After years of only getting most of what it wanted, the organization is now poised to get everything it wants, thanks to favorable election outcomes — helped by more than $1 million in Kansas Chamber campaign contributions — and a new leader in former House Speaker Mike O’Neal, who intimately understands how to exploit the legislative process.
Primarily, the Kansas Chamber is interested in lowering taxes and reducing regulation in Kansas. Yet Kansas isn’t known for its overzealous regulation, stringent employment laws or vast government oversight, and there hasn’t been a serious push for increased regulation in recent legislative sessions. Moreover, last year Gov. Sam Brownback signed legislation eliminating state income tax on businesses, scoring a success for conservatives and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
Nevertheless, the Kansas Chamber, along with the cozy-with-the-governor group Americans for Prosperity, proclaimed that this year they will be “proactive” and get their agenda passed — thanks to the defeat of those Senate “roadblocks.”
Kansans should be concerned about a group that has gotten nearly everything it ever wanted yet still cries that it has been marginalized and unfairly ignored.
In last year’s legislative session, and the election in the interim, no single group was more powerful, persuasive or influential than the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. It pushed through the legislation it wanted with amazing efficiency. To ensure its continued success, it hand selected and financed candidates in an effort to eradicate legislators who dared defy its agenda.
These aren’t the actions of a victim organization; they’re the words and actions of an organization that will not stop until it has successfully reshaped Kansas to conform to its singular world-view.
— The Hutchinson News