Each year, all Kansas legislators receive a palm card familiarizing them with the Wichita Regional Chamber’s Legislative Agenda. The agenda is developed by the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee each fall after input from Chamber members. It is then approved by the Chamber’s Board of Directors.
The Chamber’s primary government relations goal is to create a better business environment for your company or organization by promoting investment, innovation and job creation. Our 2019 Legislative Agenda is available for your review below.
For more information about the process of developing the Legislative Agenda, contact Andrew Wiens.
The Wichita Regional Chamber believes the state should practice fiscal discipline.
- Reduce or maintain state spending at FY19 (July 2018-June 2019) level
- Seek out efficiencies and implement priority or performance-based budgeting throughout all levels of state government
- Encourage legislature to follow state law and fund 7.5% ending balance
- Establish Rainy Day Fund by placing State General Fund ending balance into fund
- Develop Commission of legislators and business to pursue closure, realignment or privatization of government functions and agencies
- Move the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System from a defined benefit system to a defined contribution system
- Support expansion of Medicaid (KanCare) that is revenue neutral and encourages personal responsibility
- Funding decisions should be at the sole discretion of the legislature and not the court system
- Encourage the legislature and administration to consider additional investments designed to address the treatment of mental health in South Central Kansas
- Support additional and innovative solutions to combat, treat and prevent addiction to opioids and other drugs
The Wichita Regional 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 tax and Kansas privilege tax
- Continued support of long-term state tax structure reform including reduction/elimination of personal income tax
- Oppose increases in business taxes and fees that would negatively impact Kansas’ competitive environment
- Oppose repeal of any existing sales tax exemptions on business inputs and services
The Wichita Regional Chamber believes the state should invest in economic development and develop programs that result in jobs and investment.
- Support efforts by local and state leaders on initiatives to attract more skilled manufacturing workers to meet the growing demands of the aviation industry and advanced manufacturing
- Support continued funding for the National Institute for Aviation Research and National Center for Aviation Research
- Create competitive economic development incentives and make 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
- Support advancement of entrepreneurial programs
- Support income tax credits for workers enrolling in qualified training for aerospace jobs
The Wichita Regional Chamber believes environmental management must take a balanced and reasonable approach that protects the environment without placing unnecessary burdens on business.
- Support the “50 Year Vision for the Future of Water in Kansas” including the protection and future use of the Equus Beds and surface water
Investment-friendly Business Environment
The Wichita Regional Chamber believes a low-cost business environment is critical in order to be a competitive and attractive business destination.
- Support legislation to allow transparency through 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
- 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
The Wichita Regional 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
- Protect workers compensation and unemployment insurance reforms
- Support EPA administrator’s proposal to repeal Clean Power Plan
The Wichita Regional Chamber believes a strong transportation infrastructure is critical in developing and expanding commerce.
- Ensure dedicated transportation funding streams only be used for the transportation program
- Support a comprehensive state transportation program that addresses critical needs in South Central Kansas, including the North Junction
- Ensure that South Central Kansas receives equitable distribution of transportation funding
Education and Workforce Development
The Wichita Regional Chamber believes a strong and integrated education system, from grade school through higher education, is vital in workforce and talent development.
- Develop a statewide program which allows technical and career colleges to sell bonds that finance training programs for new high paying jobs
- Continue to support the current funding formula for school districts with high-density poverty that supports the needs of ESOL, foster kids, poverty and special education/needs students
- Support equalization aid necessary to address the property tax challenges faced by rural, urban and suburban districts
- Oppose funding cuts to secondary and post-secondary public education
- Promote systems of diverse and inclusive educational options that can be tailored to meet the needs of individual students. Educators should be empowered to continuously improve and innovate
- Support a continual improvement model of educational innovation such as those in the “Kansans Can” vision, including a student-focused system that provides support and resources for individual success, including supporting higher standards in academic skills, employability and citizenship skills
- Encourage the Legislature to allow local school districts to have more flexibility in how education general fund dollars are spent within their school districts
- Support growing the Kansas and local economy through applied research and private-public partnerships, like university/business innovation programs and the aviation pathway for high school students
- Support expanded funding for career and technical education programs, specifically including the ”Excel in CTE Initiative” (formerly Senate Bill 155), to ensure a skilled workforce that meets the needs of advanced manufacturing and other industry sectors critical to the South Central Kansas economy
- Encourage full funding and oppose any budget provisos that interfere with the Postsecondary Tiered Technical and General Education State Aid Cost Model, including the distribution of new funding
- Support an increased focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning initiatives
- Support the continuation of the University Engineering Initiative Act to increase the number of engineering graduates in Kansas, with a particular target of increasing female and diverse graduates
Improving the Business Environment
"The most valuable aspect of our membership is having someone working tirelessly to represent business interests to elected officials at the city, county, school board and state. The business community is much more productive when it bands together and works to improve our business environment.” -- Harvey Sorensen, Foulston Siefkin LLP