Missouri aims to win in the global marketplace

In Missouri, we're committed to fostering a competitive economic climate where all businesses—from Fortune 500 companies to family-run corner stores—can grow and thrive. With a spotless AAA credit rating and a workforce that is second to none, Missouri is demonstrating what it takes to compete and win in the global marketplace from right here in the heartland.

From day one my administration has kept a clear focus on creating jobs and moving Missouri's economy forward. We put together a strategic plan, and we followed it: balancing budgets, holding the line on taxes and reducing the size of government while making smart, strategic investments in the future. Missouri now has the seventh-most-favorable corporate tax climate and the 16th lowest cost of living in the nation.

By updating and sharpening our economic development tools, we made them easier to use and more responsive to the needs of today's high-growth industries. We put more state services online and created a one-stop shop for environmental permitting, so that businesses can focus on creating jobs rather than filling out duplicative paperwork.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon
Source: Office of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon

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But the focal point of our efforts to transform our economy for the 21st century has been education. In fact, when we brought business leaders from across the state together for our Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth, their No. 1 recommendation was to retain and develop a highly-skilled workforce. We hear from businesses all across the state and around the world that the most important factor in their ability to compete in the global marketplace is access to a workforce with the education skills to succeed in the 21st-century economy. Education is quite simply the best economic development tool there is.

That's why we expanded access to preschool, increased funding for K-12 education and held down college tuition. We launched groundbreaking, nationally-recognized Innovation Campuses, which partner with businesses to help students attain more career-ready skills—in less time, with less debt. And we lead the nation in the Certified Work Ready Communities initiative, a program that uses ACT tests to qualify a community's workforce.

These efforts are producing real results. Missouri has now led the nation in high-tech job growth for two consecutive years. Earlier this year, the Show-Me State announced the largest expansion in our region's history, with Cerner's plans to create 15,000 jobs in Kansas City. We're also strengthening our position as a bioscience powerhouse as the home of world-class research institutions, like the Danforth Plant Science Center and the Stowers Institute, as well as global brands like Monsanto and Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. In fact, Missouri boasts the world's largest concentration of plant scientists.

Missouri also continues to lead the rebirth of the American automotive industry. Ford and GM's record investments in their Missouri facilities have caused a chain reaction of expansions at automotive-supply companies throughout the state. From Group Antolin's new facility in Kansas City to LMV's second expansion in Liberty, Missouri has become a hub for next-generation auto jobs.

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Combining warm hospitality with a competitive business climate, the Show-Me State is using common sense to compete on a global scale.

By Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon