Recognizing that military spending has a big economic impact on Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon has formed a new partnership aimed at protecting military bases and federal defense dollars in the state.
To that end, he has appointed Clint Zweifel, the state's treasurer, to gather input. Zweifel, in recent interviews given to The Associated Press, cited a study that shows that the Army's Fort Leonard Wood, Whiteman Air Force Base and the Missouri National Guard have a combined economic impact of more than $3 billion a year in our state.
The goal — and we think it's a good one — is to make sure there is not only government support but also support from area business leaders.
We cannot imagine where Joplin and Duquesne would be today if it had not been for the Missouri National Guard's help after the May 2011 tornado. Members of the Guard literally moved mountains of debris.
But they also play a big role in our economy. That's why it is important for this state and others to keep an eye on cuts that could be made to defense spending.
Zweifel is touring bases and armories throughout the state and plans to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress and the military. He wants to showcase the effectiveness of the work the military does in Missouri and the number of jobs provided here. His mission, as set out by the governor, is to coordinate this effort through March 31.
By the way, there are more than 275,000 jobs statewide that are the direct or indirect result of defense spending.
In Southwest Missouri, the economic impact is $30 million a year, according to Zweifel's office.
A proactive effort now is necessary. Not just for the safety of the state, but for those who depend on defense spending for a paycheck.
That number is significant.
Copyright The Joplin Globe. Distributed by the Associated Press.