Virtual job fair being held today through Thursday

The KansasWorks statewide virtual job fair is being held today, July 28, through Thursday, July 30.

“We need to maintain a strong, healthy workforce in our state, and getting Kansans back to work safely is one of my top priorities,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “The KansasWorks virtual job fair has proven to be a creative and effective way to connect Kansans with jobs opportunities, and will be important as our economy recovers from the challenges of COVID-19.”

The virtual fair will allow job seekers to easily live chat with employers from across the state through computers and mobile devices. This is the third KansasWorks virtual job fair so far in 2020, with four more planned later this year.

The virtual job fair is online at

The Department of Commerce moved its statewide job fairs online this year to eliminate the public health risks associated with mass gatherings, while continuing to provide job opportunities for job seekers and maintain a ready workforce for Kansas businesses.

“Increasing employment opportunities and keeping our economy strong is a top priority of the Department of Commerce,” Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “The need for both businesses and job seekers in our state is significant, but health and safety concerns mean it’s still not safe to hold in-person job fairs. The Virtual Statewide Job Fair system is a perfect example of how our KansasWorks team is continuing to provide Kansans access to employers in a way that protects everyone involved.”

In this year’s second virtual fair in June, approximately 165 employers and 1,497 jobseekers participated. Employers represented included:

• KanEquip, Inc.
• Foley Equipment
• Fuller Industries
• Johns Manville
• National Beef
• PKM Steel Service Inc.
• Salina Regional Health Center
• Cornejo
• Russell Stover
• Reser’s Fine Foods
• Johnsonville
• Dillons
• Glassman Corporation
• CivicPlus
• Bombardier Aviation
• Creekstone Farms
• Southwest Medical Center
• Farmers Insurance
• Goodwill Industries of Kansas
• Emprise Bank
• Wichita Public Schools
• The University of Kansas

As concerns for the health and safety of Kansans remain high due to COVID-19, the Department of Commerce will maintain the virtual job fair system for the remainder of 2020. Future statewide events are scheduled for:

• Aug. 25-27
• Sept. 22-24
• Oct. 27-29
• Dec. 8-9
Updates will be provided with employer and jobseeker registration links for each individual virtual fair.

Lack of fans at Speedway races to have significant economic impact

by Mary Rupert

The lack of fans in the stands this week at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, is expected to have a significant impact on the local and state economy.

Fans were not allowed at the Kansas Speedway this week, including the NASCAR Cup Series race on Thursday night, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

A 2008 study estimated the Kansas Speedway produced a $243 million effect on the local economy, creating an estimated 5,000 jobs. A 2010 news release from the Unified Government estimated one race weekend had a $100 million economic impact on the Kansas City metro area.

Bridgette Jobe, Kansas director of tourism, said that not having fans attending races at the Speedway has an effect on the local and state economy. There are still some positives in the situation, however, she said.

“Hotels, restaurants, shopping venues in the Kansas City region all benefit from the thousands of fans who arrive in Kansas City, Kansas, for a race weekend,” Jobe said. “Communities from across the state will also be negatively impacted as travelers will not be stopping in their communities as they are driving to and from the races.

“The positive is that we still have the race teams in Kansas City, Kansas, staying in our hotels and enjoying the KCK amenities,” Jobe said.

Kansas Tourism completely supports NASCAR and Kansas Speedway in their efforts to keep Kansans and visitors safe, she added.

“And I know that the tourism industry will recover from this pandemic,” Jobe said. “We are seeing signs of travel returning, but it will look at little different in the near future.”

Travelers are staying closer to home and looking for wide-open space where they can physically distance, she said.

“I encourage all visitors to travel safely and responsibly and look forward to welcoming race fans to Kansas in the future,” Jobe said.

Greg Kindle, president of the Wyandotte Economic Development Council, said the Kansas Speedway is one of the primary importers of tourism into the Kansas City metro area every year, bringing in about $250 million every year, and having a large effect on hotels and restaurants.

Others affected in Wyandotte County include Sporting KC, which also has not been able to play games here with fans.

The racetrack brings in the lion’s share of folks from outside the region, Kindle said. It’s the one sports event in the metropolitan area that nets out far more people who don’t live here than do.

It would be almost impossible to replace the lost revenue from the Speedway not having fans, he added.

Besides tourism, retail sales are another area that has seen a decline. The Unified Government stated during the recent budget meetings that they were seeing a decline in retail sales tax revenues.

Kindle said it is fortunate that, although some sectors are seeing a decline, they are continuing to see an interest in ecommerce. Property taxes are still coming in, and some areas may continue to provide jobs for those who have been in the service economy.

“We have over 5,000 jobs available in Wyandotte County today, despite the pandemic,” Kindle said. “It’s fortunate that we are a diverse economy.”

While there has been a big hit to the economy, there also is a diverse mixture of commerce to help withstand the pandemic.

June tax revenues do better than estimates in Kansas

June tax collections were up by $135.6 million or 22.3 percent more than estimated, according to figures released Thursday by the Kansas governor’s office.

The state collected $744.4 million in total tax collections in June, according to the Kansas Department of Revenue figures. Compared to June 2019, last month’s collections were down by 4.8 percent.

For fiscal year 2020, total tax collections were up by $163.7 million or 2.4 percent more tan estimated, with collections of $7 billion, a 5.7 percent decrease from last year.

“Kansans have faced many challenges since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak – emotionally, physically, and financially,” Gov. Laura Kelly said in a news release. “While these numbers are encouraging, we must continue to make decisions that will keep our state on sound economic footing as we enter the next fiscal year.”

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic began to be seen in April as the state was entering its fourth quarter. In addition, tax extensions were announced in March which moves money from FY 2020 to the next fiscal year. Approximately 300,000 individual income tax returns are still to be filed and paid by the July 15, 2020, deadline.

Individual income taxes were 13.2 percent or $41.1 million more than projected with $353.1 million collected. Those numbers are down 9.0 percent compared to the same month last year. Corporate income tax collections in June were $54.7 million; $33.7 million or 160.4 percent more than projected. These collections are down 19.4 percent compared to June of last fiscal year.

Retail sales and compensating use tax collections were both more than projected for the month and more than June of last fiscal year, according to the revenue figures from the Kansas Department of Revenue.

Retail sales tax collections in June were $203.0 million; 21.5 percent or $36.0 million more than estimated. That’s an increase of 1.9 percent over last June.

Compensating use taxes were $43.4 million; $10.4 million or 31.6 percent more than projected and an increase of 6.5 percent over last June. For FY 2020, retail sales tax collections performed 2.3 percent higher than expected with $2.4 billion collected; an increase of 0.7 percent over last fiscal year.

Compensating use taxes for the fiscal year also performed 4.1 percent higher than expected with $479.1 million collected; a 10.9 percent increase from FY 2019.

The local sales tax distributions report for June in Wyandotte County showed a drop of 10.6 percent for June 2020 as compared to June 2019, from $2.036 million in 2019 to $1.818 million in 2020, according to KDOR figures. For fiscal year 2020, there was a 2.6 percent increase in sales tax revenues in Wyandotte County compared to fiscal year 2019.

The May rate, comparing May 2019 to May 2020, was minus 10.2 percent for Wyandotte County.

According to local officials, the sales tax distribution figures for the counties typically run a few months after they were collected.

The sales tax distribution figures are at