by Murrel Bland
The Legislative Committee of the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce approved its 2018 State and Federal Legislative Agenda when it met Friday, Jan. 12.
One of the federal issues that drew the most comment in previous Legislative Committee meetings concerned immigration reform. The committee’s recommendation states that a federal resolution should “compassionately address situations of individuals currently in the country.” The chamber opposes threatening the business licenses of employers who have unintentionally hired illegal workers.
The chamber supports an increase in funding for the National Institute of Health that will be used to find the cause, cures and prevention of diseases that affect many Wyandotte County residents and millions of Americans.
The chamber opposes federal and state mandates that would result in excessive utility rate increases.
Concerning state legislation, the chamber supports the following:
1. A reauthorization of STAR bond legislation. This allows state and local sales tax to be used to help finance major tourism projects such as the development of Village West.
2. Legislation that would streamline the process for local governments and neighborhood organizations to deal with abandoned buildings. State Rep. Stan Frownfelter (D-37th Dist.) has been a longtime sponsor and advocate for this legislation. State Sen. David Haley (D-Fourth Dist.) has opposed such legislation; he has said it could violate the rights of property owners. Those supporting the legislation explain it is not aimed “at Grandpa and Grandma who might have trouble paying their taxes, but rather the irresponsible, out-of-town deadbeat landlords.”
3. An origin-based sales tax for intrastate purchases so that it does not place an onerous burden on business.
4. Continued funding of the state transportation program, while opposing using such funds to balance the state general fund.
The chamber opposes a funding formula that would place an undue burden on local property taxes and mandated functions that do not include appropriate financial resources.
The Board of Directors of the chamber will consider these recommendations when it meets later this month.
Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.