Kansas Chamber can be at odds with local concerns

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s new president, Mike O’Neal (in photo), said that the focus of his organization is on what benefits the state as a whole from a business perspective. “There may be times there’s a local issue that affects you that may not fit squarely with the legislative agenda at the state level,” he told members of the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce last week. The Kansas Chamber’s push for tax cuts, regardless of the impact on schools and other important services, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars it spent trying to defeat local legislative candidates have caused a number of local chambers to pull out of the state organization. O’Neal also said that he does not believe there will be a state budget deficit, even though state revenue estimators recently forecast a $705 million drop in tax collections next fiscal year.