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The best way the Kansas Legislature and Governor Sam Brownback can help the Kansas economy is to be active and stay committed.
It sounds like a New Year's resolution, but Jeremy Hill, director of Wichita State University's Center for Economic Development and Business Research, said Kansas lawmakers have to be steadfast in whatever direction they choose to take.
"Businesses don't mind uncertainty within markets, because markets they can understand, they can try to predict and can try to hedge bets against," Hill said. "What they can't do is massive changes in policy."
Hill said Wichita is doing better with unemployment than national numbers, but the United States economy is growing faster than it is locally. He said Wichita is expected to have a 1.7 percent growth in employment, with professional services making up the biggest part of it.
Within aviation, the supply chain and structure is in place in Wichita - the challenge is making it known. Kansas ranked near the top in several categories of a recent aerospace competitiveness study that considered factors such as labor access and cost structures, Hill said.
"When it came down to do those composite scores, Kansas came out to be the top place for aviation companies to be as being competitive," Hill said. "But that doesn't mean they have to be here. There are other barriers still out there that weren't tangible in cost that keep Kansas and Wichita from being the most competitive place."
Brownback and other key figures need to be more engaged in aerospace conferences across the globe to promote Kansas' assets, Hill said.
Hill expects aviation will remain a critical fixture in Wichita for years, but that the city can also attract other industries because of quality production workers.
However, he warns that continued uncertainty with the national "fiscal cliff" will keep businesses weary. Demand will eventually firm up and businesses will get excited about opportunities again, but they need resolution on the nation's spending.
"It's going to drag the U.S. economy, which is going to have a drag here on our economy," Hill said.
KFDI News Anchor Kyle McCaskey interviews Hill on the "At Issue" program. A copy of the podcast can be found by clicking here.