Friday, September 3, 2010

Commerce promotion takes different form in KC than it does in Topeka

Posted By on Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 2:10 PM

click to enlarge The Kansas Chamber stays on the political fringe.
  • The Kansas Chamber stays on the political fringe.

Not all chambers of commerce act alike.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce has shown an eagerness to go after politicians who do not slave to free-market principles. Before the August primary, the chamber endorsed no Democrats and targeted 11 Republican incumbents viewed as squishy on "job creation," the right-wing euphemism for low taxes and lax regulation.

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, wants to preserve a form of taxation that Missouri's most prominent free-market adherent wants to eliminate.

The KC chamber and other groups this week asked Gov. Jay Nixon to take a stand for the e-tax, which is imperiled by a ballot initiative that rich guy Rex Sinquefield paid to put in front of Missouri voters. If successful, the ballot initiative puts in motion the elimination of the 1 percent income tax that Kansas City and St. Louis collect to pay for trash collection, police protection and other frivolous services.

The KC chamber has joined with labor unions in wanting to preserve the e-tax. Such an alliance would be unthinkable at the Kansas chamber, which works as a tag-team partner with Americans for Prosperity, the nonprofit face of the Wichita conglomerate Koch Industries, a piggy bank of ultraright causes.

The Kansas chamber's tax hating is such that local chambers of commerce have felt the need to stake out their own positions. In March, chambers of commerce in Olathe, Overland Park, KCK and other communities broke with the state chamber and urged state lawmakers to consider a tax increase in order to maintain basic government services. Because, you know, schools and stuff are kind of important.

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