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Legislative Issues and Elected Officials

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Federal Elected Officials

U.S. House of Representativeswww.house.gov
U.S. Senatewww.senate.gov

Federal Issues

Missouri River

The community has received funding for improvements to the Missouri River levees and work has progressed to the halfway point. The Chamber advocates for continued federal funding through the Corps of Engineers and asks that the Corps and our Congressional delegation ensure the project remains a priority to completion. Further, the Chamber calls on the Corps of Engineers to effectively manage upstream releases to effectively control potential flooding conditions downstream, as we experienced most recently in 2019.

139th Airlift Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard

The Chamber supports growth and expansion of the 139th Airlift Wing, including continued modernization of the existing fleet of C-130H aircraft, while pursuing future recapitalization of the fleet to C-130J models. In support of the 139th mission, the Chamber supports the acquisition of a C-130H full motion simulator and funding and construction of a building to house the simulator. The Chamber also supports locating a new Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (AES) with the 139th.

International Trade

The Chamber supports efforts to expand the growth of international free trade agreements that will open additional markets to local business, stimulating job growth and new investment. Specifically, the Chamber endorses the new U.S., Mexico & Canada (USMCA) trade agreement recently negotiated by the three countries and calls for its adoption.

Further, the Chamber expresses concern and reservations concerning the use of tariffs to address trade issues with international trading partners. The outcome of which could negatively impact local businesses and lessen the demand for agricultural exports from the region.

Health Care

The Chamber supports continued efforts to improve the administration of the Affordable Care Act and encourages the administration and Congress to work together to bring about reforms that provide a sustainable health care system, expands meaningful coverage to the uninsured and provides stability to private sector employer health care plans. Further Congress should be aware of the potential issues associated with the financial stability of local and rural hospitals and pass legislation that better financially secures such hospitals to allow for medical access for patients outside major urban areas.

Rosecrans Memorial Airport

The City-owned Rosecrans Memorial Airport provides a home to the 139th Airlift Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard as well as serves the general needs of Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas.  The Chamber advocates for ongoing operational funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to continue operation of the control tower, as well as securing federal funds to assist with upgrades and improvements to the tower.

State of Missouri

State Issues

Higher Education Funding

The Chamber supports adequate and appropriate state funding for Missouri’s institutions of higher education. Further, the Chamber endorses fair and equitable funding for all of Missouri’s universities addressing the need to enhance funding for Missouri Western State University to support the University’s mission as an applied learning institution.

Transportation Funding

The Chamber supports additional funding for Missouri’s transportation system and encourages the Legislature, Governor and the MoDOT Commission to consider a sustainable funding plan to provide long-term financial resources necessary to improve the state’s transportation system, including Missouri highways, ports and airports.

Workforce Development

The Chamber supports continued engagement by the state in preparing Missouri’s workforce for current and future jobs. This includes more effective alignment of educational resources in the state to address a continuum of education from Pre-K through degree attainment. There should be a priority on career readiness at the high school level, STEM education in K-12 schools, focus on vocational and technical training and alignment of degree attainment to careers in Missouri.

Economic Development Enhancements

The Chamber supports the passage of legislation that would improve Missouri’s economic development incentives for both existing business and new business to the state. Specifically, a tax credit program for Missouri Angel Investors who invest in Missouri businesses. Further, the Chamber endorses additional funding for the state’s customized employee training program.

Expansion of Medicaid

The Chamber supports the expansion of Medicaid in the state along with appropriate reforms to ensure long-term solvency of the program and provide additional federal funding to support Missouri’s health care systems and local hospitals.

Sales Tax Fairness
Considering the recent U.S. Supreme court ruling, the Chamber supports legislation in the state that would ensure that sales tax is paid on online purchases collected by the state as now allowed, providing a level playing field between online retailers and local retailers. The Chamber calls on the Missouri Legislature to explore options to implement a solution in Missouri, as other states are now moving forward.

Tort Reform

Missouri has been known for its unfriendly business practices when it comes to legal matters. The Chamber endorses certain reforms to the State’s tort laws to address such issues as venue shopping, statute of limitations requirements and merchandising practices laws.

Local Officials

Buchanan County Officials
Buchanan County – www.co.buchanan.mo.us

St. Joseph City Officials

St. Joseph – www.stjoemo.info

St. Joseph School District Officials
St. Joseph School District – www.sjsd.k12.mo.us

Local Issues

School District

The Chamber believes it is important to the community to provide the resources necessary to maintain and support an excellent public school system. Further, the Chamber encourages the School District to complete its facilities study and make recommendations for school closures and construction of new schools reflecting the community’s desire for cost effectiveness while supporting first class learning environments.  In addition, the Chamber supports initiatives that support pre-K learning, career readiness and a robust vocational and technical education program to meet workforce development needs in the community.

Public Infrastructure Bond Funding

The Chamber encourages the City to consider the need for additional funding beyond the Capital Improvement Sales Tax to enhance maintenance of existing streets, public facilities, parks, storm water and other public amenities. The Chamber endorses the use of long-term debt in the form of General Obligation Bonds to address infrastructure improvements in the community.

Downtown Development

With private sector development underway in the downtown area, the Chamber encourages the City to continue its support of development incentives, as well as the expenditure of public capital improvement funds as necessary to encourage continued and future private sector investment.

Community Appearance

The Chamber believes that an important part of positioning the community for future economic growth is creating a quality of life that encourages individuals to want to live in St. Joseph and businesses to want to invest in the community. This begins with having a clean, attractive community, of which residents can be proud. The Chamber encourages the City to consider programs and policies that would address the condition of certain residential properties and provide for a method of removing litter and trash from residential neighborhoods.

Crime

St. Joseph has seen an increase in the level of certain crimes, especially crime involving guns and car thefts. The Chamber would like to encourage continued support of the Police Department and encourages the City Council to provide the Department the resources necessary to help combat the issue. Further the City is asked to continue to reach out to the business community and residential neighborhoods to form partnerships to help and support the activities of law enforcement.

Meeting Facilities

Over the years the City has continued to suffer from a lack of adequate meeting facilities and event space. Changes in the local hospitality business market has resulted in less space than in the past. The effect is that it is difficult to attract any size of association meetings, and in some cases our local companies are unable to address their own meeting needs, seeking necessary space out of the area. This creates a situation that potentially results in the loss of a local business. The City and County are asked to consider public funding and or public/private funding of meeting space to serve the needs of the community.

Future Development

The Chamber calls on the City and County to work together to plan future areas for residential development that addresses such issues of infrastructure, developable land and annexation to support future community growth.

Government Websites
U.S. President – www.whitehouse.gov
U.S. Senate – www.senate.gov
U.S House – www.house.gov
Missouri Government – www.mo.gov
Missouri Senate –www.senate.mo.gov
Missouri House – www.house.mo.gov
Buchanan County – www.co.buchanan.mo.us
City of St. Joseph – www.stjoemo.info