“I felt like it was a betrayal of trust,” said State Senator Dick Kelsey (R). "Kansans and Kansas leadership put a phenomenal effort forward to get that Boeing contract for the tanker. I don’t think it would have happened without our help and I feel like we deserve some of the work.”
Kansas legislators gathered at a legislative forum at Wichita State University Thursday to receive an update on the budget and hear concerns facing the state. The elected officials are headed to Topeka Monday to begin the 2012 legislative session.
But Boeing’s announcement yesterday that they would be leaving Wichita by the end of 2013 was still on people’s minds.
“As a community, we were very disappointed. We thought we were all community partners,” said State Senator Carolyn McGinn (R). “Our door is open and we welcome any other aviation company or manufacturing company that wants to come here because we feel that we have something that they need - that is excellent employees and a strong working community.
Alan Conroy, the Director of the Kansas Legislative Research Department, gave a presentation and said there are some positive signs in the Kansas economy. Conroy said there is more revenue from individual income tax this year and statewide unemployment is down to 6% from 7% last year.
Conroy said that the group responsible for estimating the state revenue forecast did not factor in Boeing’s departure when making the latest projections.
“We didn’t know [Boeing was leaving Wichita] when we met in November so it’s not been factored in yet,” said Conroy. The group won’t officially meet until April to revise the estimate and so hopefully by then we’ll have a better sense, in terms of the impact and when the impact is going to play out, in terms of Boeing leaving this area.”
State Senator Jean Schodorf said that she met with aviation leaders today and believes Wichita has a strong economic future.
“The future is very bright for aviation in Wichita. We are the still Air Capitol,” said State Senator Jean Schodorf. “We believe we can diversify and bring in new companies into Kansas.”