Dec. 30, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Bonnie Prigge, 573-265-2993
MRPC to present 2012 state priorities report to legislators
The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) will present its 2012 state priorities report to legislators Jan. 24, 2012 in Jefferson City. The priorities, adopted at the board’s Dec. 8, 2011 meeting, include top state issues of importance to the Meramec Region.
As the region’s legislative representatives begin the 2012 legislative session, MRPC advocates issues that are of interest to the organization as a whole and to the individual Meramec Region counties of Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington.
The report names the top state priorities under several sectors. For example, MRPC’s top issue of importance in the transportation category is to encourage the development of statewide corridors and support the four-laning of Highway 63 and Highway 50, if new construction funds become available. On Highway 63, MRPC supports improvements from Arkansas to Iowa, with the Phelps, Maries and Osage section being the first priority, followed by the Phelps County to Arkansas section. MRPC supports the four-laning of Highway 50 from Sedalia to Union, a step at a time.
MPRC’s top concern with regional economic development is to support financial incentives to attract out-of-state and foreign businesses to Missouri and to encourage expansion of existing industries and entrepreneurship. This may include more friendly tax and a regulatory environment.
For the health care and social service category, MRPC’s top priority is to support legislation that allows school districts and other governmental entities to join state employee pools for health care.
MPRC’s top environmental priority is to encourage the state to expand/continue state loan and grant programs to improve water system and sewage and treatment facilities and encourage the Department of Natural Resources to make available additional funding mechanisms for small rural communities.
For education in the region, the top issue is to request that the state legislature ensure that rural areas receive their fair share of education dollars.
MRPC’s top priority for local government is for legislators to support full funding of state mandates on local governments to consider an Internet sales tax to capture lost sales tax dollars at the state, city and county levels.
The process of prioritizing the state issues begins with MRPC committees and staff developing a list of issues. Board members and associate members then prioritize the list, with MRPC’s External Relations committee making the final recommendation to the board on the top issues to include in the written report, which is delivered to lawmakers.
The board’s December meeting is also an opportunity for board members to discuss the regional issues of importance with legislators. This year, Sen. Dr. Dan Brown (District 16) and Rep. Tom Loehner (District 112) attended the meeting and discussed items of interest with the board.
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 29, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.
Editor’s Note: A complete list of the priorities follow, if you would wish to include in a sidebar:
MRPC’S 2012 Top State Priorities
- If new construction funds become available, MRPC encourages the development of statewide corridors and supports the four-laning of Highway 63 and Highway 50. On Highway 63, MRPC supports improvements from Arkansas to Iowa, with the Phelps, Maries and Osage section being the first priority, followed by the Phelps County to Arkansas section. MRPC supports the four-laning of Highway 50 from Sedalia to Union, a step at a time example: Osage County line to Linn; California to Tipton; etc.
- MRPC encourages legislators to assist in finding necessary and additional funding for MoDOT and to explore all options of state and federal funding, including fuel tax, sales taxes, mileage tax and tolls dedicated to highways and bridges for automobiles and trucks.
- MRPC supports legislation that improves the safety of state highways, including expanding the texting ban legislation to include all drivers, supporting a primary seat belt, continuing the motorcycle helmet law, widening shoulders and adding rumble strips to roadways.
REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
- MRPC supports financial incentives to attract out-of-state and foreign businesses to Missouri and to encourage expansion of existing industries and entrepreneurship. This may include more friendly tax and regulatory environment.
- MRPC encourages its state legislative delegation to meet with federal legislators to protect manufacturing and other industries from moving overseas.
- MRPC encourages the state of Missouri to consider Fort Leonard Wood as one of the state’s prime industries and actively work to protect, maintain and expand the mission of the base and jobs located there.
HEALTH CARE/SOCIAL SERVICE:
- MRPC supports legislation that allows school districts and other governmental entities to join state employee pools for health care.
- MRPC supports better access to quality health care for the uninsured, underinsured and the underserved population in the region via mechanisms such as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs); promote satellite facilities/clinics from existing community health centers. MPRC supports efforts to make medical transportation to larger areas more available.
- MRPC encourages the state to expand/continue state loan and grant programs to improve water system and sewage and treatment facilities and encourages the Department of Natural Resources to make available additional funding mechanisms for small rural communities.
- MRPC supports the construction of hydroelectricity production and/or nuclear facilities, thus reducing reliance on diesel and coal as energy sources.
- MRPC supports and encourages the development of alternative fuels using wood, hydrogen, wind, solar and biomass and to shift away from the utilization of grain and other food products.
- MRPC requests that the state legislature ensure that rural areas receive their fair share of education dollars.
- MRPC encourages greater emphasis on reading, writing, math and science competency. MRPC also encourages the emphasis of reading and writing as they relate to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.)
- MRPC encourages the state legislature to support and expand technical training opportunities. This would include (1) the continued development of Linn State Technical College. (2) Technical training for health care services. (3) Technical education that supports economic development and quality improvement for the region.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT (CITY/COUNTY):
- MRPC supports full funding of state mandates on local governments. For example—Jails, education, wastewater treatment facilities, judicial expenses, i.e., per diem for prisoners in county jails.
- MRPC strongly supports a statewide sales tax on Internet sales.
- MRPC shows support to allow cities to do repairs and public works projects such as painting water towers, fixing potholes and other repair and maintenance issues without doing prevailing wage. Prevailing wage should not affect repair and maintenance improvement projects less than $100,000.