Missouri’s Opportunity to Become an Economic Force

Last week, the Ninety-Ninth (99) General Assembly was convened. Today, Eric Greitens is sworn is as the Fifty-sixth (56) Governor of the state of Missouri.  Missouri is poised to make some big strides toward much needed change.

First out of the chute this week in both the House and Senate with be hearings on passing Right to Work (RTW) bills. Over the weekend, Kentucky become the Twenty-seventh (27) state to become RTW.  Although labor organizations argue the facts, RTW states have experienced higher wage growth, higher population growth and even higher union membership because of the higher job growth in those states.

RTW opponents will often say it’s “right to work for less”.  They use the term because it sounds ominous not because it’s true because it’s not.  They like to point to southern RTW states whose hourly wages tend to be less than Missouri’s and claim that it is RTW that is the reason. They of course leave out a lot of economic facts and truth in making that claim.

They ignore the economic history of the south where everything started out lower. They ignore the strides that these states have made in recent years in attracting jobs and businesses as RTW states eclipsing states like Missouri. And mostly they ignore the differences in cost of living.

But why don’t they talk about states like Indiana or Michigan that have more in common and comparable with Missouri who have chosen to move to become RTW states in recent times?  They don’t talk about them because they don’t tell the story the opponents of RTW want told!

In 2012, the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in Michigan, 8.1 percent in Indiana, and 7.0 percent in Missouri (Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual average data). In November 2016, the last month for which we have released state unemployment data, the unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in Indiana and 4.9 percent in Michigan –and 4.7 percent in Missouri. Unemployment fell by 4.2 points in Michigan, 3.9 points in Indiana, but only 2.3 points in Missouri.  In 2012, the unemployment rate was far lower in Missouri than in Indiana –now it is higher.

Jobs increase as do wages. Indiana’s union membership has grown since passage of RTW. In Michigan, personal income GREW after passage of RTW! The unions aren’t afraid to use whatever scare tactics they need to use to try to stop employees from having the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union.

Here in Missouri, every man, woman and child is almost $1,900 poorer every year because we don’t have a RTW law in place. You can read  Confronting Missouri’s Growth Deficit for more information.

So watch this week as the action begins. Missouri will begin it’s march upward from being 47th in the nation to a higher position with the new Governor and General Assembly working together to eliminate unnecessary laws, rules and regulations that hinder Missourians from being as successful and prosperous as possible!

#2017
#RTW

Carl Bearden
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