The Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce was among the group of Kansas chambers honored Sunday by the MainStream Coalition at its annual awards dinner Sunday for “standing up and speaking out” about the threats to a stable business environment caused by Kansas’s recent budget woes.
In April, the presidents of 15 chambers across the state signed a letter to state elected leaders including Gov. Sam Brownback, Senate President Susan Wagle and House Speaker Ray Merrick arguing that the budget crisis caused by steep income cuts needed to be addressed to ensure the success of Kansas small businesses.
“Kansas businesses continue to be concerned about the State’s widening budget deficits and deeper and deeper cuts to important programs that matter to honest hard-working Kansans,” the group wrote. “We want to live, work and prosper in a State with excellent schools, good highways and quality of life. These things matter to us not just because we want to enjoy them ourselves but because we want others to be drawn to Kansas as a great place to live and do business.”
The chamber presidents further implored the leaders to respect local government control, properly fund highway projects, protect workforce development programs, fund schools at constitutional levels and provide an environment that supports excellence at all levels of education.
“Our members can tell you the single most important step the State could take to help them succeed is to provide a stable, sustainable economic environment,” wrote the signatories. “Our businesses and those considering Kansas as a future home are much more interested in the predictability of our government than in the particular rates at which they will be taxed – so long as those rates are reasonable and fair.”
Dr. Cynthia Lane, Superintendent, Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, was this year’s Robert H. Meneilly Honoree. The recognition has been given annually since 2001 to individuals who “have the courage to stand up for justice and equality, even when unpopular, and understand the importance of the political process in securing these rights.”