Greitens touts job training, larger innovation fund as economic strategy comes into focus

After eight months in office, much of it consumed with a busy legislative session, the economic development priorities of Missouri’s new self-styled outsider governor, Eric Greitens, are coming into focus.

Some of the new administration’s policy preferences aren’t surprises from a Republican administration, such as longer-term efforts to reduce income tax rates. Another, reforming Missouri’s huge tax credit programs, is a mainstay of Missouri politics that has been attempted by both Democrats and Republicans in the governor’s mansion and Legislature.

But two other efforts appear to have risen to the top of Greitens’ economic development agenda. He brought them into focus at the annual Governor’s Conference on Economic Development.

On Thursday, Greitens announced the launching of a new program, “Skilled Workforce Missouri,” to make it easier for businesses to use Missouri’s workforce training programs. Finding workers with the necessary skills is almost always among the top concerns of business leaders, Greitens said.

On Wednesday, a task force Greitens formed in June released its report on how best to help entrepreneurs. Among dozens of policy proposals in the “Innovation Task Force” report, Greitens’ drew attention to one in particular: the creation of a “Missouri innovation fund,” described as “the evolution of the Missouri Technology Corp.”

Greitens’ administration is pushing a plan to sell bonds to refill the MTC fund. Using similar appropriations to make bond payments, Missouri Chief Operating Officer Drew Erdmann said bonding authority could provide over $100 million for the innovation fund.

In addition, Greitens’ administration wants to solicit private firms to manage the fund. Private investors, too, would be invited to pool their capital in the fund.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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