PNS Daily Newscast - January 22, 2020. 

Round Two as lawmakers battle over Senate rules to try Trump. And New Hampshire voters keep a close eye on Iowa.

2020Talks - January 22, 2020 

Four candidates are stuck in Washington at the Senate impeachment trial instead of on the campaign trail in Iowa, less than two weeks ahead of the first in the nation caucuses.

State of the State: Parson Promotes 4 Focus Areas for 2020

In his second State of the State address, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said the state's economy is strong. (Ktrimble/WikiMedia)
In his second State of the State address, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said the state's economy is strong. (Ktrimble/WikiMedia)
January 16, 2020

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Stronger communities, workforce and education, infrastructure and government reform -- Gov. Mike Parson says those are his four areas of focus for 2020.

In his State of the State speech on Wednesday, Parson outlined his $30 billion budget plan, which proposes setting aside $100 million for a rainy day fund.

"And, to ensure this savings remains stable, we will direct Wayfair collections into this fund until it establishes solvency," Parson said. "And, we will use the remaining portion to pay off debt obligations, as well as provide another funding mechanism for infrastructure programs done on a cost-share basis."

Parson said his proposal includes investments in high-demand high school job training, as well as $4 million in disaster recovery funds and $50 million for the transportation cost-share program.

He contended that pro-growth policies and conservative budgeting are working, and can "set the stage for greatness in Missouri."

Parson also touted efforts to drive efficiency and accountability for tax dollars, including $84 million in savings in the Medicaid system.

And he criticized efforts to put a Medicaid expansion before voters on the November ballot.

"So make no mistake about it," he stated. "The vague proposal they are not explaining or purposely withholding is a massive tax increase that Missourians cannot afford."

Parson also said the state's economy is strong, touching on the 3.1% percent rate.

However, Traci Gleason, vice president for external affairs with the Missouri Budget Project, contends more needs to be done to ensure the fairness and adequacy of the tax code.

"We've had a lot of tax cuts that benefit Missouri's wealthiest but the earned income tax credit is something that does prioritize work, but also its money that people spend immediately in their communities and can further spur economic development," she stated.

Gleason pointed out that Missouri isn't keeping pace with other states, having lagged the nation in economic growth for the ninth consecutive year.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - MO