Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson responded to a critique of his vetoes yesterday by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, which were included in a press release from the Tim Huelskamp campaign.
I understand that as the Legislature heads home in an election year, things tend to take a political turn. However, I find myself once again completely dismayed at the behavior of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
The three largest utilities in Kansas – Westar Energy, KCP&L and Sunflower Electric – are all members of the Kansas Chamber.
Each of those companies contacted my office, asking that I veto the Huelskamp Proviso. They each stated that allowing it to become law would delay projects – thus delaying, jobs, economic development and growth for our state.
After consulting with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, I agreed with this interpretation. The Huelskamp proviso was bad public policy. Therefore, I vetoed it.
I would expect that the Chamber would be thankful that the wishes of its members – companies which employ hundreds of Kansans, contribute to our economy and keep our lights on – were met.
But instead, they reacted with another political attack – and categorized their own members, who were the ‘real beneficiaries’ of this veto, as ‘radical environmentalists’.
This constant rhetoric from the Kansas Chamber must stop. It is a black eye upon our state as we try to recruit companies to Kansas. Businesses expect the state chamber to be a common sense, balanced entity. Instead, it has become a partisan political machine that is counter-productive to our efforts to create jobs, grow the economy and move Kansas forward.