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Gov. Parson talks Missouri flooding and infrastructure


Gov. Mike Parson sat down with ABC 17's Ashley Strohmier on Thursday morning about his hopes for the state of Missouri in 2020. Parson spoke about future flooding preparations, infrastructure, roads and bridges, as well as the current political climate in the national Capitol.

Here is the transcript of that interview:

It was a horrible flooding year last year and there's some expectation that it's going to be another issue this year. Do you think Missouri is prepared?

"Are we prepared for it? Yeah, we're prepared for that day coming because we know there's a good possibility that day's gonna happen. Do we want that day to come and do you ever prepare for devastation, probably not. There's a lot of levees out there that's never been repaired. We still have a lot of issues out there regarding infrastructure that hasn't been done. Now, thank goodness we did set aside money last year to prepare for that. That was one of the things we did early on thinking we could have trouble. We did the same thing this year in the budget, we put money to the side in the Governor's Office to make sure we're somewhat prepared, but the reality of it is if we have another front come in here like we did it's not going to be good. I mean there's going to be some devastation to that and people need to be prepared for that. I wish I could say everything's gonna be okay, but the reality of it is it's not."

There are more than three thousand plus Missourians that still haven't received their 2018 tax refund. What is being done to expedite this?

"I think everyday we're working hard to get taxpayer money back to them. I think the whole reality of it is this is something that's gone on continuously for many years. This is nothing new, I think it's been made into a little bit of a political hype to be honest. However, the truth is 99.9% of people have their tax returns back."

This year there is already $1.3 million dollars in interest. In the past 3 years the interest was around $500,000. That is a significant difference.

"We changed the entire system out and that was one of the things they did. The one thing I do know is we are working on getting better at that and we're working on trying to make sure people get their tax dollars," Parson said. "The idea that we're trying to hold up people's tax money makes no sense whatsoever."

With the failure of proposition D in 2018, what is your plan to fund transportation?

"The reality of it is what we did last year with the bond proposal we got past with the cost share program we did and are all good things, but it still does not take care of the major problem across the state of Missouri. The good thing about the like the Rocheport bridge with the $82 million to use on the federal level to come in and match that money is that it frees up that eighty-two million to be used on other project. There's a lot of areas you know down in the Missouri Bootheel area we're looking at some of the interchanges down there on the interstate. We're trying to figure out a how do you get through the state smoothly and how do you get transportation down there for economic values."

What are your thoughts regarding the current political climate on Capitol Hill and the impeachment of President Trump?

"It never stood a chance of getting through the senate. I think this is all a political game that they are doing in Washington. I sit here and think about what we're doing in Missouri and we're talking about infrastructure and we're talking about jobs and we're actually doing something."

With it being an election year, what are your goals for the legislative body and what do you want to see in particular on your desk?

"For one I want to continue on with the workforce development, that's gonna be huge for me, that was a very successful program last year. What's really important for me is allowing military spouses to be able to come here and go to work. It's long overdue and I've asked the legislators to fast track that to my desk."

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Mike Parson

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Ashley Strohmier

Jefferson City resident Ashley Strohmier co-anchors ABC 17 News evening broadcasts.


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