Tag Archives: Kansas Chamber of Commerce

Kansas news media should report, not spin

kansas-policy-institute-logoA Hutchinson News editorial contained an uninformed opinion of which special interest groups are working for the best interests of Kansans. Following, Dave Trabert of Kansas Policy Institute explains that influence may be shifting from media, unions, the education establishment, cities, counties, and school boards to those with different views — those of limited government and economic freedom that empower citizens, not an expansive government and its beneficiaries. The editorial referred to is Goodbye Democracy, Hello Wealthocracy.

Media spin a threat

By Dave Trabert

Kansans are bombarded with claims that range from innocently incomplete to quite deliberately false. Increasingly, the media perpetrates this bad information. That behavior limits civil discourse and is a serious threat to personal freedom and our democratic republic.

Media should use its powerful voice to provide unbiased information. Instead, we see a growing trend in Kansas media to distort the truth, ignore facts and attack those who disagree with their view of the world. A recent Hutchinson News editorial is an example of this petulant behavior.

The basic premise of “Goodbye Democracy, Hello Wealthocracy” is that elected officials are chosen and kept in line by special interest groups. The author allows that moneyed interests work both sides of the aisle in Washington and in other states but incredibly asserts that this is not the case in Kansas. He says, “Here, the GOP rules, and the split is between those who labor for their constituents and those who pledge allegiance to their sponsors.”

Even casual political observers know that to be laughably false. Republicans have a paper majority, but even cub reporters know it is meaningless. KPI’s Economic Freedom Index has consistently found Republicans at the top and bottom of rankings based on their votes for economic and educational freedom.

The dividing line is not party affiliations or labels like liberal, moderate or conservative. Rather, it’s a philosophical belief in the role of government and collectivism versus the personal liberty of individuals.

There is no such thing as a “wealthocracy,” but special interest groups do influence politics. Claiming this to be the exclusive province of Kansans with a limited government perspective, however, is a conscious lie.

The behaviors attributed to the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity (recruiting and financially supporting friendly candidates for public office and encouraging elected officials to see things their way) are equally attributable to public employee unions, school board associations and others with big-government views. “Laboring for constituents” is a Hutchinson News euphemism for upholding the self-serving ideals of KNEA, KASB, state employee unions and other institutional interests.

There is nothing wrong, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, about special interests attempting to influence government. The difference — and perhaps the real objection of The Hutchinson News — is that their “side” is losing its long-standing monopoly over information and, with it, heavy influence over government and citizens.

The Kansas Policy Institute is perhaps the leading provider in Kansas of factual information on school funding and student achievement. Our information often differs from that published by media, unions and the education establishment, but they are facts nonetheless.

The editorial said, “… few lobbyists dominate like the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity and the Kansas Policy Institute.” We’re flattered to be considered a dominant force, but the editorial conveniently didn’t mention other dominant players, including cities, counties, school boards and unions. The objection is not to our dominance; it’s that we don’t share the big-government/collectivist perspective of The Hutchinson News.

We call that hypocrisy.

Voice for Liberty Radio: Mike O’Neal, Kansas Chamber of Commerce

Voice for Liberty logo with microphone 150

In this episode of WichitaLiberty Podcasts: Mike O’Neal, who is president and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, spoke yesterday to the Wichita Pachyderm Club. A large part of his talk was on the topic of Kansas school finance and other education topics. This podcast contains that portion of his speech.

O’Neal graduated from Kansas University and also its law school. He served in the Kansas House of Representatives for 28 years, with his final four years as Speaker of the House. He joined the Kansas Chamber as President and CEO in 2012 as he retired from the legislature.

This is podcast episode number 4, released on January 18, 2014.

Shownotes

Kansas Chamber of Commerce
Mike O’Neal at Wikipedia
Mike O’Neal at LinkedIn
Mike O’Neal biography at Kansas Chamber
The Gannon opinion
Kansas school topics from Voice for Liberty
Kansas State Department of Education
Kansas Policy Institute

Capitalism and business: The same thing?

Is “capitalism” and “business” the same thing? Most people would probably answer yes, but that’s a mistake.

In a video from LearnLiberty.org, a project of Institute for Humane Studies, Professor Steve Horwitz explains the difference: “He refutes the often recited claim that ‘What is good for General Motors is good for America’ by explaining that pro-business legislation encourages behavior that is not beneficial to society or the business itself. He suggests that, in a free market, factors such as profit and competition encourage behavior that ultimately benefits society. Professor Horwitz illustrates that pro-business legislation restricts progress and therefore caters to the interests of industry rather than to consumers, whereas ‘supporters of free markets are ultimately pro-human and pro-people because it is through markets that we get the most innovation and we get the most goods and the cheapest prices.'”

Still, you may be asking: Isn’t business and free-market capitalism the same thing? Here’s what Milton Friedman had to say: “There’s a widespread belief and common conception that somehow or other business and economics are the same, that those people who are in favor of a free market are also in favor of everything that big business does. And those of us who have defended a free market have, over a long period of time, become accustomed to being called apologists for big business. But nothing could be farther from the truth. There’s a real distinction between being in favor of free markets and being in favor of whatever business does.” (emphasis added.)

Friedman also knew very well of the discipline of free markets and how business will try to avoid it: “The great virtue of free enterprise is that it forces existing businesses to meet the test of the market continuously, to produce products that meet consumer demands at lowest cost, or else be driven from the market. It is a profit-and-loss system. Naturally, existing businesses generally prefer to keep out competitors in other ways. That is why the business community, despite its rhetoric, has so often been a major enemy of truly free enterprise.”

We see this confusion daily in Wichita and Kansas. Many members of the Wichita City Council — Democrats and Republicans — hold pro-business views. But the cronyism — the continual creation of subsidies, preferential treatment, no-bid contracts, and general intervention into the economy — destroys capitalism.

What about the local chamber of commerce? Isn’t it a bastion of capitalism? Here’s Stephen Moore: “In as many as half the states, state taxpayer organizations, free market think tanks and small business leaders now complain bitterly that, on a wide range of issues, chambers of commerce deploy their financial resources and lobbying clout to expand the taxing, spending and regulatory authorities of government. This behavior, they note, erodes the very pro-growth climate necessary for businesses — at least those not connected at the hip with government — to prosper.” (Local chambers of commerce: tax machines in disguise.)

This accurately describes the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. Earlier this year it decided that eight government subsidy programs supporting the Ambassador Hotel were not enough: The Chamber said there must be a ninth.

Fortunately, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce does a much better job supporting capitalism and free market principles.

At the state government level we also have to be watchful, even though we have a conservative governor and legislature (sort of). Earlier this year Kansas Governor Sam Brownback supported extending the STAR bonds program, thereby giving life support to cronyism for another five years. Kansas STAR bonds vote a test for capitalism. A majority of legislators supported him. Other anti-capitalist programs have been started or expanded at his initiative.

Chambers to host Congressional Summit

On September 7 the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce will host the 2012 Congressional Summit in Wichita, presented by Black & Veatch. All six members of the Kansas federal delegation have committed to attend this event.

The event will be from 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm at Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview in Wichita. Individual tickets are $20, which includes lunch. To register, click on 2012 Congressional Summit.

Money flows to Kansas elections

Kansas Watchdog, in its article Tracking the PACs — big money flowing into crucial Senate contests, lays out the action of political action committees seeking to influence Kansas voters in the August primary election.

The issue of third-party money involvement has been a concern to many, with Democrats and moderate Republicans railing against “special interest” money, frequently referring to the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity. The claim is that these organizations are attempting to buy an election.

Thanks to Earl Glynn’s reporting in Kansas Watchdog, we see that both sides have PACs that funnel money to, or advocate in favor of, candidates. In the case of moderate Republicans, we see that the Senate Leadership Committee PAC has received contributions from special interest groups, and then funneled that money in favor of moderate Republicans. Senate President Steve Morris controls this PAC.

A large contributor to Morris’ PAC is Kansas National Education Association (KNEA), the teachers union. This is a special interest groups that advocates for the interests of teachers, not students and taxpayers.

Another contributor is Kansas Contractors PAC. Its job is to get the state to spend as much as possible on roads and highways, without regard to whether these are needed or wanted.

Casino money makes its way to the PAC, too. The existing casinos in Kansas would like to see competition prohibited.

There are more special interest groups contributing in favor of moderate candidates, including labor unions, perhaps the most highly specialized interest group of all.

Contrast these special interests with groups like Americans for Prosperity. I have supported AFP for many years because AFP promotes economic freedom, which is good for everyone, not just for certain groups. While the Kansas Chamber is more focused on business, a thriving business climate in Kansas is good for everyone — consumers, workers, taxpayers, and government coffers. We don’t have this now in Kansas. Instead, we have low private sector job creation at the expense of government jobs.

Some are concerned about the influence of PAC spending, and also that of third parties that spend in favor of, or in opposition to, candidates. These are independent expenditures. They’re not supposed to be coordinated with the candidate or campaigns. Some of the most misleading and harshly negative ads come from these groups, instead of from the candidates’ campaigns.

This level of separation allows candidates to disavow or distance themselves from these ads. A solution is to allow larger donations to be made directly to the candidates. In this way, the campaign is responsible for the advertisements and can’t shift blame to someone else.

Kansas senators seen as unfriendly to business

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee has made campaign contributions to the primary election opponents of eight Republican members of the Kansas Senate that it sees as impediments to private sector job creation, according to reporting in the Lawrence Journal-World.

According to its website, the Chamber PAC “supports and endorses incumbent state legislators and other candidates for state office who support the Kansas Chamber’s legislative agenda, promote the tenets of free enterprise and pledge to make Kansas a better place in which to do business.”

Following is the 2010 Kansas Senate roster with each senator’s score on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index for that year. The names of the senators whose opponents are supported by the Kansas Chamber PAC appear in boldface. You can see that as a group, these senators rank very low in their support of issues important to economic freedom in Kansas.

(Senator Chris Steineger is now a Republican.)

Senator Party Score
Holland, Tom D 0%
Francisco, Marci D 7%
Kultala, Kelly D 7%
McGinn, Carolyn R 7%
Morris, Stephen R 7%
Brungardt, Pete R 13%
Emler, Jay R 13%
Faust-Goudeau, Oletha D 13%
Hensley, Anthony D 13%
Kelly, Laura D 13%
Lee, Janis D 13%
Reitz, Roger R 13%
Schmidt, Vicki R 13%
Schodorf, Jean R 18%
Haley, David D 20%
Huntington, Terrie R 20%
Owens, Thomas (Tim) R 20%
Umbarger, Dwayne R 20%
Taddiken, Mark R 24%
Teichman, Ruth R 24%
Vratil, John R 27%
Marshall, Bob R 31%
Ostmeyer, Ralph R 31%
Steineger, Chris D 58%
Schmidt, Derek R 62%
Apple, Pat R 69%
Barnett, Jim R 69%
Colyer, Jeff R 69%
Donovan, Les R 73%
Kelsey, Dick R 73%
Petersen, Mike R 80%
Wagle, Susan R 80%
Lynn, Julia R 86%
Abrams, Steve R 87%
Brownlee, Karin R 87%
Bruce, Terry R 87%
Huelskamp, Tim R 87%
Masterson, Ty R 87%
Pyle, Dennis R 87%
Pilcher Cook, Mary R 93%

Local chambers of commerce: tax machines in disguise

The fact that the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce supports a tax increase reminded me of a piece in the Wall Street Journal by Stephen Moore that shows how very often, local chambers of commerce support principles of crony capitalism instead of pro-growth policies that support free enterprise and genuine capitalism.

We may soon have a test of this in Wichita, where business leaders are tossing about ideas for various forms of tax increases. Again, I distinguish between “business leaders” and “capitalists.”

Fortunately, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce is generally unwavering in its support of pro-growth, limited government principles. But that’s not the case for most local chambers. Bernie Koch, a booster of local chambers and their big-government policies, recently wrote an op-ed in which he defended the high-tax corporate welfare state model for Kansas.

Most people probably think that local chambers of commerce, since their membership is mostly business firms, support pro-growth policies that embrace limited government and free markets. But that’s not always the case. Here, in an excerpt from his article “Tax Chambers” Moore explains:

The Chamber of Commerce, long a supporter of limited government and low taxes, was part of the coalition backing the Reagan revolution in the 1980s. On the national level, the organization still follows a pro-growth agenda — but thanks to an astonishing political transformation, many chambers of commerce on the state and local level have been abandoning these goals. They’re becoming, in effect, lobbyists for big government.

In as many as half the states, state taxpayer organizations, free market think tanks and small business leaders now complain bitterly that, on a wide range of issues, chambers of commerce deploy their financial resources and lobbying clout to expand the taxing, spending and regulatory authorities of government. This behavior, they note, erodes the very pro-growth climate necessary for businesses — at least those not connected at the hip with government — to prosper. Journalist Tim Carney agrees: All too often, he notes in his recent book, “Rip-Off,” “state and local chambers have become corrupted by the lure of big dollar corporate welfare schemes.”

“I used to think that public employee unions like the NEA were the main enemy in the struggle for limited government, competition and private sector solutions,” says Mr. Caldera of the Independence Institute. “I was wrong. Our biggest adversary is the special interest business cartel that labels itself ‘the business community’ and its political machine run by chambers and other industry associations.”

From Stephen Moore in the article “Tax Chambers” published in The Wall Street Journal February 10, 2007. The full article can be found at Liberalism’s Echo Chambers.

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Friday May 6, 2011

Wichita downtown sites draw little interest. Wichita Business Journal: “Interest from developers in eight city-owned “catalyst” sites in downtown Wichita was minimal — unexpectedly so. ‘I was a little bit surprised how light the response was,’ says Scott Knebel, downtown revitalization manager for the city of Wichita.” With the city soliciting informal proposals for eight sites, only two proposals were received.

KPERS. It appears that the Kansas Legislature will pass a pension “reform” bill that does not include a shift to a defined-contribution plan for new employees. Instead, the tough decisions that need to be made about the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System have been placed in the hands of a study committee. More information about the seriousness of the KPERS problem is at Economist: KPERS must undergo serious reform and KPERS problems must be confronted. Video is here, with two parts following.

More flexibility for school funds. Kansas Watchdog reports that Kansas schools will now have more flexibility to spend funds that are presently stashed away in various funds. Of interest in the article is a chart showing the growth in these fund balances. School spending advocates protest that these funds are needed to because revenue doesn’t arrvie at the same time bills do, which is true. But these fund balances have been growing, because schools have not been spending all the money they’ve been given. While this bill is a good idea, schools have always been able to tap into these funds by simply contributing less to them, thereby spending down the balances. But schools have not wanted to to do this.

Growth in Kansas spendingGrowth in Kansas spending. Click for a larger view.

Despite “cuts,” spending grows. For all the talk in Kansas of budget cuts, state spending still manages to grow year after year. Kansas Watchdog is again on top of this topic, noting “Each year various adjustments push state spending above the approved budget, but in 2010 that extra spending took a big jump that will require even more spending in the future.” Of particular interest is the chart showing spending rising every year.

Sandy Springs a model. Common Sense with Paul Jacob: “Local governments suffer from a big problem: bigness. Too often they expand their scope of services, and, in so doing, progressively fail to cover even the old, core set of services. You know, like fire and police and roads and such. The solution is obvious. Mimic Sandy Springs. This suburban community north of Atlanta, Georgia, had been ill-served by Fulton County. So a few years ago the area incorporated. And, to fend off all the problems associated with the ‘do-it-all-ourselves’ mentality, the city didn’t hire on a huge staff of civil servants. Instead, it contracted out the bulk of those services in chunks. Now, the roads get paved and the streets are cleaned and the waste is removed better as well as cheaper than ever. Reason Foundation, a think tank known for its privatization emphasis, has been on the story from the beginning. A 2005 appraisal predicted that the town would become a ‘model city.’ That prophecy seems to have been on the money, and a Reason TV video emphasizes this with the shocking fact that the town ‘has no long-term liabilities.’ As the rest of the nation’s cities, counties and states lurch into insolvency, Sandy Springs shows a way out.” … The City of Wichita has had success in outsourcing the mowing of parks. Currently, the city has several dozen pieces of commercial mowing equipment at auction.

States’ war for jobs. Bloomberg Businesweek: “State and local governments eager to recover some of the more than 8 million jobs lost during the recession are giving away $70 billion in annual subsidies to companies, according to calculations by Kenneth Thomas, a political scientist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. States have long relied on fiscal incentives to lure businesses, or keep existing employers from decamping to other locales. Such largesse is coming under renewed scrutiny during this time of strapped budgets. State deficits could reach a combined $112 billion in the fiscal year starting July 1. ‘The tragic irony of it is that in order to pay for these things, they’re cutting other areas that really are the building blocks of jobs and economic growth,’ says Jon Shure, director of state fiscal strategies for the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. … With the national unemployment rate at 8.8 percent, the threat of a company pulling up stakes is enough to open states’ wallets. ‘States and communities are afraid to play chicken,’ says Jeff Finkle, who heads the International Economic Development Council. … Kansas has offered movie theater chain AMC Entertainment a generous incentives package to move away from Kansas City, Mo., The New York Times reported in April. Officials in Missouri are considering making a counteroffer. Neither the company nor state officials would comment. The bidding war helped prompt an Apr. 5 letter signed by 17 corporate executives asking the governors of the two states to quit offering inducements to lure businesses across state lines. ‘At a time of severe fiscal constraint the effect to the states is that one state loses tax revenue, while the other forgives it,’ the letter said. ‘The only real winner is the business who is ‘incentive shopping’ to reduce costs.'” … Governor Brownback’s economic development plan speaks of “A more uniform business tax policy that treats all businesses equally rather than the current set of rules and laws that give great benefit to a few (through heavily bureaucratic programs) and zero benefit to many.” It will be a while before we know if the state is able to stick to this plan.

Shale gas to be topic in Wichita. This Friday (may 6) the Wichita Pachyderm Club features Malcolm C. Harris, Sr., Ph.D., Professor of Finance, Division of Business and Information Technology, Friends University, speaking on the topic: “Shale gas: Our energy future?” Harris also blogs at Mammon Among Friends. … “Shale gas” refers to a relatively new method of extracting natural gas, as reported in the Wall Street Journal: “We’ve always known the potential of shale; we just didn’t have the technology to get to it at a low enough cost. Now new techniques have driven down the price tag — and set the stage for shale gas to become what will be the game-changing resource of the decade. I have been studying the energy markets for 30 years, and I am convinced that shale gas will revolutionize the industry — and change the world — in the coming decades. It will prevent the rise of any new cartels. It will alter geopolitics. And it will slow the transition to renewable energy.” … Critics like the Center for American Progress warn of the dangers: “The process, which involves injecting huge volumes of water mixed with sand and chemicals deep underground to fracture rock formations and release trapped gas, is becoming increasingly controversial, with concerns about possible contamination of underground drinking water supplies alongside revelations of surface water contamination by the wastewater that is a byproduct of drilling.”

Economics in one lesson this Monday. On Monday (May 9), four videos based on Henry Hazlitt’s classic work Economics in One Lesson will be shown in Wichita. The four topics included in Monday’s presentation will be The Curse of Machinery, Disbanding Troops & Bureaucrats, Who’s “Protected” by Tariffs?, and “Parity” Prices. The event is Monday (May 9) at 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Lionel D. Alford Library located at 3447 S. Meridian in Wichita. The library is just north of the I-235 exit on Meridian. The event’s sponsor is Americans for Prosperity, Kansas. For more information on this event contact John Todd at john@johntodd.net or 316-312-7335, or Susan Estes, AFP Field Director at sestes@afphq.org or 316-681-4415.

Voters favor cuts, not tax increases to balance budget. “A survey of Kansas voters conducted on behalf of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce found widespread support for cutting spending rather than raising taxes as the way to balance the Kansas budget. Support was also found for cutting state worker salaries, or reducing the number of state employees.” More at Kansas Chamber finds voters favor cuts, not tax increases to balance budget.

Here’s the Kansas data. “KansasOpenGov.org provides a repository of data about Kansas state and local governments, giving citizens the data they need to hold officials accountable.” More at Kansas OpenGov: Here’s the Kansas data.

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday May 2, 2011

Shale gas to be topic in Wichita. This Friday (May 6) the Wichita Pachyderm Club features Malcolm C. Harris, Sr., Ph.D., Professor of Finance, Division of Business and Information Technology, Friends University, speaking on the topic: “Shale gas: Our energy future?” Harris also blogs at Mammon Among Friends. … “Shale gas” refers to a relatively new method of extracting natural gas, as reported in the Wall Street Journal: “We’ve always known the potential of shale; we just didn’t have the technology to get to it at a low enough cost. Now new techniques have driven down the price tag — and set the stage for shale gas to become what will be the game-changing resource of the decade. I have been studying the energy markets for 30 years, and I am convinced that shale gas will revolutionize the industry — and change the world — in the coming decades. It will prevent the rise of any new cartels. It will alter geopolitics. And it will slow the transition to renewable energy.” … Critics like the Center for American Progress warn of the dangers: “The process, which involves injecting huge volumes of water mixed with sand and chemicals deep underground to fracture rock formations and release trapped gas, is becoming increasingly controversial, with concerns about possible contamination of underground drinking water supplies alongside revelations of surface water contamination by the wastewater that is a byproduct of drilling.” … Upcoming speakers: On May 13, Craig Burns and Glenn Edwards of Security 1st Title Co. on the topic “Real Estate Transactions, Ownership, Title, and Tales From the Trenches.” On May 20, Rob Siedleckie, Secretary, Kansas Social Rehabilitation Services (SRS) on the topic “The SRS and Initiatives.” On May 27, Todd Tiahrt, Former 4th District Congressman on the topic “Outsourcing our National Security — How the Pentagon is Working Against Us”.

Wichita City Council this week. On Tuesday the Wichita City Council will decide whether to spend $316,000 on capital improvements to the Wichita Ice Center. Improvements will include “HVAC system upgrades, new flooring, signage, interior and exterior painting, upgrades to the locker room facilities, ice skates, and a new point of sale system that will track program revenues and attendance.” This spending was already agreed to in a contract with the new managers of the facility, so approval seems certain. … On the consent agendas one item proposes to spend $36,087 on study, design and bid services to replace the passenger loading bridges at the Wichita airport. In 2003 the city budgeted $4 million for this project, but it was put on hold due to plans for a new terminal building. Now the city wants to go ahead and replace the existing bridges. Being on a consent agenda, this item will receive no discussion unless a council members wants to “pull” it for individual discussion.

Williams on the role of race in economics. Thomas Sowell reviewing a new book by Walter E. Williams, Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?: “Walter Williams fans are in for a treat — and people who are not Walter Williams fans are in for a shock – when they read his latest book, Race and Economics. It is a demolition derby on paper, as Professor Williams destroys one after another of the popular fallacies about the role of race in the American economy. … In recent times, we have gotten so used to young blacks having sky-high unemployment rates that it will be a shock to many readers of Walter Williams’ Race and Economics to discover that the unemployment rate of young blacks was once only a fraction of what it has been in recent decades. And, in earlier times, it was not very different from the unemployment rate of young whites. The factors that cause the most noise in the media are not the ones that have the most impact on minorities. This book will be eye-opening for those who want their eyes opened. But those with the liberal vision of the world are unlikely to read it at all.” … An interview with the author is available at Lew Rockwell interviews Walter Williams on his two new books.

Spending cuts preferred to taxes. A survey of Kansas voters conducted on behalf of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce found widespread support for cutting spending rather than raising taxes as the way to balance the Kansas budget. Support was also found for cutting state worker salaries, or reducing the number of state employees. See Kansas Chamber finds voters favor cuts, not tax increases to balance budget.

Except some prefer taxes. A coalition of groups is advocating for more revenue so that Kansas government can spend more. Some of the groups in the coalition advocate for those who truly can’t help themselves. But it’s no coincidence that the spokesman for the group is Mark Desetti, who is the lobbyist for Kansas National Education Association (KNEA), the state’s teachers union. Other school spending advocacy groups are prominent members of this coalition. Fortunately, many are starting to realize that the aims of school spending advocates like the teachers unions are not in the best interest of students, as shown below.

Teacher evaluation systems. Brookings Institution: “Of all the things that are under the control of policymakers and schools, teacher quality is at the top of the list in terms of impact on student achievement, and so there is a great interest in evaluating teacher performance.” Says Russ Whitehurst, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy: “If you’re unlucky enough to get a bad teacher three years in a row, you’re basically ruined — that’s 30 percentile points, it’s hard to recover from that. So we know that teachers are important, and we know that for the first time for reasons other than intuition.” Brookings is working on systems to evaluate the systems that school districts use to evaluate teachers, so that state and federal money can be distributed fairly, as a way to incentivize good teacher evaluation systems. … According to National Council on Teacher Quality, Kansas ranks very low among the states in policies relating to teacher effectiveness. For example, the report states: “Fails to make evidence of student learning the preponderant criterion in teacher evaluations.” … The prospects for reform in teacher evaluation and quality in Kansas are not good. Proposals that would improve Kansas in this regard have not been discussed — at least meaningfully — in this year’s session of the Kansas legislature. For example, this year the Legislature spent quite a bit of time on a policy where the period before teachers are awarded tenure could be increased from three to five years in certain circumstances. This is what qualifies as “school reform” in Kansas. Remember, Kansas ranks very low in policies that promote teacher quality. Tinkering with the policy on teacher tenure is not going to improve our teacher quality, as tenure is a system that ought to be eliminated. In Kansas the teachers union is Kansas National Education Association (KNEA), and it works overtime to block meaningful reform of our state’s schools.

Misguided efforts to improve capitalism. From Eamonn Butler: Ludwig von Mises — A Primer on how efforts by government to intervene in markets fail: Indeed, our efforts to manipulate the market economy, and make it conform to a particular vision, are invariably damaging. Capitalism is superbly good at boosting the general standard of living by encouraging people to specialise and build up the capital goods that raise the productivity of human effort. But when we tax or regulate this system, and make it less worthwhile to invest in and own capital goods, then capitalism can falter. But that is not a “crisis of capitalism,” explains Mises. It is a crisis of interventionism: a failure of policies that are intended to “improve” capitalism but in fact strangle it. One common political ideal, for example, is “economic democracy” — the idea that everyone should count in the production and allocation of economic goods, not just a few capitalist producers. But according to Mises, we already have economic democracy. In competitive markets, producers are necessarily ruled by the wishes of consumers. Unless they satisfy the demands of consumers, they will lose trade and go out of business. If we interfere in this popular choice, we will end up satisfying only the agenda of some particular political group. A more modest notion is that producers’ profits should be taxed so that they can be distributed more widely throughout the population. But while this shares out the rewards of success, says Mises, it leaves business burdened with the whole cost of failure. That is an imbalance that can only depress people’s willingness to take business risks and must thereby depress economic life itself.

Kansas primary legislative elections 2010

Here’s a look at the August 3, 2010 Kansas primary election contests that had the possibility of changing the character of the Kansas House of Representatives, and in one case, the Kansas Senate.

A Kansas Chamber of Commerce endorsement is a reliable measure of a candidate’s conservative credentials from a fiscal perspective. The Kansas Economic Freedom Index and AFP legislative scorecards provide additional insight into legislators and their voting records.

Here are races where there may be a shift in the makeup of the House, sometimes depending on the results of the November general election.

In Kansas House District 17 (parts of Shawnee and Lenexa) the Kansas Chamber of Commerce endorsed Kelly Meigs, and she defeated one-term incumbent Jill Quigley 53 percent to 47 percent in the Republican primary. Bryan Cox has filed as a Democrat. Quigley had a liberal voting record, scoring just nine percent on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index.

In Kansas House District 29 (parts of Overland Park) conservative challenger Richard Downing wasn’t able to defeat first-term incumbent Sheryl L. Spalding (19 percent on KEFI), although the margin of Spalding’s victory is just 29 votes of 2,695 cast and could possibly change. The winner will face Democrat Doug Dowell in the general election.

In Kansas House District 65 (Junction City and parts of Geary and Wabaunsee counties), Barbara Craft did not seek re-election. Her Kansas Economic Freedom Index rating of 19 percent places her in the left-wing Republican camp. The Kansas Chamber did not make an endorsement in this district, but Republican primary winner James P. Fawcett has been described as a conservative. He’ll face Democrat Larry Hicks in November.

In House District 110 (Osborne, Rooks and Russell Counties, Cities of Ellis and Victoria, Buckeye, Catherine, Ellis, Herzog and Victoria townships) three Republicans vied to fill this seat previously held by Dan Johnson with his 16 percent Kansas Economic Freedom Index score. Chamber-endorsed Dan L. Collins won. No Democrat filed in this district, so this is a certain pick-up for conservatives.

In House District 69 (parts of Salina) Chamber-endorsed Tom Arpke defeated incumbent Republican Deena L. Horst, who has represented the district since 1995. Horst had earned a score of 69 percent on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index. On AFP’s rating for this year she scored 60 percent and 100 percent the year before. She voted for the big-spending budget this year, but not the sales tax increase. Arpke will face Democrat Gerrett Morris — not to be confused with Garrett Morris of Saturday Night Live fame — in November.

Kansas House District 120 (Cheyenne, Decatur, Norton, Phillips and Rawlins counties) is a loss for conservatives as incumbent John Faber lost to challenger Ward Cassidy. The winner will face Democrat Robert Strevey in the general election. The Chamber had endorsed Faber, who earned a Kansas Economic Freedom Index rating of 72 percent and an AFP rating of 90 percent. A resident of St. Francis, Cassidy and his wife are public school employees, and he lists education as one of his priorities. When public school employees say this, it usually means that spending on schools is a priority over everything else. His website also says he pledges to “look at every means possible to increase revenue within the state without raising taxes.”

In Kansas House District 124 (Grant, Morton, Stanton and Stevens counties, Haskell County: City of Satanta and Dudley Township, Seward County: Seward Township), incumbent Bill Light did not seek re-election. Republicans Dan Widder and J. Stephen Alford sought the Republican party nomination, with no Democrats having filed. The Chamber endorsed Widder. Alford narrowly won with 51 percent of the vote. Light was a left-wing Republican with a Kansas Economic Freedom Index rating of 11 percent. Alford, endorsed by liberal Senate President Stephen Morris (his own KEFI rating is only seven percent), can’t be much more to the left than Light.

There were a handful of instances where moderate or liberal Republicans withstood challenges by conservatives.

In Kansas House District 9 (Allen County plus parts of Woodson, Coffey, Anderson, and Franklin Counties, including the city of Iola), the Chamber selected Raymond “Bud” Sifers over incumbent Bill Otto in the Republican primary. Otto won with 56 percent of the vote. No Democrat filed. Otto is sometimes difficult to classify. He scored 60 percent on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index, but only 40 percent on AFP’s scorecard for this year after rating 82 percent the year before. This year, Otto voted against the spending bill but for the sales tax increase, the only member of the House to vote this way on these two bills.

In Kansas House District 60 (parts of Emporia) incumbent Republican Don Hill defeated challenger Daniel Buller. Hill scored a very liberal nine percent on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index and is mentioned as one of the leaders of the left-wing Republican faction of the House that votes for spending and tax increases. Hill will face Democrat Michael “Mike” Dorcey in the general election.

In Kansas House District 64 (Clay County plus parts of Dickinson, Geary, and Riley counties) incumbent Republican Vern Swanson was challenged by Michael Musselman. Swanson won. No Democrat filed. Swanson scored 19 percent on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index.

In Kansas House District 68 (parts of Morris and Dickinson counties including Council Grove and Abilene) two-term incumbent Republican Tom J. Moxley was challenged by Calvin Seadeek Jr. Moxley has a liberal voting record, scoring 19 percent on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index. There is no Democratic party opponent in the general election.

In Kansas House District 70 (Chase and Marion counties, plus part of Butler County) Cheryl Green challenged first-term incumbent J. Robert (Bob) Brookens (KEFI 19 percent). Brookens won with 60 percent of the vote. There was no Democratic Party filer.

In Kansas House District 71 (parts of Salina) incumbent Charlie Roth withstood a challenge by two opponents in the Republican primary. There is no Democratic Party filer. Roth scored a liberal nine percent on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index and played a leadership role in passing the statewide smoking ban in the House of Representatives this year.

In Kansas House District 83 (Eatborough and parts of east Wichita) veteran incumbent Jo Ann Pottorff defeated conservative challenger Kyle Amos. The Chamber chose Amos for its endorsement, and Pottorff scored a low 13 percent on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index. Sean Amore is the Democratic Party opponent in the general election.

In the Kansas Senate, there was one election this year. The appointed incumbent for Senate District 7 (In Johnson County the cities of Countryside, Fairway, Merriam, Mission, Mission Hills, Mission Woods, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Westwood, Westwood Hills, and parts of Leawood and Overland Park) is Terrie Huntington, and she faced a conservative challenge from David Harvey. Huntington’s votes for the big-spending budget and the sales tax increase earned her a Kansas Econimic Freedom Index score of 20 percent, and led to the Kansas Chamber endorsement of Harvey. Huntingon won with 54 percent of the vote.

Conservatives withstood some challengers in these districts.

In Kansas House District 13 (Eureka, Yates Center, Fredonia, Neodesha and surrounding area) the Chamber endorsed incumbent Forrest Knox over challenger Trent Forsyth in the Republican primary. No Democrat filed. Knox scored 95 percent on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index, and Forsyth was endorsed by the liberal teachers union. Knox won with 54 percent of the vote.

In Kansas House District 94 (parts of west Wichita and part of Attica, Delano, and Waco townships), incumbent conservative Joe McLeland handily defeated two challengers, including one endorsed by the liberal Wichita Eagle editorial board. There is no Democratic Party candidate in this district

In Kansas House District 121 (Graham, Sheridan, Sherman and Thomas counties), Brenda McCants challenged incumbent Jim Morrison, with no Democrat filing for the general election contest. Martin Hawver, dean of Kansas Statehouse reporters, described this as a a race “more about experience — coming up to reapportionment — than philosophy, not a moderate/conservative split.” But Morrison had the Kansas Chamber’s endorsement and a reliably conservative voting record.

Kansas Chamber makes legislative endorsements

Yesterday the Kansas Chamber Political Action Committee, an arm of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, released its endorsements for the Kansas Legislature.

In announcing its endorsements, Kansas Chamber Interim President and CEO Kent Beisner said “We are proud to endorse a group of candidates who demonstrate a pro-jobs approach to stimulating the Kansas economy and the personal leadership to form strong public policy. These individuals are committed to reducing government spending and growing jobs in Kansas.”

The release also said that the Chamber PAC endorses exceptional lawmakers and candidates who support the tenets of free enterprise. The selection process focuses solely on the core business issues that impact the state’s economy.

The complete list of endorsements may be viewed at Kansas Chamber PAC Endorsements.

The following looks at the Chamber’s endorsements in districts where there is a primary election contest and the Chamber made an endorsement. Links are to candidates’ campaign websites, where available.

One position in the Kansas Senate is up for election this year. The appointed incumbent for district 7, in northeast Johnson County, is Terrie Huntington. The Chamber endorsed her opponent. David Harvey. Huntington’s votes for the big-spending budget and the sales tax increase probably made this an easy choice for the Chamber.

In primary elections for nomination to the Kansas House of Representatives, there are several contested primary elections. Here’s who the Chamber endorsed:

In Kansas House District 3 (Pittsburg and some area to its west), the Chamber endorsed Terry Calloway over Chad Titterington in the Republican primary. The winner of the primary will face incumbent Julie Menghini in the general election.

In Kansas House District 4 (Fort Scott and areas to its north and west), the Chamber endorsed Caryn Tyson over her opponent Renee Slinkard for the Republican nomination. The winner will face incumbent Shirley Palmer in the general election. An interesting issue in the general election will be Palmer trying to explain her vote in favor of the bill that increased spending, but not for the sales tax to pay for it.

In Kansas House District 9 (Allen County plus parts of Woodson, Coffey, Anderson, and Franklin Counties, including the city of Iola), the Chamber selected Raymond “Bud” Sifers over incumbent Bill Otto in the Republican primary. No Democrat filed, so the winner of the primary is the likely next representative. This year, Otto voted against the spending bill but for the sales tax increase, the only member of the House to vote this way on these two bills.

In Kansas House District 10 (Baldwin City, Wellsville, and small portions of Ottawa and Lawrence), the Chamber selected TerriLois Gregory over Scott James Barnhart in the Republican primary. The winner will advance to face Democratic incumbent Tony Brown in the general election.

In Kansas House District 13 (Eureka, Yates Center, Fredonia, Neodesha and surrounding area) the Chamber endorsed incumbent Forrest Knox over challenger Trent Forsyth in the Republican primary. No Democrat filed.

In Kansas House District 17 (parts of Shawnee and Lenexa) the Chamber selected Kelly Meigs over one-term incumbent Jill Quigley in the Republican primary. Bryan Cox has filed as a Democrat. Quigley fared poorly on both the Kansas Economic Freedom Index and AFP’s legislative scorecard.

In Kansas House District 19 (parts of Overland Park), the Chamber endorsed Jim Denning over challenger James A. Walker Jr. Democrat Delores Furtado is the incumbent, and will face the winner of the Republican primary in the general election.

Kansas House District 20 (parts of Overland Park and Leawood) has three Republicans — Matthew D. Webb, Stephanie Sawyer Clayton, and Rob Bruchman — seeking the nomination. Rob McKnight is the lone Democratic Party filer. This is the district that Kevin Yoder is vacating as he runs for the United States Congress. The Chamber endorsed Bruchman.

In Kansas House District 29 (parts of Overland Park) the Chamber endorsed challenger Richard Downing over first-term incumbent Sheryl L. Spalding. The winner will face Democrat Doug Dowell in the general election.

In Kansas House District 41 (Leavenworth) two Republicans and one Democrat are seeking the position held by retiring Marti Crow. The Chamber endorsed Jana Taylor Goodman over Louis Klemp in the Republican primary. Nancy Bauder is the Democratic candidate.

In Kansas House District 51 (western Shawnee county and parts of Waubunsee county including Alma and Eskridge), incumbent Mike Burgess is challenged by Tyler Feeney in the Republican primary, and the Chamber endorsed Burgess. No Democrat filed.

In Kansas House District 56 (parts of Topeka), the Chamber endorsed Becky Nioce over Jack P. Wu. Democrat Annie Tietze is the incumbent, and she is the only Democrat filer.

In Kansas House District 60 (parts of Emporia) incumbent Republican Don Hill is challenged by Daniel Buller. The Chamber chose to endorse Buller. Hill scores poorly on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index and AFP’s legislative scorecard and is mentioned as one of the leaders of the “left-wing Republican” faction of the House that votes for spending and tax increases. Democrat Michael “Mike” Dorcey will face the winner in the general election.

In Kansas House District 62 (Brown and Nemeha counties) Zachary D. Goodman and Randy Garber are seeking the Republican Party nomination to face incumbent Democrat Steve Lukert. The Chamber endorsed Goodman.

In Kansas House District 64 (Clay County plus parts of Dickinson, Geary, and Riley counties) incumbent Republican Vern Swanson is challenged by Michael Musselman. No Democrat filed. The Chamber endorsed Musselman. Swanson scores low on the Kansas Economic Freedom Index and AFP’s legislative scorecard.

Kansas House District 65 (Junction City and parts of Geary and Wabaunsee counties) has Republicans James P. Fawcett, Ernest F. Honas, and Jack Taylor vying to face Democrat Larry Hicks to replace Barbara Craft. The Chamber did mot make an endorsement in this district.

In Kansas House District 68 (parts of Morris and Dickinson counties including Council Grove and Abilene) two-term incumbent Republican Tom J. Moxley is challenged by Calvin Seadeek Jr. The Chamber endorsed Seadeek. There is no Democratic opponent in the general election. Moxley is another low-scoring Republican on scorecards that reward votes in favor of economic freedom and fiscal conservatism.

In House District 69 (parts of Salina) Tom Arpke is challenging incumbent Republican Deena L. Horst, who has represented the district since 1995. The Chamber endorsed Arpke. Gerrett Morris — not to be confused with Garrett Morris of Saturday Night Live fame — is the lone Democratic filer.

Kansas House District 70 (Chase and Marion counties, plus part of Butler County) features Cheryl Green challenging first-term incumbent J. Robert (Bob) Brookens. Green is noted for her portrayal of “Paul Revere” on her horse at several tea party events. The Chamber endorsed Green. There was no Democratic Party filer.

In Kansas House District 71 (parts of Salina) J. Neil Jednoralski and Ronald Young are challenging incumbent Charlie Roth. The Chamber endorsed Young. There was no Democratic Party filer.

Kansas House District 82 (Derby) has Republicans Joseph Ashby, Jim Howell, and Van A. Willis seeking to oppose Democrat E.L. Lee Kinch. Incumbent Don Myers is retiring. The Chamber endorsed Howell.

Kansas House District 83 (parts of east Wichita) has veteran incumbent Jo Ann Pottorff facing a challenge by Kyle Amos. The Chamber chose Amos for its endorsement. Sean Amore is the lone Democratic Party filer. Pottorf, who has served since 1985, is a low-scoring Republican on scorecards that reward votes in favor of economic freedom and fiscal conservatism.

Kansas House District 94 (parts of west Wichita) has two Republicans — Roy “Coach” Oeser and Wade A. Waterbury — seeking to replace incumbent Joe McLeland. There is no Democratic Party candidate. The Chamber endorsed McLeland.

In Kansas House District 96 (parts of west and southwest Wichita) incumbent Republican Phil Hermanson faces a challenge from Mark S. Gietzen. The winner will face Democratic challenger Brandon Whipple in the general election. The Chamber’s endorsement in this district went to Hermanson.

Kansas House District 109 (Jewell, Mitchell, Republic and Smith counties) has incumbent long-serving Republican Clay Aurand being challenged by Trey Allen Joy. No Democrat filed. The Chamber endorsed Aurand.

In Kansas House District 110 (Osborne, Rooks and Russell counties, and part of Ellis County), Republicans (no Democrat filed in this district) Dan L. Collins, Robert D. “Bob” Miller, and Mark B. Schulte have filed for this open seat. The Chamber selected Collins for its endorsement.

In Kansas House District 115 (Clark, Gray, Meade and Ford counties, including Dodge City) long-serving and past Speaker of the House Melvin J. Neufeld faces a challenge by Garrett Love. The Chamber’s endorsement went to Neufeld. There is no Democratic Party candidate.

Kansas House District 118 (Gove, Lane, Logan, Rush, Trego, Wallace and Wichita Counties) has Robert Tilford challenging first-term incumbent Don Hineman. Hineman is a low-scoring Republican on scorecards that reward votes in favor of economic freedom and fiscal conservatism. The Chamber did not make an endorsement in this district.

Kansas House District 120 (Cheyenne, Decatur, Norton, Phillips and Rawlins counties) has incumbent John M. Faber facing a challenge from Ward Cassidy. The winner will face Democrat Robert Strevey in the general election. The Chamber endorsed Faber.

Kansas House District 121 (Graham, Sheridan, Sherman and Thomas counties) has Brenda McCants challenging incumbent Jim Morrison, with no Democrat filing for the general election contest. Morrison score well on scorecards that reward votes in favor of economic freedom and fiscal conservatism, which is probably one of the reasons he earned the Chamber’s endorsement.

In Kansas House District 122 (Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny and Scott Counties, Finney County: City of Holcomb; Townships: Ivanhoe, Sherlock, Terry, Garden City (part) and Pierceville (part), Haskell County: City of Sublette; Townships: Haskell and Lockport)) Republican incumbent Gary K. Hayzlett faces a challenge from Mark Aurand. The winner of this primary will not face a Democratic party opponent in the general election. The Chamber’s endorsement in this district went to Hayzlett.

Finally, in Kansas House District 124 (Grant, Morton, Stanton and Stevens counties, Haskell County: City of Satanta and Dudley Township, Seward County: Seward Township), incumbent Bill Light is not seeking re-election. Republicans Dan Widder and J. Stephen Alford are seeking the Republican party nomination, with no Democrats having filed. The Chamber endorsed Widder.

More coverage of the Chamber PAC’s endorsements is available at Kansas Liberty in the story Kansas Chamber signals support of pro-business 2010 candidates.

Kansas Governor, Wichita Eagle: why ‘pigs’ at the trough?

When the Kansas Chamber of Commerce recently referred to the need to control Kansas government spending and taxes, a few politicians and newspaper editorial writers embellished what the Chamber actually said in order to make their own political points.

Here’s what the Kansas Chamber said in its press release dated May 8:

“As of today, the legislature has failed to address the needs and wishes of the business community. It has instead catered to the needs of those at the government trough. The Kansas legislature has turned a deaf ear to the hard-working businessmen and women who have made the decision to invest in Kansas and provide jobs for our citizens. Instead of responsibly funding state government without raising taxes, a coalition of liberal House and Senate members have instead chosen to slash crucial services and push for a historic tax hike on Kansas families,” said Kansas Chamber President Kent Beisner.

Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson, an advocate for greater government spending and taxing, seized this opportunity for political gamesmanship. His press release on May 10 stated “It is heartbreaking to think that somebody would equate the disabled, the elderly, school children, veterans, law enforcement and the poor to pigs at a trough.”

His message used the “pigs at a trough” symbolism several additional times.

The Governor’s use of the word “pigs” — inflammatory imagry, to say the least — started making the rounds. It was picked up by editorialists and other writers, including the Wichita Eagle’s opinion editor Phillip Brownlee. In his editorial Kids, disabled aren’t pigs at a trough (Wichita Eagle, May 13) Brownlee wrote: “So schoolchildren and individuals with disabilities are akin to pigs at a trough?”

Brownlee’s editorial starts by complaining that the Kansas Chamber used some “over-the-top rhetoric during the state budget debate.”

Well, the Kansas Chamber didn’t use the word “pigs.” That was the governor’s language, then repeated by liberal editorial writers like Brownlee and the Winfield Daily Courier’s David Seaton when he editorialized: “Efforts by the president of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce to characterize educators, the elderly, the disabled and public safety employees as pigs at ‘the government trough’ did not succeed.”

Since Governor Parkinson brought it up, we ought to think about it for a moment. Schoolchildren, of course, aren’t pigs at the trough, no matter what the governor and Wichita Eagle say. For one, children don’t make the decision to attend public (government) schools, as their parents make that decision for them. It is the schools themselves, specifically school spending advocates in the form of Kansas National Education Association (or KNEA, the teachers union) and the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) that are the pigs.

If these school spending advocates were truly concerned about the education of Kansas schoolchildren, they would allow for government spending on education to be targeted at the child, to be spent wherever parents feel their children’s needs will best be met. But the school spending lobby in Kansas vigorously resists any challenge to their monopoly on public money for education, which reveals that they’re really more interested in spending on schools by any means, at any cost rather than on education.

If we need any more evidence of the never-ending appetite of schools for money, consider a story told by Kansas House Speaker Pro Tem Arlen Siegfreid (R-Olathe) of a conversation he had with Mark Tallman, lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Boards: “During our discussion I asked Mr. Tallman if we (the State) had the ability to give the schools everything he asked for would he still ask for even more money for schools. His answer was, ‘Of course, that’s my job.'”

The Eagle editorial mentions a number of local chambers of commerce that have split away from the state chamber. We should recognize that in many cases, local chambers have become boosters for big government taxes and spending. An article titled Tax Chambers by the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore explains the decline of local chambers of commerce: “The Chamber of Commerce, long a supporter of limited government and low taxes, was part of the coalition backing the Reagan revolution in the 1980s. On the national level, the organization still follows a pro-growth agenda — but thanks to an astonishing political transformation, many chambers of commerce on the state and local level have been abandoning these goals. They’re becoming, in effect, lobbyists for big government.”

This was certainly the case with the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. Under its president Brian Derreberry, it had been in favor of increased government interventionism instead of free markets. An example was its support of proven fiscal conservative Karl Peterjohn’s opponent in the campaign for Sedgwick County Commissioner in 2008. In that campaign, the Wichita Chamber spent some $19,000 — 44% of all it spent on campaigns that year — on Peterjohn’s opponent, a small town mayor who had just increased taxes.

Last year the Wichita Chamber hired former Kansas House Member Jason Watkins to be its lobbyist. The hiring of Watkins, a fiscal conservative, seemed to signal a possible shift in the Wichita Chamber’s direction. The fact that the Wichita Chamber did not break away from the Kansas Chamber’s opposition to tax increases validates that perception.

We should also note that many of the goals of the Kansas Chamber, such as efficient government, reducing taxes, encouraging business investment and growth, and promoting economic growth in Kansas, are good for all Kansans, not just business. Even government employees — and the governor himself — must realize that government does not create wealth. Instead, it is business that creates wealth that provides for our standard of living. It is business that creates the economic activity that generates the tax revenue that makes government spending possible.

The Eagle’s repetition of the governor’s attack on the Kansas Chamber fits right in with its pro-government, anti-economic freedom agenda.