Gov. Kelly joins bipartisan coalition urging Congress to strengthen auto supply chain

Gov.Laura Kelly today announced she has joined a bipartisan coalition of governors from across the country urging Congressional leadership to approve full funding of the Creating Helpful Incentives for the Production of Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act.

Gov. Kelly, along with Govs. Tony Evers, Wisconsin; Roy Cooper, North Carolina; Andy Beshear, Kentucky; Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania; Kay Ivey, Alabama; J.B. Pritzker, Illinois; Gavin Newsom, California; and Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan, sent a letter to Congress urging swift action to fund the bipartisan program that will turbocharge U.S. production of semiconductors, including the “mature node” chips that are critically important to automakers and parts suppliers, and strengthen the supply chain.

“As the global semiconductor shortage continues to challenge our automotive manufacturing industry and threaten our supply chain, it is critical that Congress take immediate action on the CHIPS Act,” Gov. Kelly said. “I look forward to working with our federal partners – and with my fellow governors – to deliver solutions for our auto manufacturing industry that will secure our supply chain, create jobs, protect our workers, and further strengthen our state’s already booming economy.”

The letter details that supply challenges have idled auto plants across the country, impacting more than 575,000 auto-related jobs.

In Kansas City, Kansas, the General Motors’ plant first shift is working, but the second shift is laid off because of parts shortages.

The bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), already passed by the Senate, included funding for the CHIPS Act re-shoring provisions. It includes $52 billion in incentives to boost domestic semiconductor production and research, $2 billion of which would be dedicated to incentivizing production of the “mature node” semiconductors used by automakers and parts suppliers. These chips are also a key component for other manufacturing sectors, including medical devices, agricultural machinery like farm tractors and combines, as well as radiation-proof chips required by the national defense industrial base.

In the letter, the governors urge the House and Senate to come together to find common ground on the USICA, including full funding for the CHIPS Act..

The governors’ letter is online at https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/MIEOG/2021/11/09/file_attachments/1991877/Multistate%20Letter%20re%20CHIPS%20Act%20Funding%20-%20Nov%202021.pdf

COVID booster shots now available to all fully vaccinated adults in Kansas

Gov. Laura Kelly and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announced today all fully vaccinated Kansans over the age of 18 are now eligible for COVID-19 booster shots.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is free, safe, effective, and the best way to keep our communities protected from this virus,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “Expanding access to booster shots will help us put an end to this deadly pandemic. Whether you are considering your first shot or signing up for a booster, I urge everyone to get the facts and get vaccinated.”

All Kansans at least 18 years old and have met the 6-month time period following the primary vaccination series for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or it has been at least 2 months since their Johnson and Johnson vaccine are eligible and encouraged to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“As we move into the winter months, Kansans will increasingly be indoors, putting themselves at greater risk of contracting the virus,” Dr. Lee Norman, Kansas health secretary, said. “Allowing Kansans to self-determine their risk of exposure to COVID-19 ensures that every tool is available to protect themselves and reduce the possibility of a winter COVID-19 surge.”

Available data right now show that all three of the COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the Delta variant.

Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and reduce the spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging. To find a COVID-19 vaccine clinic visit Vaccines.gov.

Sales tax plan could save Kansans $500 a year on their grocery bills, governor says

Gov. Laura Kelly said today that that her plan to “Axe the Food Tax,” ending the sales tax on food, will save the average Kansan family $500 on their annual grocery bill.

“For too long, Kansans have been paying more for groceries than people in almost every other state,” Gov. Kelly said in a press conference with weekly and small publications.

She said the state can cut food sales tax and keep Kansas’ budget intact thanks to fiscally responsible decisions they made before and during the pandemic.

When asked about the timing of the plan, Gov Kelly said, “Anybody who knows me knows that I am incredibly fiscally conservative. I don’t like to spend money I don’t have, and it really wasn’t until this time, in this budget cycle, that I am very comfortable that we have the revenues to cover the elimination of the food sales tax and will be able to sustain that going forward.

“We have been very responsible over the past three budget cycles,” she said. “As people know, we have fully funded our schools and we are on the brink of actually closing the bank of KDOT so we will no longer be robbing the highway fund to fill holes in the system. We are in good financial shape, we’re solid, this is sustainable, and this is the right time to do it.”

The details of the plan are to eliminate the state sales tax on food immediately, the governor said in answer to a question.

“We have the money available to us right now to go ahead and fully eliminate the 6.5% state sales tax on food. So it will go away as soon as the bill becomes law and the law takes effect. It could be as early as April 1, but more likely July 1st,” Gov. Kelly said.

Gov. Kelly said she is optimistic about the food sales tax passing.

“Given the revenues that we have coming in now and given most people’s interest in doing something about the food sales tax – and given that the Speaker of the House and Senate President have both voiced support – I am optimistic,” she said. “The real trick here will be to get it through the legislative session cleanly – which means this bill will be introduced as a complete elimination of the state food sales tax with nothing else married to it so we can implement it even sooner.”


The overall fiscal impact on the state of removing the state food sales tax is about $450 million a year, Gov. Kelly said.

“In terms of the impact on locals, this bill will have no impact,” she said. “The local sales tax rates are set by the local officials and there will be nothing in this bill that would impact their ability to continue to control those rates in concert with their citizens.”