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2017 Chamber Legislative Agenda

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 2017 Legislative Agenda is available for your review below.

For more information about the process of developing the Legislative Agenda, contact Toni Porter, Director of Government Relations.

State Budget

The Wichita Regional Chamber believes the state should practice fiscal discipline.

  • Reduce or maintain state spending at FY17 (July 2016-June 2017) level 
  • Encourage the legislature to act on the Consensus Revenue Estimating Working Group’s report and recommendations
  • 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 determine process for 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 
  • Support outsourcing state government functions to the private sector while maintaining needed services 

Taxation

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 and Kansas privilege tax
  • Continued support of long-term state tax structure reform including further reduction/elimination of personal income tax including future tax cuts in existing statute 
  • 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

Economic Development

The Wichita Regional 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 (NIAR)
  • 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 and continued advancement of entrepreneurial programs

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 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

Regulatory Environment

The Wichita Regional 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  
  • Prohibit state and federal agencies from misusing rule and regulation authority in place/lieu of policy decisions made by the legislature
  • Support efforts by the Governor, Attorney General, and legislature to oppose or block any attempt by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose regulations that overreach and inflict undue expense on Kansas ratepayers and regulatory burdens on the state by favoring one fuel source over another source
  • Protect workers compensation and unemployment insurance reforms

Transportation

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 the current comprehensive state transportation program

Environmental Resources

The Wichita Regional Chamber believes environmental management must take a balanced and reasonable approach that protects the environment without placing unnecessary burdens on business.

Education and Workforce Development

The Wichita Regional Chamber believes a strong and integrated education system, from pre-school through higher education, is vital in workforce and talent development. 

  • Support continued funding for the National Center for Aviation Training as part of ongoing workforce development critical to the aviation manufacturing cluster
  • Support a funding formula for urban districts with high-density poverty that supports the needs of ESL, foster, poverty and special education/needs students
  • Oppose funding cuts to public education 
  • Encourage education reform initiatives 
  • 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 a skilled workforce and meet 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 State Aid Cost Model
  • Support an increased focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning initiatives
  • Support legislation enabling the proposed merger of Wichita State University and Wichita Area Technical College
  • Support the continuation of the University Engineering Initiative Act to increase the number of engineering graduates in Kansas
  • Support a student-focused system that provides support and resources for individual success, including supporting higher standards in academic skills, employability and citizenship skills
Improving the Business Environment
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

350 W Douglas Ave
Wichita, KS 67202
316.265.7771 | info@wichitachamber.org