An army of small business owners and representatives stood shoulder to shoulder Friday to give their endorsement to Gov. Sam Brownback’s re-election campaign and urging voters to continue the economic policies implemented in the first four years.
Showing their support for Brownback were the Wichita Independent Business Association, the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce PAC and the Wichita Area Builders Association.
“I’m delighted to get the support. Small business is the engine of the economy. You need that engine to grow,” Brownback said.
The endorsement was made at JR Custom Metal Products, Inc., a business that began in a garage with one man, a welder and a few pieces of equipment in 1974. Today it employees more than 150 workers and continues to grow.
“Our Governor has been working hard to develop an environment where business can grow and thrive in our state,” said Patty Koehler, president and CEO of JR Custom Metals.
She said because of the changes in the tax code signed by the Governor, the firm had the resources to invest $1 million in a new laser cutter that would be used at the metal fabrication company.
Ray Frederick of the Wichita Independent Business Association, said Brownback was bold in his leadership and having “the backbone to stand up for business.” He said not only were taxes lowered for businesses to grow, all tax rates were reduced for all Kansans.
“I feel that’s a good thing,” Frederick said. “There are governors who will give us lip service, but this governor has stood tall and delivered on his word.”
Carl Harris of the Wichita Area Builders Association, said government regulation and increased taxes were the biggest obstacle for small businesses such as his that was founded 29 years ago. He called more the combination of regulations and taxes “a double whammy.”
“Sam Brownback recognizes that it’s not government’s role to create jobs or economic development through increased government spending,” Harris said.
Added Sam Williams of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce PAC: “I think it takes guts for someone to do what the Governor has done over the past four years. It takes guts to stick with what you know is right.”