Missouri has many attributes that we sometimes overlook — you know, too close to the forest to see the trees. East Central College and the cities of Washington and Union, along with the Missouri Partnership, an economic development group, held a two-day program last week for an evaluation of what Franklin County offers and suggestions to spur economic growth.
A consulting firm from South Carolina had two representatives here for the evaluation and suggestions for economic growth. The consultants put the emphasis on having sites with all the necessary utilities and large buildings available for prospects. They also pointed to the need to have websites with comprehensive data about the sites, buildings and the communities. This area is lacking in having available modern buildings with certain requirements, such as wall heights. Good sites are available that are shovel ready.
During the discussions, a business recruitment specialist with the Missouri Partnership, gave an overview of why the state is a good place to locate a business. Missouri is the population center of the United States; is a two-hour drive to most major cities; within 600 miles of 50 percent of U.S. households; and within 600 miles of 52 percent of manufacturing establishments. Missouri has the sixth largest public road and highway system in the nation; the state provides low-cost shipping; and is home to two of the largest rail terminals in the nation.
Missouri has 1,000 miles of navigable waterways, the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. The state has 130 airports, nine with commercial service and two with international service, along with three foreign trade zones. The state has a large skilled, trainable work force, with a total population of 6 million people, and 3 million in the work force.
Missouri has targets for growth: Advanced manufacturing, energy solutions, biosciences, health care sciences and services, transportation and logistics, financial and professional services and information technology. It also has financial incentives for growth. Missouri is home to a number of Fortune 500 companies and many national and international companies. The state’s exports in 2012 totaled $13.9 billion. Energy costs are low in Missouri.
It’s too bad Gov. Perry of Texas wasn’t given all these facts when he was in the state trying to recruit Missouri businesses to move to Texas. He also was here to support the Republican efforts to enact HB 253 into law by a General Assembly override of the governor’s veto. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce should use its resources to spread the word about Missouri rather than supporting Gov. Perry’s raid to this state.
The tax cut bill if it becomes law would curtail state funding and services, including to education. It’s not a good bill for the future well-being of the state.