JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri's new Republican Gov. Eric Greitens during his first State of the State address on Tuesday outlined a policy plan he says will help grow jobs, including passing a right-to-work law barring mandatory union fees and paring back government regulations.
"The people have sent us a message: We must do everything in our power to put people back to work in good, high-paying jobs," Greitens said in prepared remarks for an address to a joint session of the House and Senate. "That's why we must join 27 other states and sign right to work."
In a prepared response, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh slammed the policy and said lawmakers should reject it.
"Right-to-work simply means forcing folks to work for less: less money, less health coverage and less opportunity for workers and their families," she said.
Greitens also called for restrictions to liability lawsuits, to "do away with expensive project labor agreements," and end "frivolous regulations."
Greitens' inauguration marked the first time in state history that Republicans hold supermajorities in the state House and Senate and control of the governor's mansion. Republican legislative leaders share many of Greitens' top policy priorities.
Greitens didn't outline his budget plan for next fiscal year Tuesday, as governors have done in the past. The House budget leader has said he expects a budget proposal from the governor in early February for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Greitens, after just a week in office, took action Monday to cut spending he said was necessary to balance the budget. He announced about $146 million in spending cuts and said "more hard choices lie ahead."
Cuts included nearly $68 million in core funding for public universities and community colleges. The cuts equaled about 7 percent of the amount budgeted for higher education institutions, nearly wiping out a full month's allotment from the state, according to legislative appropriations staff.