Text of Republican response by House Speaker Tim Jones to Gov. Jay Nixon's State of the State address as prepared for delivery Tuesday evening:
Good evening. I am Tim Jones, Speaker of your Missouri House of Representatives. I am honored to speak with you tonight regarding a bold vision for the future of our state.
Moments ago, you heard our governor share his proposals for the direction our state should take. While his speech was rousing in rhetoric, it was short on substantive solutions.
We have heard similar speeches over the past six years, but despite the governor's promises we have yet to see him deliver real-world results that will move our state in a better direction. Our governor mistakenly believes that more, bigger government is the answer, that his administration can decide how to better use your tax dollars, and that investments should be made in government programs rather than in the industrious people of this state.
What our governor should understand is that we already have too many tax-and-overspend, out-of-touch, career politicians in our nation's capital. We don't need one here standing in the way of hard-working Missouri families and businesses who want nothing more than the opportunity to grow and succeed.
This is the message I have heard from Missourians as I have traveled throughout our vast abundant state and listened directly to them. The people of Missouri believe that more government is not the answer, it is the problem.
In Joplin, I met with the owner and employees of Employer Advantage to discuss their highly-successful business that is helping more than 500 business owners. I was excited to see a Missouri company experiencing such success, but equally amazed that their business exists because of a federal government that has buried employers under reams of red tape. You see, Employer Advantage helps other businesses navigate through the endless maze of government bureaucracy. It is proof yet again that government is too big and too burdensome, that it is in fact a roadblock to the kind of growth and opportunity we want in Missouri.
In Clarence, I visited the Chinn Family Farm where I saw firsthand what this farm family accomplishes every day for Missouri agriculture. During my visit, the Chinn's shared with me their frustration with the burdensome regulations that take up far too much of their time. When we think of farming we envision working the soil, tractors in the field, and rows of crops, but what we don't see are the workers in the office filling out endless government forms. Again, rather than creating a level playing field, government creates mountains of paperwork as a barrier to progress.
In Kansas City I met with business leaders who described how we are losing the battle for businesses and jobs to our neighbor to the west. Repeating the theme that I heard over and over during my travels, they told me how government has not given them the low-tax, low regulation business environment necessary to keep and attract the kinds of family-supporting jobs Missourians need. As a result they have watched business after business cross state line road to relocate to a state that emphasizes a more pro-jobs, pro-growth approach.
Across Missouri, the message is the same - people want a smaller, more accountable government, a lower tax burden, and a less regulatory burdens. These are individuals and business owners that want government to reduce and eliminate barriers to growth, who want the freedom to work without coercion and who desire a level playing field in our courthouses.
Sadly, as you heard tonight, our governor is not listening to the people who elected him. Instead he wants to take a page right out of the Washington, D.C. playbook. He wants more of your hard-earned tax dollars so that he can increase spending and grow the size of government. He wants to pick winners and losers through budget games and centralized planning and not help the truly needy. We want to import jobs and opportunity for all into our state while our governor wants to import D.C.-style taxation, D.C-based budgeting, and D.C.-inspired overspending. We will not allow this to happen on our watch.
The people of Missouri elected record majorities of Republicans to lead, and that is what we will do. Working together with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we will advance policies designed to provide growth and opportunity for all Missourians; that will guarantee access to a great education for our children; that will help our state generate affordable and abundant energy; and that will allow us to guard and protect the values and beliefs our citizens hold sacred.
We will work hard to pass the first significant tax reform our state has seen in nearly 100 years. A lower tax burden will provide our citizens and businesses with the economic freedom to grow. You, the people of Missouri, know better how to spend your hard-earned dollars than the government. It is a policy that has produced explosive growth in states across the country; placing more money back in the hands of taxpayers and creating growth and opportunity for all. This pro-growth policy is even being pursued by democrat controlled states, one of which is offering ten-years, tax free, to businesses that relocate there! It is time for our governor to understand what Missourians know: reducing tax burdens creates growth and prosperity for all.
Many states surrounding us have also successfully reigned in the rising costs of health care by instituting much-needed medical malpractice reform. This year we have the opportunity to follow their lead by ending our punitive litigation culture, and to place the focus of health care back on research, innovation and access to quality care rather than on legal defense funds. It is time we have a system that welcomes patients and great doctors instead of driving them away.