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Regional coalition lays out legislative priorities

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The Springfield/Branson Regional Salute to Missouri Legislators Coalition tonight will lay out legislative priorties to members of the Missouri General Assembly, statewide elected officials and department directors.

The coalition's 27th annual reception is scheduled 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City, according to a news release from the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, one of the 10 members of the coalition. Chamber spokeswoman Claire Faucett said in an e-mail this morning that roughly 200 people from Springfield and the surrounding area will attend the event.

The other members of the coalition are the city of Springfield, City Utilities, Greene County, Libraries & Arts Council Alliance, Missouri State University, Ozarks Technical Community College,  Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, Springfield Public Schools and Springfield Regional Economic Partnership.

Economic development tops the coalition's priority list. In an explanation of the priorities provided by the chamber, the coalition says it encourages lawmakers to support and protect proven tax credit programs used to support employment and private investment, and it opposes efforts to reduce the effectiveness of such programs.

Other priorities:
  • Capital formation - the state and private sectors should support seed and venture capital efforts for projects by Missouri entrepreneurs.
  • Education - the coalition supports fully funding the state's foundation formula at the elementary and secondary school levels, and encourages the General Assembly to maintain funding for public higher education institutions.
  • Environment - there should be a balance between protecting the area's natural resources and fostering economic growth.
  • Libraries and the arts - the coalition supports using funds from the nonresident athletes and entertainers tax to support the Missouri Cultural Trust.
  • Local authority - issues at the local level, such as local government's own property or funding, should be dealt with by local authority, with limited or no intervention by the General Assembly.
  • Tourism - the coalition encourages legislators to fully fund the Missouri Division of Tourism's marketing budget.
  • Transportation - legislators should partner and collaborate with local leaders, public officials, citizen groups and other stakeholders to address the state's transportation funding shortfall.
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