By Monte Miller
Missourian Staff Writer
Shortly after President Donald Trump entered office, his administration began to reach past state governments to the county officials to assess issues at the micro level.
After traveling to Washington, D.C., last year, County commissioners Tim Brinker and Dave Hinson frequently participate in conference calls with White House staff which cover a wide array of topics.
Brinker, presiding commissioner, said he joins the calls frequently.
“They range from economics to transportation,” he said. “There was also one that focused on the environment and land use.”
Brinker said he was particularly interested in that subject at the national level since the Ameren coal-fired power plant plays such a large role in the Franklin Count economy.
On Wednesday, Oct. 10, Brinker joined a conference call from Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council. Kudlow and Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett discussed how President Trump’s economic policies have affected Missouri’s families, workers and employers.
To supplement the call, the White House provided a fact sheet highlighting specific economic growth in the state.
The sheet opens by stating Missouri has demonstrated strong economic growth during the past year, with low unemployment and rapid declines in the share of the population living in poverty.
Specific highlights include:
• The percent of Missourians living below the poverty line decreased by 2 percentage points to 11.1 percent from 2016 to 2017, nearly five times faster than the national decline of 0.4 percentage points.
• The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by President Trump last year is estimated to lead to a 7.1 percent increase in wage and salary income for Missouri’s average households.
• Utility rates in Missouri have been cut for more than 1.4 million customers as a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
• Following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Missouri’s community banking sector saw total loans and leases grow by 8.9 percent during the first half of 2018 at an annual rate.
• Missouri’s professional and business services, as well as financial activities sectors, have lead employment growth since January 2017, growing at 4.8 and 4.3 percent respectively.
• Unemployment insurance claims fell by over 24 percent since President Trump’s election in Missouri to their lowest level ever recorded.
• The unemployment rate in Missouri has fallen 1.2 percentage points to 3.3 percent since the election of President Trump, the lowest level since May of 2000.