Entrepreneurship is one of the keys to a well-functioning society.  Brave individuals or willing to put out their shingle to open or expand a business can create jobs and prosperity in our state.  But sometimes, the financial risk appears too great for the possible reward, and so potential job creators hold back on that investment.

To encourage these fledgling businesses, our state has an economic development program called Missouri Works.  Through Missouri Works, businesses can be allowed to keep some of their employee withholding taxes that they would normally pay to Jeff City for a few years if they create good-paying jobs in their community.  Think of Missouri Works as your state government’s version of Kickstarter that helps start-ups that might not otherwise get off the ground.

Missouri Works has helped finance hundreds of businesses and create thousands of jobs in our state.  Unfortunately, most of those jobs have been in the big cities because Missouri Works is tailored around manufacturing businesses (factories).  In my House district, I can count on my hands the number of factories we have and still have a few fingers left over.  We just don’t often get new factories built in rural areas anymore, and so most of the program’s benefits go to St. Louis and Kansas City.  That is why I sponsored HB1061.

HB1061 would extend the Missouri Works program to not only factories but also retail shops in small, rural counties like ours.  If passed, this is something many businesses in our small towns could use to get started or expand.  This could lead to more economic prosperity for our communities, and help us retain our population since our young adults would be more apt to find good work or be encouraged to start businesses of their own in our home towns.

HB1061 passed unanimously from the Rural Development Committee and is now on the House calendar for consideration.  It is also a small enough change to existing law that it could be easily amended onto a different economic development bill that is closer to passage.  It is my hope this legislation passes in the next couple weeks and we ultimately see greater prosperity in rural Missouri.  I am proud to champion HB1061.

Until next time, health, happiness and prosperity to you and your family.