Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce 2017 Legislative Priorities

Economic Development Incentives

Kansas must have available a competitive business incentive package that is relevant, flexible and simple to utilize. It is important that the economic development tool box remain vibrant to assist in the expansion and recruitment of capital investment and quality jobs. The Topeka Chamber opposes the further diminution of funding to its economic development incentives, such as:

  • High Performance Incentive Program (HPIP)
  • Providing Employment Across Kansas program (PEAK)
  • Job Creation Fund
  • Training Funds – Kansas Industrial Training (KIT) & Kansas Industrial Retraining (KIR)
  • Property tax exemption for business & industrial machinery & equipment
  • Authorization for local property tax abatements

Highways

A well-maintained transportation infrastructure is critical to sustaining and growing the Kansas economy and providing the means for workers to meet the employment needs of Kansas businesses. The Topeka Chamber continues to oppose diversion of funding from the T-Works Transportation Plan and urges the legislature to dedicate a portion of the motor fuel tax exclusively to highway construction and maintenance.

Education

Shawnee County will not be able to grow its economy without an abundant educated workforce. Furthermore, quality public schools are key to attracting the kinds of employers we want in the future. The Topeka Chamber supports policies and programs that provide appropriate funding, resources and leadership for early childhood, K-12, career and technical and higher education to prepare all students for the careers of the future.

Business Taxes

The Topeka Chamber believes government should strive to be as efficient and cost-effective as its own business members are. As government becomes more efficient, the burden of paying for it should steadily decline and the citizens of Kansas, including her businesses, should see their taxes decline as well. When additional revenue is required to meet clearly demonstrated needs of an efficient, responsible government, the state is urged to utilize nonproperty tax sources uniformly applicable to all taxpayers. Any changes to the State’s tax code must not:

  • Eliminate sales tax exemptions on professional services, business component parts or other significant business sales tax exemptions or
  • Reduce the amount of tax abatements, incentives or tax credits granted by state/local governments when businesses have fulfilled their “agreed to” investment and job creation in Kansas.
  • Increase the property tax burden on Kansas businesses.

Dynamic Core

As the capital of Kansas, Topeka should showcase a vibrant downtown with commercial activity, government offices, attractive housing, entertainment and other amenities. The Topeka Chamber appreciates the commitment to downtown already shown by local businesses and city and state leaders and supports a continued coordination of efforts to maintain and grow the dynamic core of our city, including finding ways to make the treasure which is the Kansas Statehouse more open and accessible to visitors to Topeka. In this vein, the Topeka Chamber also supports legislation allowing municipalities to designate certain areas in which adults are free to partake of alcoholic beverages so long as their consumption is subject to reasonable controls and is otherwise in compliance with the State’s liquor laws.

Abandoned Housing

The Topeka Chamber is generally highly protective of personal property rights. Cities, though, need to be armed with adequate legal mechanisms which enable them, when necessary, to return blighted areas within their communities to healthy, active neighborhoods and commercial areas.

Health Care

The Chamber supports strategies and solutions that would help control health care costs, improve outcomes, expand access, support wellness initiatives and create a culture of health in the workplace. The Chamber supports a commonsense response to federal healthcare laws to ensure the ongoing viability of health care providers who serve the uninsured and underinsured.

Contact Curtis Sneden, executive vice president, for questions.