Leaders discuss economic growth
SIKESTON - Party affiliation didn't matter, nor did district boundaries or titles before their names, the three politicians agreed economic growth is a priority for Sikeston and the surrounding area.
However, they all had different ideas on how to achieve that growth as they spoke to the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce during the noon monthly meeting Thursday.
Leading off program, Sen. Jason Crowell said "Missouri's economy is growing and thriving." The improvement in the economy was credited to efforts by the Missouri General Assembly to enhance small businesses through incentives which encourage job growth, he said.
He explained the creation of 95,000 new jobs in Missouri since 2005 has not only got more people working but also puts more tax money in the state's coffers. These funds have enabled the state to go from a deficit to a surplus in funding.
Ellen Brandom, 160th District representative, said her top issue is to get the new bridge built to connect Missouri and Kentucky. The bridge, she said, would enhance economic development and growth in the area.
The legislator said she will work to convince state officials of the importance of the project.
With a federal feasibility study already funded for the project, Brandom added, "We have to keep the momentum going. It is going to be a long process but we have to keep up the work."
Other issues Brandom said she is working on as she begins the second year of her term are health care coverage, education funding, increasing teacher pay and funding for senior nutrition programs.
Tax credits have proven to be instrumental to economic development, according to Steve Hodges, 161st District representative.
"If we assist businesses with tax credits it doesn't cost anything over a period of time," said Hodges, who said tax credits will also be addressed by the General Assembly when they reconvene in January.
Also during the meeting Sikeston Mayor Mike Marshall presented a "Key to the City" to the Rev. Carl Addison, who is moving from Sikeston.
Missy Marshall, the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, updated members on local activities. These include:
The Veterans Day Ceremony will begin at 9:45 a.m. Nov. 9 at the Sikeston High School Fieldhouse. National Commander of the American Legion Joe Frank will be the guest speaker.
The November Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon will be Nov. 15 at Concordia Lutheran Church.