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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 now progressed to the Kansas side. 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 for completion in 2021.  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.  Lastly the Chamber asks that priority be given to maintenance and improvement to the Missouri River to support commercial navigation.

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 ongoing process of relocating facilities to the north end or the airport.  As part of this move the Chamber asks for federal approval of the transfer of facilities to the City to facilitate future redevelopment.

International Trade

The Chamber expresses concern and reservations concerning the use of tariffs to address trade issues with international trading partners.  The outcome of which can 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 that 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 particularly with the ongoing challenges associated with COVID-19.

Rosecrans Memorial Airport

The City owned Rosecrans Airport provides a home to the 139th ALW 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.

Broadband Funding

The Chamber advocates for federal funding to assist with the expansion of broadband service in the rural areas of Northwest Missouri to better serve residents in the area and support business growth and development.

State of Missouri

Missouri Senate — www.senate.mo.gov

Missouri House of Representatives — www.house.mo.gov

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 adequately maintain and improve the state’s transportation system, including Missouri highways, ports and airports.

Workforce Development

The Chamber asks for 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 endorses 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. Also, the Chamber supports a modification to the Missouri Works Program/Military to include part-time jobs associated with the traditional National Guard and Reserve.

Sales Tax Fairness

The Chamber supports legislation in the State that would ensure that sales tax is paid on online purchases is 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 an internet sales tax solution in Missouri as most states have now done.

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.

Rural Broadband Expansion

During the response to COVID-19 many employees and students found themselves working from home.  If they lived in the rural Missouri, they likely had difficulty accessing adequate internet services.  The Chamber would ask the Governor and Legislature to continue to support the expansion of rural broadband service and provide adequate funding to support this expansion.

Local Disaster Relief

With the recent experience of the past year related to flooding on the southside of St. Joseph we found there was little assistance offered by the State.  We would advocate that the State consider establishing a local disaster fund that could be tapped when anticipated disaster costs do not meet the FEMA threshold for assistance and the cost is beyond the ability of local communities to respond to.  Further SEMA should establish an emergency response program that provides SEMA staff on the ground to help local governments address crisis situations.

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 continue efforts to provide cost effective, high quality, learning environments for students.  In addition, the Chamber supports initiatives that supports 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 needed 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 redevelopment initiatives, as well as the expenditure of public capital improvement funds as necessary to encourage continued and future private sector investment.  This would include efforts to find adaptive private sector reuse of existing structures and allow for the use of incentives to support such efforts.

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, in 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.

Tourism/Meeting Facilities

The Chamber supports local tourism and the positive economic impact it has in the community. Over the years the City has continued to suffer from a lack of adequate meeting facilities and event space. 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 area. The City and County are asked to consider public funding and or public/private funding of meeting space as well as recreational amenities to support tourism in St. Joseph.

Future Development

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

Neighborhood Revitalization

As part of the Imagine St. Joseph 2040 there is a critical need to revitalize the older neighborhoods in St. Joseph.  Great progress has been made with the passage of a rental inspection program as well as the creation of a local Land Bank.  The Chamber would ask the City and County to support neighborhood revitalization efforts through the expenditure of funds to address infrastructure needs as well as the creation of programs, policies and providing resources to support opportunities to restore and improve housing in the older, historic neighborhoods of St. Joseph.

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