Pledging to “bring honor, integrity and transparency” to his new office, Mike Parson became Missouri’s 57th governor in a ceremony Friday evening, and he took the occasion to address some of the issues likely to draw his attention during his early days in office.
That followed a flurry of activity Friday by Parson’s predecessor, Eric Greitens, who signed 77 bills into law before his resignation became official at 5 p.m. Friday, bringing to an end a tumultuous tenure.
In remarks Friday, Parson mentioned infrastructure and workforce development as “common grounds” around which Missourians could rally. As lieutenant governor, Parson advocated for tax increases to support the state’s transportation infrastructure.
Greitens left many major bills untouched, giving Parson the power to sign or veto them. That unsigned legislation includes the bills that make up the state budget. “We may want to go back and take a look at some of that,” Parson said.
Parson also said he would take quick action to fill open seats on the Missouri State Board of Education, which has not met for months because it lacks a quorum.
A longtime lawmaker before he was elected as lieutenant governor in 2016, Parson is expected to work to mend frayed relationships between the governor’s office and the House and Senate.
Before leaving office, Greitens signed numerous bills into law. They include legislation handling:
- Corporate taxes – Cuts the tax rate for businesses to 4 percent from 6.25 percent
- Utility rates – Reduces utility rates by 5 percent this year, freezes rates until 2020 and then caps rates after that for monopoly utilities
- Historic tax credits – Reduces funding for a program to incentivize restoration of old buildings
- Public-sector unions – Requires state employees to approve union fees being taken from their paychecks