalition of governors on the Operation Open Roads initiative, a commitment to use their executive powers to address supply issues by increasing market access, increasing efficiency, and easing regulations. 

The group called on President Joe Biden to take similar measures, including lowering commercial drivers’ license age requirements to 18 years old from 21, ending COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private businesses, and suspending federal spending leading to inflation. 

“Missourians, like many Americans, are deeply concerned about their rising grocery and energy bills, increasing delays for goods and services, and soaring inflation threatening their paychecks,” Parson said. “The Biden Administration’s continued attempts to tax, spend, and regulate its way out of this crisis have failed. We are committed to doing what we can at the state level to fix this crisis and to get us back on track, but we need the federal government to get on board or get out of the way.”

Supply chain issues are impacting various industries, from technology to agriculture. The Missouri Farm Bureau reported impacts on farm equipment, crop protection products, and school lunches, while microchip shortages cause delays for everything from vehicle production to new gaming consoles. A survey from small-business advocate NFIB Missouri found most businesses had encountered heightened supply issues over the summer compared to the spring.