Following are the policy positions of the Kansas Economic Progress Council as we enter the 2015 legislative session:
Stability in revenue and services is a strong foundation of business growth.
It is evident that the 2012 and 2013 Kansas income tax changes went too far and resulted in severe cuts that impact the ability of government at the state and local levels to provide very basic services necessary to the functioning of the economy and society.
The Kansas Legislature and Governor should revisit the income tax cuts and restore what Kansas once had in the way of services and a fair, stable, and balanced tax structure. All options should be considered in dealing with this difficult budget crisis, but there should be no reductions to K-12 education, higher education, transportation, local units of government, or health care.
KEPC opposes measures such as a “taxpayer bill of rights” and other legislation that limits the ability to invest in services vital to a healthy economy and high quality of life.
KEPC supports local control by local elected officials. As such, we oppose proposals that cap or artificially restrain local spending and revenue growth.
We oppose any proposal to eliminate economic development tools unless equally significant tools are enacted to replace them. We support the efforts of Kansas economic development professionals to return the enterprise zone economic development benefits that were eliminated in 2011. They were a useful business attraction tool, particularly in rural and non-metropolitan areas of the state.
KEPC supports the 2010 Transportation Program and opposes diversion of revenues that fund the plan as well as previously enacted revenue streams that are part of the program. Investment in infrastructure has a strong positive impact on economic growth by improving efficiency of business operations, as well as through the jobs provided by construction.
Retreating on that investment is counter-productive.
KEPC supports Kansas investment in all levels of education, including higher education and training, which are necessary to maintaining and growing a quality workforce.
We believe Kansas must keep a high quality education system as an important component of our economic future and the new economy.
We support programs that advance adequate and affordable health care including KanCare expansion of eligibility and coverage for the uninsured and economically disadvantaged.
KEPC generally opposes cuts to government payments to health care that fund essential services to a growing population of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
Other policy positions
- KEPC opposes initiative and referendum, which, in other states, consistently promote anti-business ballot questions. This forces business to raise funds to oppose these measures, diverting revenue from business operations. Ballot questions also tend to require increased spending in some areas of the state budget while mandating decreased spending in others. This has resulted in structural budgetary turbulence in states like California.
- KEPC supports a business climate that seeks to retain and attract new businesses.
- KEPC is part of the business coalition that supports responsible immigration legislation that does not burden the business community.
- KEPC supports legislation to encourage further recognition and expansion of the renewable energy industries that have developed a foothold in Kansas and are a growing area of economic activity.
- KEPC opposes any constitutional amendment that changes the selection of Supreme Court judges.
- KEPC supports tax relief for C Corporations, such as flexibility in choosing a single factor to apply to income tax calculations.
What grows the economy?
The Kansas Economic Progress Council recognizes there are common components of economic growth which are broadly supported by respected empirical studies. State governments have the ability to affect five of these elements.
The investment rate in plant and equipment, including efficient physical and communications infrastructure, has a strong positive impact on growth. The higher an economy’s capital intensity (machines, buildings, roads, bridges, etc.) the more prosperous the economy.
Human capital and the efficiency of labor have also been shown to be significant to growth. Measures of human capital include the literacy rate, school enrollment ratios, and labor demographics.
Linked to investment and human capital, there is substantial support for the contribution of continuing technological innovation and improvement in sustaining economic growth. This suggests that support for research and development and education is important.
Public policy which supports economic freedom through open economies supports higher growth rates.
Reliable legal systems are a significant basis for economic growth. These systems provide dependable enforcement of private contracts, protection of private property rights, effective law enforcement, and an absence of corruption.
With these elements in mind, the 2015 Legislative policies of the Kansas Economic Progress Council center on a competitive business climate through education, capital investments, economic development, quality jobs, and government and business stability.