Lawmakers discuss economic recovery, effects of lockdown

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Many legislators are hoping to avoid another lockdown because of the coronavirus.

Most states, including Kansas, went into a lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic, but not all of them did. It forced many restaurants and stores to close in the affected areas.

Dave Trabert, CEO of the Kansas Policy Institute, said some of the states that didn’t lock down are fairing better than ones that closed up.

On Monday, Trabert spoke to a committee of lawmakers to stress that the impact on businesses and people’s jobs has to be considered when making decisions.

“COVID obviously is a serious situation, but you can’t just look at COVID, you have to look at the consequences of trying to stop, you can’t stop it, it’s a virus, it will spread. You have to look consequences,” Trabert said.

Gov. Laura Kelly has said she doesn’t plan on shutting down businesses again.

“Comparing data, looking at what we know and what we don’t know, seeing what works and what doesn’t work is always useful, regardless of what’s going on with any sort of economic fluctuation,” said Overland Park Representative Stephanie Clayton, a member of the committee.

Now more targeted approaches are being implemented by local officials including capacity restrictions and limiting hours of operation. Some people said the economy is still suffering because of government mandates.

“This is going to have an enormous devastating effect on the hospitality industry, the bars and the restaurants, even now with the curfews,” Trabert said.

Lawmakers are looking for ways to help. They discussed what possible changes could happen including tax relief.

Clayton said she wants to look for solutions that help the people most in need, but also to find answers that can help in multiple ways.

“I would like to see a childcare tax credit, because I think that this has the dual positivity of not only helping families who need childcare in order to get back to work, but also helping fledgling childcare business owners by increasing the amount of people that are patronizing their businesses,” Clayton said.

Members of the special committee on economic recovery heard from industry experts on what would help the most in possible bills during the next legislative session. The committee also meets on Tuesday.

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