Kansas Chamber’s sweeping legislative agenda facilities on tax cuts, one-time investments

TOPEKA — The Kansas Chamber needs the Legislature to deploy an enormous chunk of the state’s finances surplus towards shrinking tax charges and making one-time financial investments whereas restraining authorities regulation, electrical energy prices and courtroom involvement in Ok-12 funding choices.

The enterprise lobbying group objects to elevating employees’ compensation advantages, spending tax {dollars} for lawsuits in pursuit of extra public support, increasing Medicaid eligibility and trimming tax incentives for rising corporations. The Kansas Chamber is pushing for workforce growth via apprenticeship packages and upgrades in Ok-12 instruction in compute science.

The 2022 legislative agenda is a complete plan entering into 9 coverage arenas related to strengthening the Kansas economic system by eroding boundaries to enterprise enlargement and employment development, stated Alan Cobb, president and chief government officer of the Kansas Chamber. The annual agenda was launched final week along with begin of the 2022 legislative session, which resumes Tuesday after Martin Luther King Jr. observances Monday.

“As extra job creators recuperate from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, so will their staff, their communities and our nice state,” Cobb stated. “Nevertheless, Kansas can’t proceed its progress to enhance its enterprise local weather with no imaginative and prescient that’s led by innovation and the aggressive nature of the free market and personal sector.”

The Kansas Chamber has members scattered throughout the state in all forms of industries. Half of the group’s members have 100 or fewer staff. There’s a sense Kansas is battling the standard and amount of workforce in addition to provide chain points together with inflationary pressures, Cobb stated.

Cobb and Eric Stafford, the Kansas Chamber’s major lobbyist on the Capitol, stated on the Kansas Reflector podcast {that a} portion of the state’s $2.9 billion surplus pushed by federal spending and companies clawing via the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be directed at reducing the burden of gross sales, revenue and property taxes in Kansas.

“All the above needs to be on the desk for consideration,” he stated. “Use these {dollars} effectively and responsibly. However let’s have a look at some some tax income changes.”

Gov. Laura Kelly, who’s in search of re-election in 2022, is urging the Kansas Legislature to get rid of the 6.5% state gross sales tax on grocery purchases, whereas additionally proposing a $450 million one-time tax rebate to be shared by about 1.2 million Kansans who filed tax returns in 2021. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

It’s an election 12 months with all 125 seats within the Kansas Home up for grabs together with the six state workplaces. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly proposed elimination of the 6.5% state gross sales tax on groceries and a money rebate that might collective eat $1 billion of the money surplus. The Kansas Chamber would favor a common gross sales tax fee minimize. Different political figures within the statehouse have contributed to the avalanche of suggestions for tax changes.

The Legislature is prone to take into account a invoice that might take Kansas from three revenue tax brackets to a single fee. It’s attainable to hyperlink step-by-step reductions to development in state tax receipts.

“For those who have a look at our charges, in comparison with significantly our area, company revenue tax fee is excessive,” Cobb stated. “The non-public revenue tax charges are excessive.”

Almost a decade in the past, then-Gov. Sam Brownback signed into regulation an aggressive discount within the state’s revenue tax. His imaginative and prescient was to ultimately get rid of revenue tax collections in Kansas by shifting the burden to gross sales and property taxes. Large state income losses weren’t offset by equal reductions in state spending or development in tax income via enterprise enlargement, and the end result was years of financial misery.

In any other case, the Kansas Chamber stated, federal financial support needs to be funneled into one-time investments, maybe the state pension system, to keep away from adoption of packages requiring ongoing state appropriations.

The Kansas Chamber endorsed retention or enlargement of a sequence of tax-related incentives for enterprise and really useful enlargement of small enterprise growth loans for start-ups via personal banks relatively than the state.

Cobb stated the state would reap financial rewards by bettering technical expertise of its workforce via funding in a brand new tax credit score for employers who participated in a registered apprenticeship program. Kansas lags behind Oklahoma and Nebraska in help for this sort of on-the-job workforce growth, he stated.

The Kansas Chamber additionally would recognize help via Ok-12 colleges of work-based studying alternatives and enhancement of pc science programs. The group additionally believes the state’s training system ought to dial again trainer certification restrictions, promote faculty alternative and advance a constitutional modification declaring the Legislature the “unique authority” — not the courts — in assessing fairness and suitability of faculty funding.

When it comes to authorized reform, the Kansas Chamber urged lawmakers to require disclosure of third-party financing of lawsuits.

“There are hedge funds that function to finance litigation in our nation, and so they earn money off litigation,” Stafford stated. “And all we’re asking is that it’d be disclosed to the protection that there’s a third social gathering to the case that has a monetary curiosity within the case.”

The Kansas Chamber additionally helps larger entry to telemedicine to broaden well being care providers and decrease prices of people and employers. As well as, the Kansas Chamber stated it was time the state eradicated authorities restrictions on medical professionals’ capability to carry out duties inside their scope of follow.

“Rising well being care entry by offering elevated flexibility for frontline suppliers and therapy is among the many Kansas enterprise group’s high priorities, particularly because the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an effect on operations and workforce,” Cobb stated.

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