Chamber takes message of no tax increases to Topeka

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce officials hope they got their message through to legislators at two events Tuesday in Topeka.

The chamber's message to legislators was to hold the line on taxes, despite the state's budget crisis.

"I think in regards to that message, members did an excellent job of explaining ... that we understand that the state is in budget crisis, but you all need to be mindful of the fact if business profits weren't down the state budget wouldn't be down," said Jason Watkins, the chamber's government relations director.

Watkins said a tax increase on businesses would only "exacerbate the problem" and stifle business growth in the long term.

The chamber held its annual legislative reception Tuesday in which it invites chamber members and state legislators — including those from districts outside south-central Kansas — to talk to one another in a casual environment about legislative issues important to them.

The reception was at the Topeka Country Club.

The chamber also convened a meeting of its government relations committee earlier in the day.

The meeting included presentations by Kansas House Speaker Mike O'Neal and Senate President Steve Morris.

About 25 members of the chamber's government relations committee attended the meeting, said Barby Jobe, the chamber's vice president of government relations.

She said more than 55 chamber members and more than 50 legislators attended the reception later that day.

"The more that we can have our business members in front of (legislators) ... the better we are," Jobe said.