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This year the Chamber was instrumental in several efforts to address the cost of doing business and reduce the regulatory burden in Kansas.  We had significant wins in reducing the cost of unemployment insurance and making the state's unemployment insurance program more flexible for employers, expanding the state's tool box for economic development and allowing business to form groups to purchase health insurance. 

In a tough and tight budget envoronment we maintained funding for the National institute for Aviation Research at WSU, the National Center for Aviation Training and the Kansas Affordable Airfares Program.  In addition, we worked to begin the process of allowing the state to oversee work place safety (OSHA) instead of the federal government. We also helped pass legislation reforming the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals after hearing from our members that the court was broken and inefficient resulting in slow decisions and higher costs for Kansas employers.

Click here to see our 2014 Chamber WINS!

2014 Chamber Legislative Agenda

Create a Better Business Environment that Promotes Investment, Innovation and Job Creation

State Budget The Wichita Metro Chamber believes the State should practice fiscal discipline.
• Reduce or maintain state spending at FY14 (July 2013-June 2014) level
• Establish Rainy Day Fund by placing State General Fund ending balance into fund
• 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
• Support outsourcing state government functions to the private sector while maintaining needed services
• 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

TaxationThe 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 reduction/elimination of personal income tax
• Oppose increases in business taxes that would negatively impact Kansas’ competitive environment
• Oppose repeal of any existing sales tax exemptions on business inputs and services
• Support legislation overturning the Court of Tax Appeals rule and regulation requiring that only bar-admitted attorneys appear before COTA.

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 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
• Enact legislation that defines real property and personal property in order to maintain legislative intent behind the repeal of the MB&E tax
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.
• Prohibit State and Federal Agencies from misusing rule and regulation authority in place/lieu of policy decisions made by the legislature
• Support legislation that creates a state OSHA plan
• Support legislation that eliminates/reduces the requirements of Kansas Renewable Energy Portfolio

TransportationThe 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
• Support the current comprehensive state transportation program
• Dedicated transportation funding streams should only be used for the 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 Equus Beds Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project
• Encourage Legislature to pass a concurrent resolution calling on Congress to curb the EPA overreaching actions dealing with carbon and the Attorney General represent the best interests of Kansas

EducationThe 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 clarification of the “Innovative Districts Act” giving local school districts more flexibility with burdensome regulations
• Support growing the Kansas economy through applied research and public-private partnerships, like university/business incubator programs, at all higher education institutions
• Support an increased focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning initiatives
• Support career and technical education programs, including the Governor’s Career and Technical Education Initiative, to ensure an abundant and skilled workforce

Section Highlights:
  • Stay informed on issues in Topeka during the legislative session via the weekly electronic Legislative Update, The Advocate.
  • Chamber promotes a business friendly environment for our members.
  • See the 2014 State Legislative Scorecard on the Bill Tracking page.
Barby Jobe
VP - Government Relations
Aeroflex Wichita, Inc. Airbus North America Engineering, Inc. Ambassador Hotel Wichita Armstrong Chamberlin AT&T Berry Companies, Inc. BKD, LLPBuilding Trades Council of Central & Western Kansas Butler Community College Capital Enterprises, Inc. Carlos O'Kelly'sCNH Industries CHOOSE Networks, Inc. Clear Channel Media + EntertainmentConco ConstructionCornejo & Sons Coventry Health Care, An Aetna CompanyCox Machine, Inc. Davis-Moore Automotive, Inc. Delta Dental of Kansas, Inc. Dillon Food Stores Dondlinger & Sons Construction Company Inc.Eby Construction Co. Envision, Inc. Friends University GLMV Architecture, Inc. Go Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau House of SchwanHigh Touch Technologies Hyatt Regency Wichita IBEW L.U. 271 - Electrical Workers IMA, Inc. Johnson ControlsKAKE-TV Kansas Health Foundation Kennedy and Coe, LLC Key Construction, Inc. KSNW-Channel 3 Law Company Inc. LawKingdon Architecture LDF CompaniesLegacy BankLubrication Engineers, Inc. Martin Pringle Oliver Wallace & Bauer, L.L.P. Metro Courier, Inc. MKEC Engineering Consultants, Inc. Murfin Drilling Company Inc. Newman University Occidental Management, Inc. Pioneer Balloon Company Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 441 Poet Ethanol Products Range Oil Company, Inc. Ritchie Exploration, Inc. Rusty Eck Ford Security 1st Title LLC Slawson Real Estate Company Star Lumber & Supply Co. Inc.TCK - The Trust Company of Kansas TECT Aerospace UCI United Way of the Plains Value PlaceWichita Area Assn. of Realtors Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) Wichita Business Journal Wichita Community Foundation Wichita Downtown Development Corporation Wichita State UniversityWorkforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, Inc.Yingling Aviation