A Wichita company CEO applied for a sales tax exemption. Now as chair of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, he wants you to pay more sales tax, even on the food you buy in grocery stores.
When High Touch Technologies wanted to purchase and improve the building that houses its headquarters in downtown Wichita, the company asked for and received property tax relief and an exemption from paying sales taxes.
So far this story is not unusual. Many companies receive this type of tax relief. Some get it year after year, to the tune of some $658 million in the case of Boeing.
But the case of High Touch Technologies is of more than usual interest. At the time of the request in November 2013 the company’s CEO, Wayne Chambers, had just been selected as chair of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber, along with its subsidiary Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, are the main agencies in charge of economic development for the Wichita area. Under Chambers’ leadership, these organizations recommended that the city council authorize a vote on raising the Wichita sales tax for the purposes of economic development. The council did that, and in November Wichita voters will decide whether to create a city sales tax of one cent per dollar. Twenty percent of the proceeds are earmarked for job creation.
To summarize: A Wichita company CEO applied for a sales tax exemption. Now he wants you to pay more sales tax, even on the food you buy in grocery stores.