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Tax Chambers of Commerce, Right Here in Kansas

This week, Kansas Liberty has a very fine editorial titled The KC Chamber: Enemy of Life, Enemy of Business. Prominent is the mention of the work of my friend the Kansas Meadowlark in revealing the funding of the The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. See Greater Kansas City Chamber PAC, Awash With Cash, Forms New PACs to “Buy” Kansas Elections for the Meadowlark’s original reporting.

I won’t reveal the entire content of the Kansas Liberty piece, as I urge you to read it in its entirety. But here’s a sample: “Through its well-funded political action committees, the best funded in the area, the Chamber is working to create a high tax environment that is indifferent to small business and the free market and downright hostile to the culture of life.”

This reminded me of an article from last year. Here’s something from Stephen Moore in the article “Tax Chambers” published in The Wall Street Journal on February 10, 2007:

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.”

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