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By Kimberly James | The Center Square Jan 28, 2021

The Kansas Chamber has released its legislative agenda for 2021 with its main focus on making the state’s business environment more competitive.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent state and local shutdowns and restrictions hurt Kansas businesses tremendously,” Alan Cobb, president and CEO of the Kansas Chamber, told The Center Square. “In our recent annual poll of business leaders, we found the operations of nearly every business has been directly impacted.”

Cobb said 66% of surveyed businesses reported supply chain issues, while 47% of surveyed businesses think the state’s response to the pandemic was more restrictive than necessary.

“Unless Governor Laura Kelly and the Kansas Legislature take the necessary steps to remove barriers to economic growth, and to improve our state’s business climate, our business community will remain at risk as will the jobs and tax revenue it provides the state,” Cobb said.

Challenges faced by the state, according to the chamber, include slow economic growth and increased government spending, leading to tax increases.

“The state needs to improve its income and property tax climate, strengthen our weakened legal climate and encourage state and local governments to find ways to become more effective and efficient,” Cobb said.

Other items on the Kansas Chamber Legislative agenda include the state decoupling from the federal tax code, implementing property tax transparency measures and codifying regulations that were waived and found to be unnecessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Identifying how state and local governments can deliver better services for less as our current burden will continue to hold our state back should be another priority for lawmakers,” Cobb said. “Actions like these will reduce the barriers so our economy can grow and businesses can recover from the impact of the pandemic. As more Kansas businesses prosper, so will employees, communities and our state.”