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Breaking Down Gov. Greitens' State of the State Address

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Governor Eric Greitens addressed Missourians on numerous topics during his second State of the State speech.

Greitens spoke about jobs, the foster care system, state tax structure, assisting veterans, and passing future legislation to protect first responders.

Employment

Greitens said Missouri currently has the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years. He attributed this to the state's job growth.
"Since last March, we have outpaced the nation in job growth, and in the past year, Missouri moved up nine spots in the rankings of the best states in the country to do business," Greitens said.

Greitens cited an increase from last year in manufacturing jobs, including the completion of new steel mills.

Greitens added that he believes there is still work left to do.

"We haven't fixed in one year what was broken over the course of many decades, and many Missourians still struggle," Greitens said.

Foster Care

Greitens later spoke about the 13,000 children in Missouri's foster care system.

"Every child in the Missouri foster care system has seen more than their fair share of hardship," Greitens said. "We need to see in them their God-given potential, and we need to do everything in our power to help them to fulfill it."

He pointed out the change in legislation that allowed foster children to obtain their birth certificates for free and the new "Foster Care Bill of Rights."

Greitens spoke on the state's joining to the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise, which makes adoption easier across state lines.

He acknowledged 20 members of the legislature which have been working on initiatives which will "help reform and improve Missouri's adoption system, so we can get children into safe, stable, and loving homes faster" and "help foster children get access to bank accounts, so they can save their money."

Greitens also called on the legislature to make a pledge with him to "get this work done for the kids who need us most."

"Put politics on hold," Greitens said. "Set any differences you may have with one another, or with me, to the side. These are children. These are kids. There are 13,000 of them. We must love them and care for them as if they were our own, because, in law and spirit, they are."

Reducing Regulations

Greitens said the state of Missouri is the smallest it's been in two decades.

"By taking a strong, thoughtful, conservative approach to government we can tell you tonight that we are taking nearly one out of every three regulatory requirements in the state of Missouri - that's 33,000 regulatory requirements that we are taking off the books for good," Greitens said.

He said Missouri has become a leader in reducing regulations.

"... Other states have modeled their regulatory reforms on what we are doing to increase liberty and prosperity in the state of Missouri," Greitens said.

State Tax Structure

"I'm proud to say that we cut spending, and we did not raise taxes on the citizens of Missouri a single nickel," Greitens said.

Greitens announced that a "detailed, thoughtful, and thorough" plan will be laid out next week to cut taxes on the "hardest-working families in our state." He said it was the boldest state tax reform in America.

He also called for help with the plan which he said would "lower taxes for working families and make it easier for businesses to come to Missouri and create jobs."

"In 2018, I want this body to cut taxes for the people of Missouri, and to cut taxes for businesses that create jobs," Greitens said. "Let's get it done."

Assistance For Military Members and Veterans

"We want Missouri to be the best state in the country for veterans and military families," Greitens said.

Greitens called for the state legislature to grant full reciprocity of licenses obtained in other states so that family of military members are eligible to work in Missouri upon moving to the state.

He also called on the legislature to pass a bill "allowing employers to establish a veterans hiring preference." He said most states in the country have done this and it would allow businesses to no longer be at risk of lawsuits for establishing this preference.

Protection of First Responders

"We promised the people of Missouri that we would support our law enforcement officers and first responders, and that’s what we’ve done," Greitens said.

Greitens referenced the Blue Alert legislation, which was signed into law last year. The law strengthens the penalties for anyone who attacks or injures a law enforcement officer.

He said the legislature needs to pass new legislation that also protects the health, safety and wellbeing of firefighters, police officers and other first responders.

Greitens also called on the legislature to create a "clean version" of legislation which protects police officers from secret liens against their homes, which "can affect the credit of our police officers and their families, costing them thousands of dollars."

"Tonight, I want to let the police officers of this state know: your Governor, your fellow citizens, and the vast majority of your elected representatives, we have your back," Greitens said.

You can read a full transcript of Greitens' speech here.

A Democratic leader in the Missouri House of Representatives commented on Greitens address.

Representative Gail McCann-Beatty said the governor failed to release his budget proposal for this fiscal year. She also criticized his administration's alleged use of a secretive app that deletes messages and receiving so-called "dark money" campaign donations.


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