The Chamber board of directors recently adopted the 2015 Chamber Legislative Agenda based on issues identified by Chamber members and staff that could impact business in the upcoming year. The agenda is designed to support the Chamber’s strategic priority of creating a better business environment that promotes investment, innovation, and job creation. The Chamber will be advocating for these business principles in Topeka during the 2015 session.
State Budget – The Wichita Metro Chamber believes the State should practice fiscal discipline.
- Reduce or maintain state spending at FY15 (July 2014-June 2015) level
- Seek out efficiencies and implement priority- or performance-based budgeting throughout all levels of state government
- Establish a “BRAC-like” process for closure or realignment of government functions and agencies
- Move the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System from a defined benefit system to a defined contribution system
- Funding decisions should be at the sole discretion of the legislature and not the court system
- Establish Rainy Day Fund by placing State General Fund ending balance into fund
- Support outsourcing state government functions to the private sector while main- taining needed services
Taxation – The Wichita Metro Chamber believes in a fair and equitable system of taxation that promotes private sector growth and makes Kansas more competitive.
- Support continued business tax reform including reduction of the Kansas corporate income and Kansas privilege tax
- Continued support of long-term state tax structure reform including further reduc- tion/elimination of personal income tax including future tax cuts in existing statute
- Oppose increases in business taxes/fees that would negatively impact Kansas’ competitive environment
- Oppose repeal of any existing sales tax exemptions on business inputs and services
Economic Development – The Wichita Metro Chamber believes the State should invest in economic development and develop programs that result in jobs and investment.
- Support continued funding for the National Institute for Aviation Research
- Create competitive economic development incentives and making Kansas a leader in innovative research, manufacturing, and technology
- Retain and enhance tax incentives to include more flexible investment and job development tax credits with options for cash incentives
Investment-friendly Business Environment – The Wichita Metro Chamber believes a low-cost business environment is critical in order to be a competitive and attractive business destination.
- Support legislation to allow admission of evidence that shows plaintiff’s losses have been compensated from other sources such as insurance or workers compensation, known as “collateral source”
- Support legislation allowing parties to collect attorney fees as a prevailing party
- Support policies which maintain the integrity of the Employment Security Trust Fund, and accurately reflect the employer experience rating when determining contribution rates
- Encourage federal resolution to immigration reform and oppose state legislation increasing penalties or threatening the business licenses of employers
- Maintain fair labor practices by opposing unfair advantages for union organizations
Regulatory Environment – The Wichita Metro Chamber believes there must be certainty in the regulatory environment in order for business to grow and relocate in Kansas.
- Support legislation that creates a state OSHA plan
- Support legislation that eliminates/reduces the requirements of Kansas Renewable Energy Portfolio
- Support reforms in the unemployment insurance program that create a more pre- dictable employer assessment
- Prohibit State and Federal Agencies from misusing rule and regulation authority in place/lieu of policy decisions made by the legislature
Transportation – The Wichita Metro Chamber believes a strong transportation infrastructure is critical in developing and expanding commerce.
- Urge continued state financial participation in efforts to continue low-cost air service from Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport
- Ensure dedicated transportation funding streams only be used for the transportation program
- Support the current comprehensive state transportation program
Environmental Resources – The Wichita Metro Chamber believes environmental management must take a balanced and reasonable approach that protects the environment without putting unnecessary burdens on business.
- Support on-going funding for existing Equus Beds Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project
Education and Workforce Development – The Wichita Metro Chamber believes a strong education system is vital in workforce and talent development.
- Support continued funding for the National Center for Aviation Training as part of on-going workforce development critical to the aviation manufacturing cluster
- Support a funding formula for K-12 schools that protects the high urban poverty weighting and the current at-risk formula
- Encourage the Legislature to allow local school districts to have more flexibility in how state dollars are spent within their school district
- Support growing the Kansas economy through applied research and private-public partnerships, like university/business innovation programs, at all higher education institutions
- Support career and technical education programs, including the Governor’s Career and Technical Education Initiative, to ensure an abundant and skilled workforce
- Oppose any language or budget proviso that interferes with the Postsecondary Tiered Technical State Aid Cost Model
- Support an increased focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning initiatives
Please contact the government relations team if you have any questions or comments.