January 12, 2007
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Opening Session 07
My first official meeting for the 2007 session was a visit with the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry at a breakfast meeting the first day of session. Legislators and members of the Chamber were briefed on a recent poll that was taken across the state that referenced the current business climate in Kansas. The poll consisted of 74% input from businesses that had fewer than ten employees.
55% of the responders expressed a confidence that the economy was headed in the right direction.
31 % said taxes were their #1 concern.
9% said healthcare was their top concern.
5% stated they wanted the government to do more to support small business.
Most responders would be happy if government would stay out of the way and just let them do business.
When asked about specific issues:
Of those who said they may leave Kansas to do business elsewhere, 29% said the tax climate in other states was more inviting.
- 46% said they would like to see taxes lowered, especially property taxes.
- 47% said they would like to see health care addressed.
- 55% expressed support for reducing the cost of doing business in Kansas
- 60% said taxes are too high!
House Republican Agenda
The House caucus met and determined its priorities for this session. These include funding the current school finance plan without a tax increase, providing tax relief for Kansas businesses and property owners, provide affordable access and services to all Kansans, relieve the burden of increasing premiums for individuals and small businesses and put Kansans in charge of their health care dollars.
The goal for immigration is to ensure Kansans are not burdened by the cost of state services for illegal aliens, to crack down on businesses utilizing illegal aliens and to punish those who deal in false identification documentation. Another goal is to encourage our stateís entrepreneurial spirit by utilizing our natural resources, history and people as well as encouraging private sector job growth and the reduction of the stateís economic dependence on government jobs. The last objective is to equip Kansas law enforcement agencies and prosecutors with the necessary funds for better protection of Kansas citizens and to toughen penalties for those who prey on children and seniors.
State of the State
The governorís speech adopted many of the same agenda items the Republican caucus had set forth.
Some exceptions were:
- She did not address property taxes, which is important to so many.
- She openly supported socialized medicine, which we readily recognize would limit health care accessibility in the future and would raise taxes to pay. It goes without saying that government entitlements are not free!
- She set forth an aggressive agenda to accelerate renewable energy mandating 10% dependence by 2010 and 20% dependence by 2020. I speak with confidence in saying this will raise the cost of electricity all across the state. Our utility companies want to prosper and want to provide. We need to stay out of their way and allow them to pursue the most effective ways to progress.
Paid for by Mast Campaign; Sharon Bechtel, Treasurer
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