Archive for Friday, May 28, 2010

Statehouse Live: Parkinson “dismayed” by Kansas Chamber comments

May 28, 2010


— As the 2010 legislative session ended Friday, Gov. Mark Parkinson and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce were at it again.

“I find myself once again completely dismayed at the behavior of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce,” Parkinson said in a news release.

This time, the dispute was over Parkinson’s line-item veto of a provision in the state appropriations bill that would have prevented the state from spending money to enforce potential regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists have linked to climate change. The measure was authored by state Sen. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, who opposes federal regulation of carbon dioxide emissions.

Parkinson said the provision would have caused a lot of problems, including the possibility that the federal Environmental Protection Agency would take over environmental regulation in Kansas. Three of the state’s largest utilities — Westar Energy, KCP&L; and Sunflower Electric — contacted Parkinson and asked that he veto the provision.

“The Huelskamp proviso was bad public policy. Therefore, I vetoed it,” Parkinson said.

But the Kansas Chamber, the state’s largest business lobbying organization, didn’t agree. Jeff Glendening, vice president of political affairs for the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, said of the veto: “We are disappointed to see the governor veto the Huelskamp EPA amendment. The real beneficiaries of today’s veto are radical environmentalists. We salute Senator Huelskamp’s efforts and thank him for offering this amendment on behalf of Kansas businesses.”

Parkinson responded, “I would expect that the Chamber would be thankful that the wishes of its members — companies which employ hundreds of Kansans, contribute to our economy and keep our lights on — were met. But instead, they reacted with another political attack and categorized their own members, who were the ‘real beneficiaries’ of this veto, as ‘radical environmentalists.’”

Parkinson said the chamber’s rhetoric could hurt Kansas in recruiting business.

“Businesses expect the state chamber to be a common sense, balanced entity. Instead, it has become a partisan political machine that is counterproductive to our efforts to create jobs, grow the economy and move Kansas forward,” he said.

During the legislative session, Parkinson also blasted the chamber, which opposed increasing the state sales tax.

Parkinson and a bipartisan coalition of legislators pushed through a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax, saying it was needed to protect schools, public safety and social services.

Chamber President Kent Beisner said those who supported the tax increase “catered to the needs of those at the government trough.”

At the time, Parkinson responded, saying, “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.”


Edward Coan 7 years, 11 months ago

Can't we just make Kansas two states: East Kansas and West Kansas

Mary Sucha 7 years, 11 months ago

Chamber President Kent Beisner said those who supported the tax increase “catered to the needs of those at the government trough.”

Pot meet Kettle - what a bunch of hypocrites. Mr. Beisner, how many of your chamber members are going to forego bidding on government contracts(trough)?

KawHawk 7 years, 11 months ago

YEAH ! YOU GO, PARKINSON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

tomatogrower 7 years, 11 months ago

The Chamber should try and stay out of politics, and try to get some businesses to come to Kansas. They are doing a lousy job of it. Unless they are trying to keep other businesses out, so they can pay lousy wages. A certain amount of unemployment is desirable to business. If there were a lot of jobs out there, they would have to pay higher wages to attract good employees. That would cut into their profits and bonuses. It's boils down to supply and demand.

texburgh 7 years, 11 months ago

This is perfect proof of who really owns the Kansas Chamber - they are a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries and when Koch demands that we not enforce environmental protection laws, the chamber demands that we not enforce environmental protection laws. Koch has had some of the largest EPA fines in history levied against them for their wreckless practices. Simple fact - they don't want to be regulated. The Kansas Chambers is their mouthpiece.

Business leaders who really care about Kansas and Kansans should drop their membership.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.