St. Louis Regional Chamber Legislative Agenda
2013 St. Louis Regional Chamber Policy Agenda
Education and Talent Development
- Support increased funding for workforce training to aid in the attraction of new businesses and the expansion of existing businesses.
- Protect core higher education funding and encourage timely, stable state appropriations despite recent budget shortfalls. Support consistent funding for capital improvement needs at area colleges and universities, including the leveraging of private capital for academic buildings.
- Support efforts to improve education attainment in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Support incentives for the attraction of teachers in STEM subjects and other shortage areas.
- Support performance incentives for K-12 teachers, including merit-based pay.
- Support policies that expand access to high quality early childhood education programs, especially for at-risk children.
- Support stability in the governance and operations of the St. Louis Public Schools and the work of the Special Administrative School Board.
- Promote financial and academic accountability in the delivery of school choice options, and support legislation granting sponsorship authority for charter schools to appropriate entities, including the Mayor of St. Louis.
Fiscal Responsibility and Governance
- Encourage responsible stewardship of state and local finances and balanced budgets without placing undue tax burdens on the business community or unduly reducing the effectiveness of essential programs.
- Support tax policies that keep our region competitive, encourage economic growth, and foster job creation.
- Support prudent borrowing for urgent capital improvement and economic development needs.
- Support an end to the legislative "roadblock" in Missouri regarding tax credit reform, and encourage review of tax credit programs to ensure state resources are used effectively and efficiently, including consideration of the recommendations of the Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission.
- Promote fiscal stability and sustainability of public pension programs, including adequate contributions from employees.
- Support increased collaboration and coordination between the region's two states, 16 counties, and numerous municipalities to enhance the region's fiscal stability, streamline the delivery of services, and promote net new economic growth.
- Support policies that encourage a regional perspective on intra-regional business relocation decisions, including policies regarding the use of local public incentives.
- Support the creation and renewal of incentive programs that stimulate employment, leverage private investment, and provide a positive return on investment. Ensure incentives are performance-based, competitive with other regions, and not subjected to the legislative appropriations process.
- Support assistance to small businesses with high-growth and job-creation potential, including mentoring, low-interest loans, matching funds, grants, and expansion capital.
- Support enactment and funding of the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA), full funding of the Missouri Life Sciences Research Trust Fund, and funding for the Missouri Technology Corporation to foster growth of high-tech start-up companies.
- Support creation of an Angel Tax Credit in Missouri to increase entrepreneurial access to risk capital.
- Increase funding for regional innovation centers and support incentives for research and development. Preserve protections for all types of research, therapies and cures allowed under federal law.
- Encourage greater access to markets for minority and women-owned business enterprises, and support appropriate disparity studies to monitor progress.
- Strengthen our region's workforce and the vitality of our communities by supporting economic development-based immigration policies that welcome and assist foreign-born talent to become an integral part of the success of our region.
- Oppose state laws and local ordinances that attempt to supersede or interfere with federal immigration law.
- Support improved transit and highway connectivity to enhance workforce mobility and increase opportunities for related private investment and economic growth.
- Support the regional defense industry through federal appropriations for research, development and deployment of critical defense programs.
- Support Scott Air Force Base as one of the region's and nation's most significant and strategic assets.
- Strengthen employment laws by limiting individual liability of managers and supervisors, mirroring the federal standard of proof in discrimination cases, tightening "whistleblower" protection to apply only when an actual illegal act occurs, and implementing reasonable damage caps.
- Support measures to ensure stability and reasonableness of unemployment insurance, and ensure that workers terminated for violations of state or federal law do not receive unemployment benefits.
- Ensure employees who contract occupational diseases have their claims covered under the workers' compensation system.
- Fix Missouri's insolvent Second Injury Fund by tightening access to benefits and allowing for a reasonable increase in the employer surcharge.
- Support a stronger causation standard for Illinois' workers' compensation system.
- Support comprehensive tort reform, including a system that apportions cost among all parties based on each party's percentage of fault, a "loser-pays" fee structure, a "permit shield" for employers acting lawfully, and premises liability reform.
Transportation and Infrastructure
- Support the creation and renewal of policies, incentives and funding to enhance the bi-state region's logistics, distribution and transportation infrastructure capabilities, including roads, bridges, railways, ports and airports, with an emphasis on international cargo and global competitiveness.
- Ensure timely completion of the New Mississippi River Bridge and related highway improvements on both sides of the River, and support funding for improvements to the Poplar Street Bridge and creation of a new Martin Luther King Bridge Connector.
- Encourage funding for priority downstate projects through the Illinois Capital Bill, and work to ensure that appropriations for capital improvement projects in Southwestern Illinois stay on track. Support regional projects that are listed in the IDOT Highway Improvement Program, as well as the work of the Transportation for Illinois Coalition.
- Support efforts to provide adequate transportation funding in Missouri, including the work of the Missouri Transportation Alliance, along with an allocation formula that reflects the economic significance of the St. Louis region. Also support expansion of the Missouri Department of Transportation's Public Private Partnership Authority to allow delivery of critical large-scale transportation improvements, and maintain regional representation on the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.
- Support policies and increased funding for Metro and other regional transit authorities that promote effective and sustainable system operations, enable a favorable return on investment, and address economic equity.
- Support federal and state funding for a high-speed rail corridor from St. Louis to Chicago, and for improvements to railroad bridges and related facilities that will enhance passenger and freight service for our region.
- Support efforts of the Flood Prevention District Council to improve Metro East levees to new federal standards and push for greater cooperation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the region's improvements plan. Support federal legislation to provide flood insurance relief to residents and businesses, and reduce adverse economic impact from the special flood hazard area designation in the American Bottom.
- Support telecommunications policies that encourage investments in technology infrastructure, promote choice, and maximize customer benefits from competition, including minimal regulatory treatment of all providers of telecommunications and video services.
Energy and Environment
- Support balanced and reasonable energy and environmental policies that are equitable to all regions and industries, encourage innovation and economic growth, and achieve sustainable environmental policies.
- Oppose policies that would unduly raise energy costs for businesses or jeopardize the creation of jobs in the St. Louis region.
- Support expansion of domestic energy supplies, development of clean energy technologies, and advancement of cost-effective renewable and alternative energy sources to increase energy independence.
- Support polices that assist businesses with their sustainability strategies and help grow the region's green economy.
- Support appropriate funding to maintain effective state environmental programs, without unduly taxing businesses
- Increase direct funding and tax credits for brownfield cleanup. Enact liability reform for brownfield sites to encourage their conversion to productive uses.
- Support full, affordable and comprehensive access to health insurance, and a robust health care system that protects the interests of the business community while addressing the needs of patients, providers and payers.
- Support timely and adequate funding of state programs, including Medicaid, as well as funding mechanisms such as provider assessments that enhance the use of federal funds.
- Promote policies that encourage governments to work with private insurers, health care providers and the business community to ensure an inclusive health care marketplace, and oppose shifting the cost of the uninsured to businesses.
- Oppose health insurance mandates that undermine the provision of high-quality insurance at a reasonable cost.
- Support policies and programs that encourage healthy behaviors and promote informed health care decisions.
- Support preparation of a strong health care workforce through high-quality medical education programs.
- Support certificate of need regulations that ensure a level playing field between hospitals and specialty providers.
Quality of Life
- Support plans to optimize active public use of the grounds surrounding the Gateway Arch, Metro East riverfront and existing downtown assets, including funding to implement the CityArchRiver 2015 project.
- Support the River Edge Program to encourage the redevelopment of riverfront areas in East St. Louis.
- Support funding for the development and maintenance of regional parks, trails and greenways.
- Support and encourage regional tourism, conventions and sporting events, including incentive programs that help our region compete more effectively in the attraction of major events.
- Support stable funding and governance for the arts and the region's cultural institutions.
- Support measures for increased public safety in downtown St. Louis and other business districts, as well as neighborhoods with high crime rates.
- Support school and community programs that help deter violence.
- Encourage transparency, accountability and efficiency in the management and delivery of public safety services throughout the region.
(Back to top)