C of C has
issues with state
Citing concerns that the Missouri Chamber of
Commerce doesnt adequately support school
districts, the Platte City Area Chamber of Commerce
(PCACC) has issued a resolution calling upon the
governor and the Missouri General Assembly to
end partisan bickering as they struggle to provide
While the resolution doesnt mention the
Missouri Chamber of Commerce by name, both Platte
County R-3 Superintendent Mark Harpst and PCACC
director Karen Wagoner criticized the state chamber
in a recent meeting of the chamber.
At the meeting, held Thursday in the Northland
Career Center, Dr. Harpst called on the state
chamber to open their ears and eyes to local
The controversy stems out of the states
budget crisis and Gov. Bob Holdens withholding
of nearly $200 million from the states public
education budget. The state chamber has come under
fire from some area chambers for opposing certain
corporate tax increase proposals. The state chamber
believes that corporate tax hikes would hurt Missouri
more than help in the long run.
They need to get tuned in to their local
chambers, Wagoner told The Landmark. They
dont seem to plug themselves in and find
out (whats happening in local towns). The
smaller local chambers support their school districts,
and we understand the importance of a strong educational
system when it comes to economic issues.
In response to a Webb City Area Chamber of Commerce
letter to the state chamber a letter referenced
by both Harpst and Wagoner state chamber
president Dan Mehan outlined his group's position
on state funding for education.
Let me assure you, the Missouri Chamber
of Commerce and Industry is in complete support
of providing the funding that gives all Missouri
children a quality education, Mehan wrote.We
have never supported an agenda that would cut
public education funding, nor will we in the future
support an agenda that harms Missouris public
Mehan said any claims to the contrary were both
unfair and inaccurate.
There are those that have attempted to
frame the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industrys
opposition to the inequitable corporate tax increases
that were proposed during the 2002 and 2003 Legislative
Sessions as a position against public education
funding, Mehan said. We objected to
the corporate tax increase proposals in the last
legislative session because most were unwise and
would have caused far more damage to Missouris
economy than any tax revenue that would have been
This is not the first time in recent months in
which Platte City has had a disagreement over
financial issues with the state chamber. The Platte
City aldermen voted in September to be excluded
from the states proposed sales tax holiday
for back-to-school supplies from Aug. 13-15.
In that decision, city aldermen expressed concern
over potential lost revenues. The state chamber
has criticized the nearly 38 counties and 68 cities
who have also chosen to opt out of the plan. In
addition to Platte City, Blue Springs, Excelsior
Springs, Riverside, Smithville and St. Joseph
are among the cities to exclude themselves from
the tax holiday.
The chamber believes that in addition to affording
families a break on school supplies many
of which are now being required by certain school
districts it could actually boost sales
of non-exempt items in stores.
We think its a knee-jerk reaction,
Ray McCarty, director of financial affairs for
the Missouri Chamber of Commerce recently told
the Kansas City Star. Its an age-old
thinking that the state shouldnt be pushing
that down to a local level.
Wagoner said she hopes for the opposite, that
the state chamber and area chambers will have
a closer relationship in the future.
The bottom line is, before they used to
represent the local chambers, Wagoner said.
Right now they dont."