NCI’s Policy Agenda

North County Incorporated’s 2020 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 the 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 for economic and community development for North St. Louis County.

Economic Development

Disaster Relief

We support the State reviewing and improving on existing laws that support small business emergency recovery funds. We support the county, state and federal government providing financial relief to businesses as a result of COVID 19, other pandemics, natural disasters, and acts of God that pause or shut down the economic and/or other parts of the government, require social distancing or other aspects that harm the economy, and are detrimental to the conducting of business. We believe that policies and procedures should include the submission of documentation of the loss of financial (revenue and profits) as well as human capital for significant additional support from any emergency recovery funding for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Economic Development

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.

We support funding for Missouri One Start to help businesses with comprehensive recruitment and training solutions.

Job Training/Workforce Development

We support funding that will increase educational attainment and workforce readiness to meet the region’s employment needs both now and in the future. We support policies that will increase the region’s percentage of adults with bachelor’s degrees and other post-secondary credentials.

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.

Employment Opportunities

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 policies that expand opportunities in the trades and federally recognized apprenticeship programs.

Business Climate

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.

Redevelopment

We support initiatives to spur redevelopment efforts in economically 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.

Sustainable Development

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 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 transit 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 our municipalities.

Education

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 state-wide quality rating system for early childhood programs.

Primary & Secondary

Funding

We support appropriations for public schools enough to fully fund the Missouri Foundation Formula, including categorical funding (i.e. transportation services), and all state-mandated initiatives for education. 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 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 all schools accepting public funding for education be held to the same accountability standards.

We support legislation mandating fair and accurate property assessments.

Mental Health in Education

We support increased funding and the creation of initiatives to provide training to schools and administrators that allow schools to utilize the resources available in their communities 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 schools to know where to begin to address mental health.

Autonomy

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.

Flexibility for Innovation

We support innovation for public schools to create more equitable learning opportunities for positive educational outcomes for all children.

We support the goals of the Missouri Assessments Partnership to implement an adaptable and comprehensive assessment tool that accurately evaluates continuous growth and life readiness for student learning.

We support and encourage partnerships between public high schools and post-secondary institutions.

Parochial Schools

We support North County parochial schools and the value they provide to families and communities in North County.

Higher Education

Funding

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. We support expanding manufacturing training and for programs to provide additional highly skilled workers in the health and mental health care fields.  We support equitable 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 for 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 funding for building aligned career pathways to meet current and future workforce needs that includes K-12 public education, Community College System, 4-Year universities, and business leaders.

Healthcare

Funding

We support the continuation and eventual expansion of basic medical coverage of Missouri’s           low-income population to eliminate healthcare cost-shifting to employers and patients, while calling for reasonable reforms in Missouri HealthNet to reduce fraud, waste, and abuse in the state’s Medicaid system.

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 endorse the 2020 Medicaid Expansion Ballot Initiative that puts Medicaid expansion to the voters and would amend the Missouri Constitution to do the following: adopt Medicaid Expansion for persons 19-64 years old with an income level at or below 133% of the federal poverty level; prohibit placing greater or additional burdens of eligibility or enrollment standards, methodologies, or practices on persons covered under Medicaid Expansion than on any other population eligible for Medicaid; and require state agencies to take all actions necessary to maximize federal financial participation in funding medical assistance under Medicaid Expansion.

We support programs and initiatives that promote accessibility to healthcare for all by eliminating physical, financial, and other barriers that may otherwise prevent individuals from seeking the care they need.

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.

Other

We support certificate of need regulations that ensure a level playing field between hospitals and specialty providers.

We support a state-wide prescription drug monitoring program that would provide physicians and pharmacists with access to a patient’s controlled-substance prescription history.

We support mandating insurance companies to provide breast cancer screening and evaluation in accordance with American College of Radiology guidelines.

Transportation/Infrastructure

Funding

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 efforts to fully fund the reconstruction of I-270 from Missouri Bottom Road to the Mississippi River. While approved funding for the I-270 project will address several of the recommendations identified in the EA, not all needs are addressed and remain unfunded.   Additional funding is critical for to effectively complete this project. Also, the unfunded gap between Riverview and Lilac on I-270 will remain a bottleneck once the Mississippi Bridge replacement is complete.

We support adequately improving the intersection for Riverview Blvd. off I-270 and making necessary roadway improvements on Riverview Blvd. to handle increased demand when the St. Louis Zoo North Campus is fully operational.

We support a gas and diesel fuel tax increase to provide necessary funding for transportation.

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 an all-user ban on the use of handheld mobile devices while operating a vehicle.

Transit

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.

General Issues

Public Safety

We support efforts to encourage citizen participation in partnering with law enforcement officials for public safety. We support policies to reduce overall crime in the St. Louis region with a focus on measurable and meaningful reduction in the rate of violent crime.

We support significant efforts be made to protect the enormous multi-government investment in Metrolink. A safer system would increase investment and progress in the region.  A higher-priority must be given to provide for a more effective law enforcement presence on Metrolink through collaborative and community-oriented policing by accredited police departments and all public safety partners must be encouraged to work together to ensure public safety on this critical public transit system.

We encourage all community stakeholders to carefully examine current policies to eliminate all inequities caused through racial profiling in a meaningful and effective way in order to restore minority community trust in public safety institutions.

Tax Structure Review and Taxation for Local Governments

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. 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 chamber, they serve in.

Broadband

We support equitable coverage for communities. We support the extension of the broadband internet grant program for unserved and underserved areas of the state that is currently scheduled to expire in August 2021.

Auto Sales Tax Collection

We support the requirement that automobile sales tax be collected at the time of purchase.  It has been estimated that the State of Missouri loses $23 million each year in uncollected sales tax on the purchase of automobiles.  This figure does not include the county and local sales taxes that are also not collected.


NCI_LogoFooter

 

North County Incorporated

350B Village Square Drive
Hazelwood, Missouri 63042
phone: (314) 895-6241
email: nci@northcountyinc.com

 

facebook_icon linkedin linkedin