Kansas lawmakers meeting with industry leaders about recovery

Joplin Area Coronavirus

KANSAS — Kansans are out of work and businesses are struggling, so industry leaders are looking to the government for assistance.

Lawmakers are meeting with just about every industry you can think of.

From healthcare to real estate, to restaurants and utilities.

Coronaviurus is impacting everything.

Ed Cross, Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association, said, “Kansas oil and gas industry has not been spared by the coronavirus.”

Ed Cross was one of the many speakers that lawmakers heard from Thursday.

He says thousands of oil and gas workers in the state have been out of a job because fewer barrels of oil are being produced, and the money isn’t there like it used to be.

“Price of oil is a very very volatile thing and when the price of oil is down, and we went all the way down to as low as 25 cents a barrel here in Kansas, at one point here in April, you can’t make your business go when your revenue is down that low.”

So lawmakers are asking them what can be done to help out.

Julia Lynn, (R) Chair, Economic Recovery Committee, said, “Our people and our businesses are expecting us to move forward in a time frame that is not even further destructive to their personal lives, to their family lives and to their businesses.”

Meat processing plants have been hit hard during the pandemic.

The industry is starting to recover, but farmers are hoping that the months of losses will begin to improve.

Aaron Popelka, Kansas Livestock Association, said, “We’re still working through that backlog of cattle, and so we’re hoping that we can avoid any major shutdowns going into the fall and winter months, and keep these plants rolling.”

Though the legislature doesn’t return until January, lawmakers say it’s important to look for solutions for new policies right away so those making decisions now can have the information they need.

“We need to be recovering now, because we can’t go back to where we were at the beginning of this pandemic,” said Lynn.

Many of the speakers talked about keeping taxes and fees low, the importance of financial assistance, and officials being transparent about what restrictions are in place.

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