Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to discuss Dollar Tree’s interest in Johnson County with the company’s CEO Bob Sasser and some of our elected officials here in the state. Dollar Tree plans to invest $100 million in the Warrensburg area and that investment starts with its project to build an enormous distribution center near Brady Commerce Park. This project is expected to bring hundreds of jobs within three years and increase the commerce throughout the area.
Dollar Tree’s decision to invest in our community is an endorsement of Missouri’s — Warrensburg’s — welcoming business climate. So, if we want to stay competitive with other states and continue to bring employment projects, we must understand the factors, such as geographical advantage, low taxes and regulations and a talented labor force, that influence a business’s decision to relocate or expand.
In addition to Johnson County, surrounding counties, such as Lafayette, Saline and Ray Counties, provide great and dedicated skilled people. Our people are strong-minded and capable, and it is not only Dollar Tree that recognizes that. Last Monday morning, Tara Industries held its groundbreaking ceremony. Tara Industries produces bio-fuels energy solutions, which have been increasing in demand as efficient sources of energy, by converting plant- and animal-derived products. The company plans to build on a site near Tina — close to Highway 65 — and expects to bring more than 400 jobs within the next decade. These projects are great for encouraging economic development in rural counties like Carroll County. As this year progresses, I look forward to more businesses expanding in other parts of the district.
Here in Jefferson City, discussion and debate surrounding the budget filled the committees, halls and Senate chamber. The Legislature is working hard to pass a budget within the next three weeks. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I spent many hours this week listening to testimony concerning appropriations for state departments and agencies. It is vital for the efficacy of our state that our departments and agencies get the funding they need. Moreover, the fact that the committee’s hearing rooms have been filled to capacity, with many people standing in the halls to carefully listen, shows the importance of our work and that many entities, organizations and people are affected by the appropriation process.
As highlighted in last week’s column, the Senate passed Senate Bill 376 last week. The bill would make “Old Drum” Missouri’s Historical Dog and “Jim the Wonder Dog” Missouri’s Wonder Dog. Senate Bill 376 is moving swiftly through the House, and I look forward to working with my colleagues and the governor to find more ways to encourage tourism and promote our local economies.
With less than a month left of session, we show no signs of slowing down. I will continue to represent the people of District 21 and focus on the issues that will improve our local and rural communities, strengthen our children’s education and hold my colleagues accountable to their jobs at legislators.