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Jobs will be focus of Nixon's State of the State address

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 17, 2012 - Gov. Jay Nixon delivers his State of the State address tonight at 7 p.m. from the state Capitol in Jefferson City. The speech is expected to focus on jobs and the state's budget. The address can be viewed online via the state's web portal. Locally, St. Louis Public Radio will air the State of the State address at 7 p.m. and continue the broadcast through the Republican response.

Like his previous ones, Nixon's address is likely to highlight what he sees as major business-related successes. They are expected to include:

  • Missouri's unemployment rate, which generally has been lower than the national average;
  • The state'saddition of 10,900 manufacturing jobs in 2011, according to federal statistics;
  • Preservation of Ford's Claycomo automaking plant near Kansas City;
  • Phasing out of the state's corporate franchise tax, which will cost the state close to $20 million a year in income.

Nixon will also unveil his next fiscal-year budget and will likely note that additional trims will be required. State budget director Linda Luebbering has projected that the coming budget (FY2013) will need to absorb $500 million in cuts because of less federal aid. Some watchdog groups have predicted that the figure will be closer to $800 million.
State House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, and Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, have been tapped to deliver the GOP's response to Gov. Jay Nixon's State of the State address Tuesday. Their response, though, will be recorded before the governor's speech. 

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.