SUPPORT WORKERS and ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The government must promote responsible economic development. That means we can't be picking winners and losers by providing tax breaks to giant corporations, or by encouraging development in flood plains. Instead, small businesses and entrepreneurs must be a priority for our state economy. Our country was built by hard work and dedication to a job well-done. Employees, craftspeople, and contractors deserve to be paid living wages for dignified work. As our economy changes, we need to ensure laborers across industries have access to resources and support so they can adapt to changing market conditions. Unions, career training and re-training, apprenticeships, and workforce development programs are all part of a healthy economy.
We have students born in the 21st century being educated under an 18th-century model. Colleges are competing for fewer students and less state funding. More than 60 public school districts have adopted four-day weeks to gain a competitive edge. Our education laws are simply not keeping up with the times. We need serious institutional reform to encourage innovation and progress in education. We need to address the structural inequalities preventing students from accessing the education they want and desire. We need to make sure schools are not just "teaching to the test" or following a check-list of items imposed on them by the state.
Whether rich or poor, urban or rural, I will fight for all Missourians to have access to high-quality, cost-effective healthcare options. That means we need to primarily address the rapidly rising cost of healthcare, but that doesn't mean we need government to subsidize an already inflated market. We need to spur competition and innovation, cut down on bureaucracy, and give people a choice in their healthcare. And we need to do it the right way. Some want to enshrine Medicaid expansion into the State Constitution. That's not the right way to expand access to healthcare and encourage innovation in the long-run. Instead, I believe we need to look to other states that are experimenting with innovative ideas and solutions that are flexible enough to change over time. Promoting health sharing programs, HSA's, FSA's, and other plans that give consumers control of their healthcare spending is a good place to start.
Missourians should be confident that their government is fairly assessing, collecting, and spending their hard-earned dollars. Whether personal property, sales, or income taxes, state and local governments have a responsibility to be transparent in assessing and frugal in spending public money. For example, some areas of St. Louis have sales tax rates around 12 percent. That results in a regressive tax on the urban poor. Property tax assessments in Missouri's major metropolitan areas have come under well-deserved scrutiny in recent years. More needs to be done to ensure fiscal responsibility at all levels of government.
SUPPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT
The men and women who protect us every day must be supported. They do the tough work to catch criminals, but too often the system works against them. We need to ensure rogue prosecutors are held to account so that criminals don't end up back on the street. And at the end of the day, we want every police officer to get home safely.
Missourians have a right to self-governance at a local level, free from undue influence or coercion of outside forces. St. Louisans in the city and county should be able to decide on questions about a local minimum wage without state government interference, or hold a local vote on a city-county merger, if these issues come up again.
Our state and local elected officials must ensure the brave men and women who served our country in uniform get the support, recognition, and honor they deserve.