On Aug. 14, I was honored to attend Governor Jay Nixon's visit to the Coreslab Structures plant on Hwy. 20 in Marshall. The governor praised the plant for utilizing the Certified Work Ready Community status of Saline County and matching jobs with workers. CWRC is a program through Saline County Economic Development that guarantees a base level of worker skill levels. Certainly the 51st District is doing its part to put Missouri back to work!
Legislators Continue to Oppose Stadium Financing Without Public Vote
If you have been following the currents of change in the National Football League, you know that Los Angeles is attempting to lure an existing team to their city. The three most likely are the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, and the St. Louis Rams (who moved the City of Angels). In an effort to retain St. Louis' status as an NFL city, some are proposing a new stadium, which would require public dollars. This week the Missouri Development Finance Board approved $15 million in tax credits for this new stadium, only Lt. Governor Peter Kinder voted no.
Several legislators are opposed to any use of taxpayer funding for a new stadium that does not first include a vote from the legislature. It is estimated that the new stadium, which would cost nearly $1 billion, would incur significant debt that Missourians would be forced to pay. It seems to me that the legislature, the representatives of the people paying the bill, should have a say in how the plan moves forward. If we do not have a debate and a vote, how will we know the details of the debt we could be facing in the future?
The current plan approved by the Finance Board calls for the state to issue $135 million in bonds and for another $187 million in tax credits and other state and local incentives. The remainder of the financing would come from an NFL team owner, an NFL loan program, the sale of seat licenses, and bonds issued by St. Louis.
Currently, six legislators are involved in a lawsuit, with Representative Jay Barnes acting as the group's lawyer, in an attempt to stop this spending without legislative input. I will keep you informed of future developments and your taxpayer dollars.
Missouri's Credit Rating Continues to be Outstanding
Despite the situation with the St. Louis stadium, Missouri currently has a very good financial picture. Much like the credit rating of individuals, states have similar ratings based on the way they budget and invest taxpayer dollars. This week the state of Missouri received good news as all three bond rating agencies, Standard and Poor's Rating Services, Fitch Ratings, and Moody's Investors Service, announced the state has retained its AAA credit rating.
Standard and Poor's Rating Services wrote, "debt payments are a first-priority budget item in terms of state budgeting" and "the state's track record regarding its budget management is especially strong."
The end result of maintaining the AAA credit rating is that the state benefits from lower interest rates and long-term investments become more affordable. Missouri is one of only three states with a AAA rating from all three agencies, which is a reminder that the state is a safe place to invest and a strong place to do business. The good credit rating also saves taxpayers millions of dollars in interest each year. I will do my part in the future to keep Missouri's credit strong.