The Columbia Chamber of Commerce revealed its 2019 state legislative priorities Thursday.
Chamber officials said they want to position Columbia as a focal point for business in Missouri. Chamber President Matt McCormick said the day was about making sure the Missouri General Assembly knows what is important to Columbia.
“That our top three economic drivers are education, health care and insurance and making sure they know that, and making sure they know what Columbia is about and the different priorities we’re working on,” McCormick said.
The chamber’s top six priorities include:
Stabilizing education funding for the University of Missouri Improving Missouri’s transportation system Constructing the Translational Precision Medicine Complex to expand research at the University of Missouri Completing the Regional Airport terminal project Implementing new sales tax laws Fully funding pre-K through 12th grade public education.
State Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, said transportation improvements are fundamental.
“That’s something we really need to focus on is infrastructure, roads and bridges and people diverting through the state, so we need to focus on that,” Basye said.
Business and economic development
Business and economic development is at the top of the list, as the chamber wants to create a strong pro-business environment. The chamber plans to create more funding for the Missouri Technology Corporation and expand apprenticeship opportunities.
The chamber wants state leaders to help stabilize the University of Missouri’s funding and plans to advocate for the construction of the University of Missouri’s Translational Precision Medical Complex.
The chamber also plans to fully fund pre-K through 12 public education in order to “ensure a competitive educational system,” according to the chamber’s official agenda.
The chamber plans to focus on rebuilding Interstate 70 as well as pushing for the completion of the Columbia Regional Airport terminal project.
“But then our focus would of course be I-70, trying to get I-70 fixed as it runs straight through the heart of our community and so we want to make sure we have that as our focus point,” McCormick said.
Chamber leaders said they want to bring a plan such as Proposition D, a phased-in 10-cent per gallon increase in the fuel tax, back to the forefront in the General Assembly.
Taxes and tax credits
The chamber is also advocating for”implementing a Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, in efforts to level out the playing field for local and out-of-state retailers.”
Such an agreement would require many online retailers to pay local sales tax based on the point of purchase.