Missouri's elected leaders are big believers in the tenet that you can never do enough to improve your state's overall business climate.
Because of that, they recently announced a series of initiatives aimed squarely at strengthening the state's economy and spurring job creation for Missouri workers.
Missouri's strategy includes reducing red tape, improving workforce training, tort reform and encouraging small businesses and entrepreneurs to start and grow in Missouri.
With a single click, businesses can now find the perfect training solution to meet their needs. They can also access recruitment tools to connect with qualified candidates. Leggett and Platt and 3M were the first companies to enroll in the new program.
The Department of Economic Development is also launching a statewide customer services platform that serves as a unified approach to supporting businesses in the state — making it easier for businesses to access the services they need.
"We need to help more Missouri businesses grow and expand in Missouri," said Rob Dixon, Director for the Missouri Department of Economic Development. "A well-organized effort between our state agency and our local partners will maintain and improve this area of job retention and growth — and show that we are serving and supporting businesses from a unified front."
Missouri adopted these changes in late 2017 even as the state was receiving high marks on several leading business climate indices.
The Tax Foundation, for example, recently named Missouri the Fifth Best Corporate Income Tax State Tax for 2018 and Seventh Best Property Tax State, as well as the Seventh Best Unemployment Insurance Tax State.
"We are a prime location for businesses," says Steve Johnson, CEO of Missouri Partnership. "Our business climate is improving. It has always been good; there has just been a lack of awareness."
With a low cost of living and a low cost of doing business, as well as one of the lowest business tax regimes in the country, Missouri seems to check all the boxes for site selectors.
"Our central location is huge. Every class one railroad is here," says Johnson. "The Mississippi and Missouri rivers converge here, and you can reach most of the U.S. within a day's drive."
Many business leaders give Missouri a solid endorsement as well.
"We have been very impressed with the business-friendly approach that the State of Missouri, Johnson County and the City of Warrensburg have provided," said Bob Sasser of Dollar Tree.
With regulatory reform, tax reform and a right-to-work referendum all on the docket for 2018, Dixon says Missouri is poised to become a top five state in overall business climate this year.
"We are approaching economic development in a broad-based strategy," he notes. "This leg of the stool is about creating new businesses. We must look at doing things in a different way. Innovation is one part of our broad strategy."