North County Incorporated’s 2017 Policy Agenda
North County Incorporated, is an economic and community development advocacy organization serving the entire North St. Louis County community for 40 years. Our membership is a collaborative for municipal, community and business leaders who are dedicated to the sustainability and advancement of residential and business climate of the region.
Our mission: North County Inc. is a regional development organization which acts as a catalyst to define and advocate economic and community development for North St. Louis County.
We support the protection of proven, performance-based tax credits that leverage private investment and stimulate employment and economic growth for our region, provide a positive return on investment, and allow us to be competitive with other regions. We support the enhancement of Missouri Works and the creation of a deal-closing fund to help our state win the most competitive projects. We support updating Missouri’s tax credit system to ensure that state resources are used effectively and efficiently and encourage companies to invest and reinvest in Missouri. We oppose efforts to reduce the effectiveness of proven tax credit programs, including subjecting them to the annual appropriations process.
Job Training/Workforce Development
We support funding for workforce development to meet the variety of training needs of new businesses and the expansion of existing businesses of all sizes, with a focus on encouraging investment in people and talent.
We support all employment opportunities and support services for people with developmental disabilities in Missouri including their choice to work in a Missouri sheltered workshop.
We support the State reviewing and improving on existing laws that support business growth and job creation. These actions can strengthen the business climate in our State without creating additional State government expenses. We believe that when businesses are free from unnecessary regulatory burdens, they are much more likely to grow and create jobs. We support measures to ensure stability and reasonableness of unemployment insurance and ensure that workers terminated for violations of state or federal law do not receive unemployment benefits.
Small Business and Entrepreneurial Growth
We support policies that stimulate an entrepreneurial culture and enhance the growth of small businesses. We support assistance to small businesses with high growth and job creation potential, including mentoring, low-interest loans, matching funds, grants, and expansion capital.
We support initiatives to spur redevelopment efforts in economical distressed areas, such as tax credits for brownfield cleanup. We support meaningful liability reform for brownfield sites to encourage their turnover to a productive use.
We support legislation that creates regional solutions and partnerships to improve neighborhoods in downward transition. We support legislation that provides for a rebuilding and conservation of assets, while guarding against policies that cannibalize St. Louis County, and imprudently use taxes to unnecessarily develop large areas that cause conflict with the sustainability of already established communities. We support public policy for infrastructure projects which articulates reasonable costs without placing a large financial burden on residents and businesses.
Logistics and Distribution
We support incentives and funding to enhance the region’s logistics, distribution, and transportation infrastructure capabilities, with an emphasis on global competitiveness. We support infrastructure projects that would significantly grow our region’s economy, promote transportation infrastructure growth, and connect workers to jobs, such as growth at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and Metro expansions. We support the creation of a commission to help in the development of higher speed wireless service for St. Louis County through a coordinated permitting effort with all of our municipalities.
Early Childhood Education
We support increased investment in early childhood education. We support policies that expand access to high quality early childhood education programs, especially for at-risk children. We support a statewide quality rating system for early childhood programs.
Primary & Secondary
We support appropriations for public schools sufficient to fully fund the Missouri Full Foundation Formula and all state mandated initiatives for education, while providing additional support necessary to implement the “Missouri’s Vision for the Future” initiative. We encourage the General Assembly to fund Missouri public schools in a mindful and equitable manner necessary to adequately invest in the future of the 900,000 public school children throughout the State.
We support innovation for public schools to create more equitable learning opportunities for positive educational outcomes, including the 2016 recommendations from the Missouri Association of School Administrators Show-Me Accreditation and Assessment Task Force that support pilot programs that inform practices which lead to improve academic achievement, personal responsibility and workforce readiness.
We support legislation increasing funding for after-school programs.
We support expanding the investment in 529 Match College Savings Accounts.
We support the restoration of full funding for the Parents as Teachers program.
We support increasing the bonding capacity of school districts.
We support the restoration of funds to the transportation formula.
We support increased funding and the creation of initiatives to provide training to school districts and administrators that allows schools to utilize the resources available in their community to provide mental healthcare to students. The growing mental health crisis is having a dramatic effect on students. Resources to address mental health either do not exist or they are fragmented in local communities. Additionally, there is a lack of expertise on the part of educators and school districts to know where to begin to address mental health.
We support legislation mandating fair and accurate property assessments.
We support the local autonomy of school districts. Local school districts are in the best position to determine the most effective use of funds and other resources and provide safe learning environments.
We support identifying solutions to solve at-risk school districts in a manner that does not contribute to the destabilization of communities. Solutions that focus on equitable education for all students and allow children access to close-to-home quality public education.
We support establishing reasonable parameters for the movement of students from unaccredited districts to accredited districts. Without reasonable parameters, local school boards would lose qualitative decision making authority and unaccredited school districts would be financially devastated.
Legislation should include: districts ability to set class sizes, districts must receive adequate and equitable funding for any student transfers and the transportation of these students, all costs to be paid in advance directly by the State, incoming students must be assigned to buildings at the discretion of the district, districts must not be required to employ additional teachers or construct additional classrooms to accommodate transferring students, students wishing to transfer must have been residents in the unaccredited school district for at least six months prior to the transfer, accredited districts should not be required to include transfer students’ statewide assessment scores in their district’s scores for three years.
We oppose mandating the open enrollment of students to attend schools in districts in which their parents do not pay property taxes.
We support North County parochial schools and the value they provide to families and communities in North County.
We support current charter schools using public funding be held to the same accreditation and academic standards as public school systems. Parents should have access to recent performance results to aid in their decisions on where to place their children.
We support protecting core funding and stable allocations for higher education’s workforce training and skills development programs, especially in the key areas of science, technology, engineering, math, expanding manufacturing, and for additional highly-skilled workers in the health and mental health care field. We support equity funding for higher education sectors and institutions.
We support plans to provide capital funding for new construction, for maintenance and repair of existing buildings, and equipment for both the University of Missouri-St. Louis and St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley.
We support fully-funding the A+ Scholarship Program for all eligible students that have earned it.
We support increasing opportunities for dual credit/dual enrollment for high school students.
We support state funding to the University of Missouri-St. Louis for the needed $25.8 million renovation of Stadler Hall.
We support the continuation and eventual expansion of basic medical coverage of Missouri’s low-income population to eliminate healthcare cost-shifting to employers, while calling for reasonable reforms in Missouri HealthNet to reduce fraud, waste and abuse in the state’s Medicaid system.
We support the State working to retain as much federal tax paid by Missouri employers and employees as possible. We support Medicaid Eligibility Reform. Missouri’s choice to maximize coverage to those newly eligible would result in an estimated return of $8.4 billion in Federal funds to the State through 2021. These are funds that Missouri employers and workers have contributed with their Federal taxes. Failure on the part of the State to take advantage of this Federal investment increases the likelihood of potential liability by the State’s employers for increased taxes and the continued cost shifting of health care premiums now paid by Missouri employers to cover the cost to providers of the uninsured.
We support adequate funding of state health care programs and enhanced use of available federal funds to reduce the number of under and uninsured.
We support full, affordable and comprehensive access to health insurance, as well as informed choice of doctors, hospitals and insurance plans. We oppose health insurance mandates that undermine the ability of employers to provide high-quality health insurance at a reasonable cost.
We support adequate and timely Medicaid reimbursement to providers.
We support renewal of the Federal Reimbursement Allowance (FRA). The FRA is the third largest revenue generator in the state of Missouri exceeded only by individual income taxes and sales and use taxes.
The FRA, which is itself supported by hospitals and other health care providers, is used to fund medical care under the MOHealthNet program. In the absence of the FRA, medical services under the MOHealthNet program would be significantly reduced.
We support certificate of need regulations that ensure a level-playing field between hospitals and specialty providers.
We support investment in infrastructure that creates jobs, connects where people live with centers of employment and education, and ensures employers have ready access to critical utilities and freight networks.
We support adequate Missouri transportation funding and a formula that reflects the economic strength and development needs of the St. Louis region, encouraging the consideration of economic development and job creation impact when funding future projects.
We support the emphasis on maintenance of existing infrastructure.
We support maintaining St. Louis’ representation on the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and oppose efforts to redistribute money away from the St. Louis region.
We support various forms of user fees be considered as one source of new transportation funding.
We support policies and funding for Metro services that promote more effective and sustainable system operations, as well as system expansions in accordance with the Long Range Transit Plan.
Predatory Lending & Payday Loan Operations
We support legislation that would impose stricter regulations, with penalties, on lenders who engage in unfair and deceptive lending practices. We support legislation establishing that the Missouri Attorney General should have increased responsibility to investigate and take legal action against predatory lenders, such as payday and title loan companies. In addition, legislation should allow cities to impose limits on the number of payday loan companies or, if desired by the community, to ban these operations entirely.
Tax Structure Review and Taxation for Local Governments
We support a tax structure review due to structural deficits caused by an out-of-date revenue system. Missouri’s capacity to fund services is out of balance because the revenue system has not been modified for decades in what it taxes and how it taxes. We support maintaining the existing sales tax authority in the statutes.
We support a Missouri Earned Income Tax Credit bill to help low-income families.
We support the state offering tax incentives and exemptions which avoid financial harm to local governments.
Internet Sales Tax
We support legislative efforts to level the playing field for all retailers and require all companies selling on the internet to Missouri residents to collect Missouri Sales Taxes and remit them to the State. The United States Supreme Court has determined not to overrule the collection of sales taxes on internet sales. Municipalities should also have the right to collect internet sales taxes.
Revision of Term Limits for State Legislators
We support that a legislator be limited to 16 years in the Legislature with no limits as to which house they serve in.
We support legislation to reduce actual and perceived overall crime in the St. Louis region with particular focus on a meaningful reduction in the rate of violent crime, to create a safer and more secure region for job creation and investment while at the same time improving citizen-law enforcement relations.
We support a ½ cent countywide sales tax on the April ballot for the County police department and all municipal police departments to be distributed to everyone.
We advocate for more effective law enforcement presence on Metrolink through collaborative and community-oriented policing by accredited police departments and encourage all public safety partners to work together as efficiently as possible to ensure public safety on this critical public transit system.
We encourage all community stakeholders’ carefully examine current policies and to put into effect policies combatting inequities caused through racial profiling in a meaningful and effective way in order to restore minority community trust in public safety institutions.