Your Chamber at Work - January 23, 2023




Advocating for Kansas City’s business and community interests is an important part of the KC Chamber’s work.  We’re very pleased to see some of our priorities included in proposals from both Governor Parson and Governor Kelly.

One of the issues we’re most concerned about is the lack of available quality childcare, which is keeping too many people out of the workforce. We’ve pushed solutions to the childcare crunch for years in both Missouri and Kansas and our advocacy is finally paying off.

Governor Parson’s budget includes $78 million to increase childcare provider rates. Many childcare slots haven’t opened up since COVID because teachers are not willing to work for the low pay typically offered. We also support any special dispensation for 24-hour care or third shift/swing shift care, which is very important to our manufacturing jobs. His budget also includes a recommendation of $56 million to increase access to Pre-K for 17,000 children and full funding for the K-12 education funding formula and school transportation.

His budget also addresses a long-time priority of the Chamber – expansion of Interstate 70. His $859 million proposal would widen and rebuild I-70 from four to six lanes from St. Louis to Warrenton (20 miles); Kansas City to Odessa (19 miles); and extending both east and west from Columbia (13 miles).

In Topeka, we applaud Governor Kelly’s proposal to add $220 million to the Infrastructure Leveraging Fund. This will allow the state to fully optimize the federal funds flowing into Kansas from the Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

In terms of education (always a Chamber priority) Governor Kelly’s proposal would fully fund K-12 education for the fifth consecutive year. We are also aligned with the proposal to add $72.4 million to fund special education incrementally over the next five years.

As for higher education, we applaud a proposed new investment of $107 million to the post-secondary system, and $4 million for a micro-internship program through the Board of Regents. This will help connect college students with Kansas businesses for internships.

As I mentioned, early childhood education and childcare have been extremely important to the Chamber for quite some time. Last week, Governor Kelly signed an executive order to establish an early childhood task force to determine how state government can better provide for children from birth to kindergarten.

And we’re once again pushing for expansion of Medicaid in Kansas – one of only 11 states that have not expanded Medicaid. If approved (which is a long shot) expansion would start January 1, 2024 and would bring in an estimated $370- to $450-million from the federal government over the next eight quarters.

We’ll hear more from Governor Kelly Tuesday in her annual State of the State message, delayed from last week because of illness.

We’ll keep you informed as the two legislatures continue their work. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about the Chamber’s state legislative priorities, here’s a link to our Missouri Public Policy agenda, and a link to our Kansas agenda.

One final thought: GO CHIEFS!!!


Whether you have one favorite small business or a whole bunch, it’s time to recognize as many as possible. Submit your Small Business Superstars now through February 1. In its third year, the Small Business Superstar program recognizes outstanding for-profit businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Superstars will receive access to special content, networking opportunities, marketing assets, and even a special reception. Thanks to EAG Advertising & Marketing for being our Small Business Superstars Presenting Sponsor!


Grab your friends and colleagues for our next Neighborhood Networking at Startland News, this Friday, January 27 from 8:30 – 10 a.m. Join us at their headquarters at Spark Kansas City, 1475 Walnut. You’ll meet the team behind KC’s non-profit newsroom covering small business and entrepreneurs with a unique style. Hear what they have in store for 2023 and make some connections you can develop in the new year! Register now. Neighborhood Networking is free for Chamber members and $15 for non-members. Thanks to our overall networking sponsors  Delta Dental, and our 2023 Neighborhood Networking Sponsors Kansas City Current, Southwest Airlines, and Unbound.


The KC Chamber and the Urban Land Institute invite you to learn about the future of real estate at Taking the Long View: Emerging Trends in Real Estate, February 15, 3:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. in the KC Chamber Board room.  Real estate experts look at how infrastructure spending, climate change, interest rates, and even “the Amazon Pause” will impact where we work and live. You’ll receive a copy of the Emerging Trends in Real Estate United States and Canada 2023 report and hear how KC markets will respond. This event is $45 for Chamber members and $60 for non-members.


Celebrate healthy workplaces in KC at our annual Healthy KC Breakfast & Vendor Expo, 8 a.m. - 10 a.m., March 9, at Hy-Vee Arena, 1800 Genessee St, KCMO. This year our theme is Filling the Gap: A Holistic Approach to Retention. Staying at a workplace is often about more than a paycheck. A group of experts will discuss how everything from personal health resources to the psychosocial work environment to community involvement and more can be key to retaining your strong workforce. Healthy KC Workplace Wellness Certified Companies will also be celebrated, and we’ll open the 2023 Healthy KC Certification. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time to connect with health-focused vendors who can help your workforce be its healthiest yet. The event is $35 for Chamber members and $45 for non-members.