Advocating for You - November, 2018


Public Policy


Support for Federal Investment in Research: The KC Chamber was a cosigner on a letter to the US House and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership this month urging the committees to finalize the remaining FY 2019 appropriations bills and to continue prioritizing research investment. The letter, presented by the Business for Federal Research Funding (BFRF) Coalition, recognized the committees for including critical investments for scientific and medical research in the FY 2019 "minibus" spending packages approved and signed into law in October. The KC Chamber thanks its congressional delegation, including Congressman Kevin Yoder who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, for its support in providing a $2 billion increase to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $1.1 billion increase to science and technology funding at the Department of Defense, and an increase to the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. Providing predictable and stable funding to these agencies before the short-term Continuing Resolution runs out in December will help the United States and the KC region continue to make progress on tackling some of the country's most difficult health challenges and scientific needs and help maintain our reputation as a world leader in science, medicine and innovation. BFRF is a broad-based coalition of more than 80 chambers of commerce from across the country.



Missouri Election Results: As a whole, Missouri continued to shift more conservative as Republicans continue to hold a supermajority in the State House and Senate. Notably however, two Kansas City suburban area districts swung blue and Democrat Nicole Galloway retained her position as State Auditor, the only Democrat to hold statewide office.
Missouri also had a slew of ballot proposals that were presented to the voters.

  • Despite support from the KC Chamber, Proposition D, the fuel tax increase, failed 46% to 54%. The proposed increase would have raised the state fuel tax by 2.5 cents over 4 years for a ten-cent increase that would have kept the state current with inflation and helped increase funding for road improvements. As the tax was approved handily in the KC metro area, the KC Chamber will continue to work with area partners to identify alternative funding options to support these critical infrastructure needs.
  • The KC Chamber was pleased to see the Kansas City Library tax levy increase passed overwhelmingly by voters in Kansas City, MO. The roughly 1% increase in property taxes will help fund building and technological improvements and expand services and hours of operation to the city's libraries.
  • Despite opposition from the KC Chamber, three of the seven Jackson County Charter amendments passed. The three charter questions that passed will, among other things, impose term limits for county sheriff, shift jurisdiction of the Jackson County Jail from the County Executive's Office to the Sheriff's Office, impose term limits for the County Prosecutor, and mandate legislative approval for hiring outside legal services.



Kansas Election Overview:  The Sunflower State saw a slightly more conservative shift with moderate Republicans losing seats in both the primary election in August and general election in November. Despite this shift, Republicans gained only one seat in the State House moving their majority to 85-40. There were no State Senate races in Kansas this year. While the House moved a little more to the right, Johnson County moved over to the left a bit as four Johnson County Republicans lost to Democrats and political newcomer, Democrat Sharice Davids, defeated four-term incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder for Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District. Kansas also elected Democrat Laura Kelly as its next Governor. She was the only Democrat to win statewide elected office in 2018.



Aviation and the New KCI Terminal:The KC Chamber's Aviation Committee met with Councilwoman Jolie Justus and Edgemoor representatives this month for an update on the Airport and a look at Edgemoor's initiative to help develop additional minority contracting partners. Edgemoor's Dan Moylan discussed its Strategic Partnership Program, bringing two graduates of the program with him to share their experiences in preparing to work on the airport project. The Aviation Committee provides business community input to Edgemoor and the City Council on regional aviation services needs and concerns.

Airport Advocacy: The KC Chamber, Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, and the Kansas City Area Development Council this month sent a joint letter to the members of the City Council's Aviation Committee urging City Council members to work with deliberation and dispatch to approve the KCI Airport Terminal Modernization Project Development Agreement between the City and Edgemoor. The KC Chamber remains a strong supporter of the new airport terminal as it is vital for our businesses and workforce members and will attract new companies to the region, creating new jobs and growing our city's economy. Airlines have already begun requesting increases to the number of gates in the new terminal which proves there will be more commercial flights coming in and out of KC.



KC BizPAC Results the Political Action Committee of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City endorsed 57 candidates in the 2018 elections in Missouri and Kansas. In Kansas, 88.9% (24/27) of BizPAC supported candidates won while in Missouri, 86.8% (25/30) of BizPAC supported candidates won, good for a total win rate of 87.8%. KC BizPAC congratulates all candidates who have volunteered to serve our region and wishes them success in the upcoming legislative session. Visit here for a complete list of BizPAC endorsements.

Debriefing the Mid Terms: Top Republican strategist, campaigner, and Kansas City native Jeff Roe spoke at the November Public Policy Speaker Series and offered his insights into the 2018 midterm elections and what may be in store for the 2020 elections. One of the more provocative insights Jeff offered was his opinion that Kansas' 3rd District will be a tough district to win back for Republicans. In his analysis of the rural/urban divide and strong propensity among educated voters to vote Democrat, he believes the 3rd District could stay blue for some time to come. Additionally, Jeff believes states such as Missouri, Indiana and Ohio, which had often been bell-weathers for how presidential elections will be decided, will be solidly Republican in 2020 and could stay that way for some time. He believes states such as Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida will be the battleground states for 2020. Jeff also believes Beto O'Rourke, despite a loss in the Texas Senate race, could prove to be a formidable candidate for President Donald Trump. However, if the Democrats try to impeach the president, Jeff believes this will almost certainly ensure President Trump is reelected.