Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist is coming to Kansas at the behest of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce to oppose "restrictionist" policies on immigration reform.
"We are bringing Mr. Norquist to Kansas so legislators can hear what real immigration reform should look like," said Mike O'Neal, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Chamber.
"Each year, the business coalition has been forced to oppose harmful, anti-business legislation pushed as the only solution to this country's and Kansas' immigration woes. Mr. Norquist's insight will give lawmakers a fresh perspective into what direction this country should head as it searches for a solution to the broken and inefficient immigration system," O'Neal added.
Norquist, who is better known nationally as the president of Americans for Tax Reform, will speak at a breakfast for legislators at 8 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Maner Conference Center Shawnee Ballroom in Topeka. The breakfast will be hosted by the Kansas Chamber and the Kansas Business Coalition for Immigration Reform.
In the past, the Kansas Chamber and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach have been at odds on the subject of illegal immigration.
Kobach has pushed, both in Kansas and nationally, for more stringent restrictions, which the chamber has said would place a burden on businesses. The chamber has championed a measure to place some illegal immigrants in jobs if the state declares that an industry has a labor shortage. But Kobach has described that as an amnesty proposal.
Topeka — The Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity wants members of the 2013 Legislature to sign a pledge that they will vote against tax increases.
So far, 25 have signed the anti-tax pledge. Here is a link to those who have: http://bit.ly/ZDIy73
But would a legislator be breaking that pledge if he or she supported extension of the 6.3 percent state sales tax rate? Under current law, that rate is set to decrease to 5.7 percent on July 1, 2013.
The answer to that question is yes, but there is a caveat. According to Jennifer Rezac, a spokeswoman for AFP-Kansas, if extending the 6.3 percent state sales tax rate "were included in legislation that has an overall net reduction in taxes, then it wouldn't be violating the pledge."
The Kansas Chamber of Commerce, which vehemently opposed the temporary sales tax increase when it was passed in 2010, now supports maintaining the rate if it means further reductions in state income taxes.
Both the Kansas Chamber and AFP have worked hard, and succeeded in many instances, in helping defeat legislators who voted for that temporary state sales tax increase, which was approved to avoid deeper cuts to schools, social services and public safety.