In a report of progress to Kansans, Gov. Sam Brownback said the state is moving in the right direction.
“The last decade was a lost decade for jobs in Kansas," Brownback said. "Fewer Kansans were working in private sector jobs in January 2011 than were in January of 2001. A growing government and a shrinking private sector are not sustainable. Fixing that is our top priority.”
Brownback pointed out that Kansas has had some concrete accomplishments.
“Now we are now gaining private sector jobs," he said. "Our unemployment rate is beginning to tick down, and our state revenues are growing. And with key economic growth tools now in place like Expensing and Rural Opportunity Zones, companies are really beginning to take notice that Kansas wants not only to compete for their business but that we intend to win their business."
In the last week, Mars Chocolate North America announced its intention to build a new manufacturing plant in Topeka and initially hire 200 employees and FishNet Security announced it is bringing 175 jobs to Overland Park and expects to add another 119 in the next five years.
Since taking office on Jan. 10, the Department of Commerce, Department of Transportation and other agencies have worked with dozens of companies to either move them to Kansas or expand their current operations, creating 3,163 jobs.
Brownback said the administration also was working to “right size” state government through its reforming efforts.
“Kansans want a state government that is focused on its core responsibilities and is living within its means,” Brownback said. “Our administration spent five months reviewing how state agencies and programs operate and has developed plans to streamline and make them more responsive to the needs of Kansans. Reforming state government is a process of continuous improvement. We want Kansas to work better and to work more efficiently.”
Among the administration’s efforts to reform state government:
--Beginning to control costs through restructuring.
--Implementing six executive reorganization orders.
--Preparing for reduction in federal funding.
“We are moving in right direction – and that's good, and we've got some more great announcements on the way, but we have a lot of work to do to make up for that lost decade,” Brownback said. “To grow the state long-term we need a fundamentally new tax code that rewards investment and makes us more competitive globally for entrepreneurs and capital. That's how we'll grow and keep jobs for generations to come.”
Brownback said in the coming weeks he would announce an advisory group led by Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan to study the state’s tax code and an advisory group to study reforming the state’s educational system.