RELEASE: Paul Davis unveils commonsense economic vision for Kansas

At events in Wichita and Kansas City today, candidate for governor Paul Davis outlined his commonsense vision for the Kansas economy 

and announced the appointment of former Republican Lieutenant Governor Gary Sherrer and former Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Moore as senior economic advisers to the campaign. 

The bipartisan leaders, both of whom bring extensive experience in Kansas’ private sector, are tasked with engaging a diverse collection of business leaders and economic development professionals to develop recommendations for private-sector job growth in Kansas.

“The key to our success and the answers to our challenges are here in Kansas,” said Davis. “By bringing Kansans together and recommitting ourselves to proven solutions, we can find Kansas Solutions. John and Gary have decades of private-sector experience and were highly successful Kansas Secretaries of Commerce. They share my vision that our economic success should be rooted in proven methods - not experiments.”

“Paul Davis puts partisanship aside when it comes to finding solutions,” said Jill Docking, Davis’ running mate. “This is indicative of the leadership style Paul will bring to the office. He will work with experts right here in Kansas, and more to the point, he will be a governor who listens to what those experts have to say.”

Working with Sherrer and Moore, Davis has established key principles for private-sector job creation. In contrast to Brownback’s “red state model,” Davis will focus on local partnerships between the state and Kansas communities while also incentivizing job growth with accountability measures.

"Sam Brownback has no private sector credentials to grow the Kansas economy and relied on one Washington DC consultant to craft his stimulus package of extreme tax cuts,” said Moore. “Our governor has given away $2 billion worth of tax revenue without the guarantee of a single Kansas job. That is not pro-growth – that is profoundly irresponsible. On the other hand, Paul Davis has involved successful Kansas business leaders to develop Kansas Solutions, a proven and fiscally responsible approach to creating jobs in Kansas.”

Sherrer and Moore’s work engaging private-sector leaders will be rooted in the guiding principles of the Davis/Docking economic strategy:

Public Education and Workforce Training: The state must provide a strong public education system with K-12, technical/community colleges, higher education institutions that produce Kansans who are qualified for good paying jobs;
Partnerships: Economic development must be driven by Kansas communities which have challenges and opportunities that are unique to them. The state must encourage and facilitate community public/private partnerships;
Infrastructure: A strong infrastructure - roads, highways, water, energy, technology, and public safety - must provide the support necessary for economic success and growth;
Image: Kansas must be aggressively promoted to establish a positive image - through rural culture, arts, marketing, and quality of life - in order to better attract and cultivate new business opportunities.

"There is no magic bullet in economic development and job creation,” said Sherrer. “To suggest a massive income tax cut that is skewed to the wealthy is such a magic bullet, is fiscally irresponsible, defies logic and facts and undermines those elements critical to economic development - quality, affordable education and solid infrastructure. The number one demand of businesses is a well trained, educated workforce. Cutting funding to education and driving up tuition impacts quality, affordability and availability. We need to get back to the basics: community partnerships, increased resources to support community efforts, new creative programs to attract new business and aggressive marketing both nationally and internationally."

To deliver on these guiding principles, the state must have a strong fiscal outlook. In less than a year, Moody’s Investor Service has downgraded the state’s credit rating twice, state revenues have plummeted more than $300 million below estimates, and Kansas faces a $1.2 billion budget deficit. And in the last six months, Kansas was one of only five states in the country to lose jobs. The viability of Kansas’ long-term economic growth is at risk. Therefore, Davis recommends:

● Postponing the next phase of the Brownback tax cuts until public education funding is restored to pre-recession levels. Income tax rates will remain at their January 1, 2015 level. This action alone will significantly address long-term budget projections without raising taxes on a single Kansan.

● Immediately upon taking office, Davis will establish a bipartisan tax commission to address two key issues:

1. Accountability measures within the tax code and targeted incentives for job growth.
2. Proposals aimed at reversing the $400 million property tax increase that has occurred during the Brownback administration.

“We cannot clean up Sam Brownback's mess overnight,” said Davis. “What I’m proposing are commonsense ideas that prioritize our public schools, incentivize real job creation, and empower communities to maximize their unique opportunities for growth.”

In collaboration with Sherrer and Moore, Davis has begun hosting small group meetings across the state to collect feedback on measures targeting diverse sectors of the economy. Recommendations resulting from these meetings will be put forward throughout the campaign.

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