The El Dorado City Commission agreed to drop their membership from the Kansas Chamber of Commerce after the Chamber’s recent stand that taxes are too high.


The El Dorado City Commission agreed to drop their membership from the Kansas Chamber of Commerce after the Chamber’s recent stand that taxes are too high.

Herb Llewellyn, city manager, expressed concern to the commissioners over the chamber’s recent comments that vilify governments at all levels and said he didn’t see what they got out of their membership when the chamber was doing so much to hurt governments.

“They led the charge for removing property taxes for the railroads and AT&T,” he gave as one example of what they have done.

“They continually champion cutting revenues for government generally and local governments specifically that is is not in our best interest,” Llewellyn continued. “I think the people in El Dorado need the ability to pay for whatever services they want.

“When the champion reducing taxes on entities and then not making up the revenue, you, because of the limited amount of sources of revenue, have to raise property taxes in your local jurisdiction.

“I don’t think I want to renew with the Kansas Chamber unless you all feel strongly about it. I know the school district is very disenchanted as well.”

He said there also was talk about whether the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce wants to continue to be a member.

“The only thing they really work hard for us on is getting us to renew our dues,” he said.

A controversy erupted recently with the Kansas Chamber when, on May 8, Chamber Interim President Kent Beisner said “the legislature failed to address the needs and wishes of the business community. It has instead catered to the needs of those at the government trough. The Kansas legislature has turned a deaf ear to the hard-working businessmen and women who have made the decision to invest in Kansas and provide jobs for our citizens. Instead of responsibly funding state government without raising taxes, a coalition of liberal House and Senate members have instead chosen to slash crucial services and push for a historic tax hike on Kansas families.”

Following Beisner’s comments, Gov. Mark Parkinson stated, “It is heartbreaking to think that somebody would equate the disabled, the elderly, school children, veterans, law enforcement and the poor to pigs at a trough.”

Many newspaper editorial departments emphasized the “pigs at the trough” phrase when criticizing the chamber president’s comments to the legislature. From there, many bloggers and letter writers attributed the quote to the chamber.

Several cities have since decided to withdraw from the Kansas Chamber.

The consensus of the commission was to drop their membership.