State of the State Address Strikes Happy Notes, But Forgets Opportunities Lost
Last week Missouri Governor Jay Nixon delivered his eighth and final State of the State address to the Missouri legislature. You can find the full text of his speech here. In contrast to previous years, the Governor struck a much less antagonistic tone toward supporters of free market policies, focusing instead on a host of priorities he claims were successes during his tenure. The Governor deserves credit for the positivity in his speech.
But sadly, the Governor's positivity doesn't bring back the missed opportunities of the last seven years. In Jefferson City we have seen hostility to substantive income tax cuts, opposition to serious education reforms, the promotion of a long line of tax incentive boondoggles, and the rejection of reasonable reforms to the state's labor policies. This year's priorities also leave something to be desired; for instance, "keeping tuition low" at Mizzou, a key plank from last week's speech, is probably a misplaced priority while the University fights to earn back the trust of the taxpayers who fund it.
A few months remain for the Governor and the Legislature to make real progress on a host of important policy matters, and I expect that there will be some forward movement on ethics reform before he leaves office. That is a great thing. I worry, however, that that's where the progress will end. Let's hope not.