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In the fall each year, a legislative issue survey is sent to our members. Information from this survey is then passed along to the Government Relations Committee (GRC) where the Chamber's Legislative Agenda is developed. Once the GRC approves the Legislative Agenda, it proceeds to the Executive Committee and to the Chamber Board of Directors where it is finalized.

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

2013 Unified Legislative Agenda

For the past seven years, the Visioneering Unified Legislative Alliance has produced the Unified Legislative Agenda (ULA) which includes key community issues with benchmarks that affect job growth, education and per capita income.

• Keep the Kansas aviation industry competitive through continued state investments in the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University and through support of business-driven technical training at the National Center for Aviation Training at Jabara. (2013: ongoing support)

• Support for a Kansas Center for Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopaedic Research in south-central-Kansas through the Kansas Bioscience Authority. (2013: ongoing funding)

General Infrastructure
• State support to maintain and expand low cost commercial air service from Mid-Continent Airport. (2013: maintain funding)
• Support for funding for Equus Beds Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project and maintenance of ongoing funding by becoming a Kansas Water Authority line item. (2013: maintain funding)
• Support for Kansas Small Business Development Centers (KSBDC) and maintenance of ongoing funding. (2013: maintain funding)

Section Highlights:
  • Stay informed on issues in Topeka during the legislative session via the weekly Legislative Update.
  • Chamber promotes a business friendly environment for our members.
  • See the 2013 State Legislative Scorecard on the Government Relations Bill Tracking page.
Barby Jobe
VP - Government Relations
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