State, federal leaders offer insights in Springfield
July was another busy month for the Chamber’s advocacy efforts, as leaders from both the state and federal level visited Springfield to hear from area business leaders and offer a glimpse at the political climate.
Zweifel addresses Missouri’s fiscal health, growth
When he visited the Chamber’s Governmental Relations Committee July 7, State Treasurer Clint Zweifel said Missouri is in good financial shape, though the next few years will be crucial in determining whether that healthy outlook continues.
Zweifel, speaking to the Chamber’s Governmental Relations Committee, is wrapping up his second and final term as the state’s treasurer and chief financial officer. Term limits prevent him from running for the office again. He discussed several programs that have grown during his seven-plus years in office.
- The Linked Deposit Program, which works with lenders to provide low-interest loans to businesses, has dramatically expanded its efforts in southwest Missouri. More than $465 million in loans have been made in our area since 2009, with $70 million currently outstanding.
- Housing development loan programs have taken a stronger interest in funding projects aimed at those with special needs. This has allowed assistance for the homeless, those with mental health issues, veterans in need and more.
- Financial literacy requirements are in the works for Missouri high school students. Curriculum updates are under way and should be ready for students graduating in spring 2017.
Zweifel said that while Missouri is financially strong, three issues will largely determine our continued strength: funding for transportation, higher education and K-12 education.
Congressman Long offers recap, looks ahead
Congressman Billy Long visited the Chamber July 26 to speak to the Governmental Relations Committee, he offered both a look back at what has been accomplished this session and a look at what still needs to be done.
Long discussed some of the items he has worked to pass in Congress, as well as other issues he sees on the horizon. Among the issues Long has worked on:
- The 21st Century Cures Act is meant to increase the speed of research on new drugs and medical devices by offering additional funding and creating a strategic plan for biomedical research.
- The Enforce Act strengthens trade enforcement at ports, improves the country’s ability to combat evasion of enforcement efforts and addresses unfair currency practices by trade partners.
- The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act allocates new funding for federal highway infrastructure projects.
- Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which had been allowed to lapse in 2015, means the bank can once again finance and insure foreign purchases of U.S. goods for those customers unable to accept the credit risk.
Congressman Long was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010; he is up for re-election in November. Read more about the congressman’s presentation.