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Gov. Jay Nixon wasted no time trying to stimulate job growth on his first full day in office on Tuesday.
Nixon signed three executive orders aimed at stimulating and retaining high paying jobs in Missouri. All three orders relate to ideas Nixon talked about on the campaign trail last year.
Nixon, at a campaign event last October, told Claycomo Ford Plant Workers and Local 249 UAW members that he would commit to retaining and growing the automobile industry in the state. He made good on that yesterday by creating the Missouri Automotive Job Task Force. According to a press release from Nixon’s office, the task force will be made up of 12 people appointed by the governor.
Many of Nixon’s points of focus for the task force center on training and retooling for the future of the auto industry with a focus on green vehicles. Nixon also said in the statement that the task force would also be instructed to look at funding sources to implement any of the recommendations. The release does not say who will be named to the task force and phone messages were not returned on Tuesday.
Rep. Bob Nance, R-Excelsior Springs, said he supports the governor’s quick response to such an important issue here locally. Nance said there is a lot of talk nationally about the automotive industry downsizing, but he doesn’t want any of it to reach our area. Out of the big three U.S. automakers, Ford seems to be the most stable among most analyst, however Nance said if something happened to the Claycomo Plant, it would have devastating effects on Ray County’s economy.
“These companies might have to size down, but we don’t want them to size down our plants here in Missouri,” Nance said. “What that would do to Ray and Clay County would just be unbelievable if that was closed.”
Nixon wants to focus on the small business owner as well. On Monday, Nixon met with about a dozen young Missouri business owners to hear their concerns about the business climate in the state. Nixon said in the release that one resounding thing he heard from the business owners is the lack of available capitol. He said those business owners said it is difficult to hire new employees without available funds.
Nixon wants to provide about 80 low or no interest loans a year of $25,000 to small businesses. Nixon said the $2 million needed would come from fees on Missouri Development Finance Board loans.
Nixon also commissioned a task force of 15 individuals to prepare for any federal economic stimulus funding that may head for Missouri. No details of the task force were released.