Senator Mike Cunningham’s Legislative Column for Aug. 25, 2017

Cunningham Updated Banner March 2017

The business climate in our state is always a big factor in the news and daily lives of many Missouri residents. This year, the state has made substantial progress in attracting business since the passage of Right to Work, tort reform and other pro-business legislation. We know that Right to Work is being held up, but its passage has already brought about some change in the work environment.

This year Missouri’s ranking in the CNBC America’s Top States for Business 2017 study noted Missouri has risen nine spots in one year and is currently ranked at 22. This positive increase of nine positions was the fifth biggest jump in this year’s study. Fit Small Business Magazine has also ranked Missouri the 6th best place to start a small business.

The study also shows that Missouri is ranked 17th in cost of doing business, and is 23rd in business friendliness.  Across the state, there has been an increase in the enrollment at state technical colleges. These students who are seeking a skilled trade are already coming to Missouri, where we believe many will stay and establish their careers. Another recent study shows that employees in Right to Work states and states that are not report the same levels of safety, job conditions and more. The study by National Employee Freedom Week showed there is no significant difference in those factors along with number of hours worked, pay rate, benefits and more.

Several states have passed Right to Work legislation and have seen an increase in jobs, union membership and increased wages including Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. All of the states immediately surrounding Missouri, with the exception of Illinois, have passed Right to Work laws. The 22 states that passed Right to Work laws before 2012 have some of the largest economic growth.  We have learned from these states that it can take time to build up jobs and the economy; but we also have seen proof as Missouri starts to see these benefits.

Right to Work states had more than 17 percent average growth between 2004 and 2014.  During the same time period, states without Right to Work only experienced 11.5 percent growth. Research has shown that the top states for new manufacturing jobs, the states with lower unemployment rates and more private sector job growth are Right to Work states. And so far, it seems as though Missouri has already experienced this growth.

As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.