E-Tax Success: Big Win for KC Business

Chaaron Pearson on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 1:01:46 pm 

This April, the Greater Kansas City Chamber celebrated a victory as Kansas City, Mo., voters voted overwhelmingly to keep a one percent earning tax. The final vote was 78 percent in favor of retention; 22 percent against.

The campaign to retain the tax was organized and led by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. The earnings tax represents 40 percent of Kansas City’s general revenue funding. Greater Kansas City Chamber President and CEO Jim Heeter said, “It was a campaign that truly unified the city. Our voters showed their innate good sense by approving – by a landslide – the City’s biggest source of revenue. They understood the ramifications of losing $200 million a year from the part of the city budget that pays for police and fire protection and for the basic services that our residents require.”

The vote on the city’s earnings tax was forced by a statewide initiative approved by Missouri voters last November. Following that election, the Chamber joined with the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, the Heavy Constructors Association, the AFL-CIO and Firefighters Local 42. The group raised more than $1 million to fund the “Keep KC Alive” campaign. Five campaign co-chairs were recruited for an aggressive grassroots campaign and more than 100 business, civic, religious and neighborhood organizations rallied to endorse the tax. The work is not done. There will be a similar vote every five years. The Chamber is now focusing its efforts on legislation in the Missouri General Assembly to extend the required vote from five to 20 years.

Read more:
Statement from James A. “Jim” Heeter, President and CEO, Greater Kansas City Chamber Voters in St. Louis/KC agree to keep earnings tax
KCTV5: Kansas City Earnings Tax Passes by Large Margin

Tags: Taxes

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Earmarks are gone
but requests aren’t

Chaaron Pearson on Friday, May 27, 2011 at 1:02:30 pm 

I recently had the opportunity to network with the Des Moines Partnership delegation during their opening cocktail reception at Union Station. As you can see, they had quite the crowd!


And, earlier this week I received this email from GR Division Chair, Jay Byers:

"As chambers across the country are looking to reposition their DC fly-ins in the post earmark world, the editorial that the Des Moines Register ran on May 22 on the Des Moines Partnership trip does a nice job of making our case on how we modified our trip this year." Read the full article: Earmarks are gone, but requests aren’t

Columnist Rox Laird tackles a sticky point for chambers that are used to visiting Washington to lobby for earmarks. He quotes U.S. Rep Tom Latham, R-IA as saying “Washington is a different town that it was even a year ago.  The conversation today is not ‘How much will you spend?’ but ‘How much can we keep at home.’”

Laird says that with “earmark” being a dirty word, you would think the Des Moines Partnership’s trip would be pointless, but that’s not the case. The partnership had a long list of projects to pitch to lawmakers and federal agencies, and it didn’t include only spending requests. There were policy issues that affect central Iowa’s economy, security and quality of life.

Laird ends the article saying “no matter how the money is raised or how it is doled out, the federal government will always play a major role in building and maintaining the nation, whether it be highways and bridges, flood-control projects, airports or public education.” And that is exactly why a federal fly-in during "earmark unfriendly" times is far from pointless.

Tags: Appropriations, DC Fly-in, Earmarks

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Tales from a Border City

Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 1:03:19 pm 

El Paso has been a key to the immigration conversation. For example, Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Dayoub serves on Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s Southwest Border Security Task Force. He recently wrote an article for the El Paso Times on immigration reform and its importance to our economy. His article was referenced in the White House summary report on Immigration Reform released after President Obama’s speech in El Paso on May 10 (transcript). 

Read Richard’s Op-Ed: Richard Dayoub: Fix immigration, boost our economy

The administration has reached out to Richard and other business leaders to participate on task forces or in Immigration Action Roundtables with other community leaders, including faith organizations and law enforcement. The Obama administration hopes that by conducting Immigration Action Roundtables in communities around the country (like this round table in Omaha: Entrepreneurs key to fixing our broken immigration system) that a bipartisan national conversation on immigration can help fix our broken system.

Read more: Blueprint for Building a 21st Century Immigration System
Secretary Napolitano Op-Ed: It’s time for congress to act on border security

Tags: Immigration

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Investing in Community Starts at Home

Tania Kohut on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

As many areas across the country see declining home values, the Forest Park (IL) Chamber of Commerce is fighting the trend by encouraging its residents to invest in its community. How? Through its annual Pride Awards, the Chamber recognizes commercial and residential property owners who have shown pride in Forest Park by making a significant investment in their property and ultimately in the community.  The thought is that money spent on home improvement means curb appeal; it might also prompt neighbors to act similarly and eventually result in increased beautification of an overall area, which could mean higher property values. Read more about the Awards, now in their 17th year, and what they mean for the community here.

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Giving Thanks . . . in May

Tania Kohut on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 
Call it "Thanksgiving in May!" This month, more than 100 Chattanooga Area (TN) Chamber of Commerce volunteers will go door-to-door delivering collective thank-yous to 1,100 member businesses. The gesture is part of Operation Thank You, the Chamber’s coordinated effort to show appreciation for its member businesses. In addition to delivering face-to-face expressions of gratitude, Operation Thank You volunteers will provide each member business a personal appreciation packet. According to Christi Broom, Operation Thank You chair, “We want to remind our businesses that their Chattanooga Chamber membership extends to each of their employees. The more they engage their staff in Chattanooga Chamber activities and events, the more opportunities they have to translate their membership into more business.” Read more here.

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Brookings: Missed Opportunity Transit Report

Chaaron Pearson on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 1:03:57 pm 

It seemed fitting that on my way to the Brookings Institute yesterday morning for the presentation on Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America, I hit a typical DC traffic snag and crawled from Alexandria to DC for two long hours.  I fancy myself to be a runner and smiled a weak smile of satisfaction when I discovered I could have run there faster than I could drive in my car.  I then chastised myself for not taking the Metro to a Transit report unveiling.  What was I thinking? 

Brookings had a great line-up to discuss the roll out of the Missed Opportunity report.  Robert Puentes, Senior Fellow at Brookings gave an overview of the study and there was a panel discussion about the implications of the findings followed by Secretary LaHood and Secretary Donovan discussing the federal role. 

The real star of the show was the Missed Opportunity report.  Visit Brookings site to read the full report and all of the supporting content.  Be sure to check out the interactive map.     

Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metro America

Interactive Map: Transit Access to Jobs in Metropolitan America

Missed Opportunity: 100 Metropolitan Profiles

“Dr. Gridlock”, Robert Thomson, of the Washington Post moderated the panel of Keith Parker, CEO, Via Transit Systems, San Antonio, TX; Matthew Mahood, President and CEO, Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce; Ponsella Hardaway, Executive Director, Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES); and Alan Berube, Senior Fellow and Research Director, Metropolitan Policy Program, from Brookings.  Here are some of the things I sent out into the twittersphere during the panel:

Following the panel discussion, Bruce Katz joined Secretary Ray LaHood (Transportation) and Secretary Shaun Donovan (HUD) to talk about what the Feds are doing about transit.  Secretary LaHood and Secretary Donovan have been working together very closely over the past two and a half years.  Again, here are some notable quotes that I tweeted:


Again, here is the link for the Missed Opportunity page on Brookings site: Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America.

Tags: Infrastructure, Transportation

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South Carolina fights for Boeing plant

Chaaron Pearson on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

Boeing Co. is planning to construct a $1 billion production facility in South Carolina and has run into opposition from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  The NLRB claims that Boeing selected South Carolina because they do not want to deal with a unionized aerospace workforce.  NLRB is pursuing an order to keep the production line in the Pacific Northwest which has a unionized aerospace workforce.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, the state attorney general and members of the state’s congressional delegation were in Washington D.C. to ask for President Obama to respond to the NLRB’s findings.  The administration has stayed away from the dispute because NLRB is an independent agency.

Governor Haley views these findings as a serious blow to free enterprise and she “wants to make sure it never touches another state,” Haley said in an appearance at the U.S. Chamber according to CNN.

The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, in a statement regarding the NLRB findings distributed to their members today, expressed their displeasure with the NLRB decision.  President and CEO, Bryan Derreberry, said “our chamber fully supports Boeing’s decision to build the Final Assembly and Delivery facility here in North Charleston.”  He also went on to say that “Boeing is committed, for the long-term, to our community and state and we are equally committed to ensuring their success.” 

Read more: South Carolina dials up pressure over Boeing plant
Wall Street Journal: Boeing is pro-growth, not anti-union
Charleston statement to members
NLRB Complaint Legal Fact Sheet Top republicans demand Obama weigh in on Boeing dispute

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A closer look at the Partnership for a New American Economy

Chaaron Pearson on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

This post, authored by Marty Carpenter, appears on the Salt Lake Chamber’s blog.  You can visit the original post here.  Marty and Robin Riggs, both from the Salt Lake Chamber presented last week’s Government Relations Peer-to-Peer call on Immigration – the Utah Compact.

Partnership for a New American Economy from Salt Lake Chamber on Vimeo.

Immigration was the most hotly contested issue in the past legislative session. The Salt Lake Chamber is one of the original signatories of The Utah Compact, a document outlining five guiding principles to guide Utah’s immigration discussion. The first principle of The Utah Compact states that immigration is a federal issue. The Chamber, along with other business, community and religious leaders, supports immigration reform at the national level.

Jeremy Robbins, policy advisor for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, helps manage the Partnership for a New American Economy, a coalition of business leaders and mayors joined to make the economic case for smarter economic reforms.

Robbins spoke to a group of business leaders at the Chamber. He sat down to discuss the goals his organization, the need for national reform and the economic impact of immigration policies.

Read more: A closer look at the Partnership for a New American Economy
Deseret News: ‘Smart’ immigration reform would create more American jobs, speaker says
The Salt Lake Tribune: SLC-area mayors are urged to make immigration an economic issue
Chamber Executive: Immigration:  A Business and Chamber Issue
ACCE Policy Clearinghouse Blog: Utah Compact on Immigration

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Local Chambers of Commerce Go International - Again

Evan Sundwick on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

The Census Bureau's Foreign Trade Division blog recently asked ACCE's Senior Vice President of Member and Sponsor Relations, Chris Mead, to write a guest column about chambers of commerce getting involved in international business. Here's an excerpt!

From the earliest days, international trade has been a major concern for local chambers of commerce. The first U.S. chamber was born in 1768 in New York out of struggles with the Stamp Act. Shortly afterward, in 1773, the Charleston Chamber of Commerce was formed to help land British tea safely on shore. In 1819, the Savannah Chamber’s leading members sent the first steamship across the Atlantic. Other chambers lobbied for a railroad and a canal across Panama, helped lay the first transatlantic telegraph cables, and even named and financed Lindbergh's plane, The Spirit of Saint Louis, for its world-shrinking trip across the ocean in 1927. Commerce - not surprisingly - is in the institutional bones of chambers of commerce.

In recent years, however, much of the attention of these business associations has focused more on domestic matters. With a vast internal U.S. market to develop, and relatively limited resources to go abroad, most local chambers have tended to stay close to home. Getting the local highway completed or keeping an eye on the city council have taken precedence over learning about markets in Austria or Australia.

Read the rest of the blog post at >>

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Summer Jobs Program for Teens in Genesee County (MI)

Tania Kohut on Monday, May 9, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 
A recent study announced that one in four teens will land a summer job this year. That's hard news to take for many teens relying on that summer job to make some extra cash. But, thanks to a grant the Genesee Regional (MI) Chamber of Commerce has received for a summer jobs program, teenagers in Genesee County will have extra help finding work this summer. The one-year $800,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation will help prepare more than 500 teens for the workforce and to connect them to job opportunities in the community. Learn more here.
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