Missouri Governor Mike Parson stopped at A&B Cycle in Springfield Friday afternoon, talking about economic recovery in Missouri as the state reopens following COVID-19 lockdowns.
“We’ve gotta get people back to work,” Parson said. “We got some good news this week that 10,000 people went back to work. Unemployment claims went from 100,000 down to 20,000, which is still not a good number, but it’s better than what it was. So we’ve just got to keep pushing to get people back to work.”
The governor also talked about the COVID-19 outbreak’s impact on the state budget and revenue.
“We’ve never seen this happen to business before,” Parson said. “Consider January and February, business [revenue] was up 5.9 [percent]. Business was going, we had businesses expanding, we had businesses moving in from out of state and the country. Then all of a sudden we have something where we’ve never seen anything like this.”
Parson said that the immediate stop of the economy just creates a hard reality.
“You’ve only got so much money in the state government and we’ve got to balance the budget,” Parson said. “We’ll make some withholds on that, and probably announce something Monday. We’ve got a long way to go. We’re not in good shape right now…we’ve got to go back to work, we’ve got to get businesses open.”
The governor also responded to a reporter’s question about the George Floyd situation that’s led to protests around the state including Springfield.
“Law enforcement officers, and I spent 22 years wearing the badge, you’re going to be held to a higher standard,” Parson said. “That’s just the way it is. The main thing you do is try to help people and that was a poor example of trying to help an everyday citizen from what I know about it and what I’ve seen. You have to be accountable for that and I believe the officer will be held accountable for it.”
Asked how he would have responded if governor of Minnesota and if he would have held the entire police department accountable, Parson said you can’t put it on the whole department.
“A majority of law enforcement officers go out there and do their jobs every day and have no problems,” Parson said. “Sometimes people take advantage of the system and they need to be held accountable for that. Everybody….who wears that badge should be held to a higher standard and you should be held accountable when you lose the trust of the people of the state. If you commit a criminal act, you need to be accountable for that, and I’m all for that. But I wouldn’t blame the whole police department.”