Creating Kansas Jobs and Protecting Kansas Workers
Without good jobs Kansas families would be unable to take advantage of all the opportunities life in our state has to offer. As such, Kansas Democrats are unwavering in their efforts to encourage the creation of new, good jobs to our state. We recognize government cannot and should not be the primary job creator in any state, which is why we have sought to form partnerships with businesses – encouraging the private sector to create good jobs here in Kansas and helping businesses that play by the rules to succeed.
In recent years, Kansas Democrats have been leaders in efforts to support the development of small businesses and the recruitment of new, high-tech industries to Kansas. We believe new opportunities in fields as diverse as bio-science research and renewable energy hold great promise for our state’s workers. We will continue to lead efforts to encourage the development of these industries in our state as well as strengthen our existing industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, and aviation. In addition, we are dedicated to encouraging exports of Kansas products.
Kansas Democrats recognize our economy and thousands of jobs depend on our transportation network, which is why we support the completion of the Comprehensive Transportation Plan. In addition to promoting job creation, Kansas Democrats strongly support efforts to protect Kansas workers. We believe every man and woman should be paid an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work, which is why we support paying the prevailing wage on state projects and initiatives to pay workers a wage they can live on. Kansas Democrats led the successful fight to increase the state minimum wage.
Kansas Democrats believe all workers are entitled to a safe workplace. When a worker is injured, we believe they should receive fair and equitable treatment and compensation. Kansas Democrats support unemployment insurance that is adequately funded and provides income stability to workers laid off due to no fault of their own.
Kansas Democrats recognize the value of our public employees and will continue to support market-based compensation for state employees. We support strengthened funding for the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System.
Kansas jobs won’t be exported, unemployed workers will be protected against job discrimination, work training and post-secondary/technical educational programs will be strengthened and unscrupulous hiring practices will be halted under a Kansas Democratic plan.
The Kansas Jobs First effort is a fiscally responsible, budget-strengthening plan that will bring job opportunities to Kansas and add as much as $9.7million to the state general fund over the next three years. (The state general fund pays for education, hospitals and other necessities.) The funding will come through a variety of sources, including limiting tax breaks for companies that outsource. Kansas Jobs First consists of 14 bills Democratic legislators plan to introduce during the 2012 Legislative session.
Among the proposals is The Hire Kansas First Act. Instead of sending millions of dollars of work to out-of-state firms as happened in the Ambassador Hotel and Fairfield Inn projects, contractors or subcontractors working on state contracts of a certain size will have to ensure that at least 70 percent of the employees working on the contract are Kansas residents.
Another proposal, The Keep Jobs in Kansas Act, will prohibit the state from contracting with or providing economic development assistance to companies that ship work to other countries. “As Kansas emerges from the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, more than 50,000 Kansas workers remain unemployed. Unfortunately, too many of these unemployed Kansans are now finding it impossible to find a job, simply because there aren’t enough jobs to go around or because they may lack the skills necessary to meet the needs of today’s market,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley.
House Minority Leader Paul Davis said Kansas has to do better. “There is no reason why any willing Kansan should ever be without a good-paying job they can be proud of,” Davis said. “There’s no reason for a student to go without basic job skills because he can’t afford to pay tuition. And there’s no reason a small business should be forced to close its doors because a larger competitor sent its business overseas.”