We are continuing our series on campaign words by asking: What does it mean when a candidate says, “I’ve been endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce.”
Most people think it is a good thing because they think about the many small businesses that are members of local Chambers of Commerce and about local Chamber promotions to get people to shop locally. But there is another side of the Chamber you probably won’t like if you are conservative, especially the State Chamber of Commerce.
FIVE REASONS “ENDORSED BY THE CHAMBER” IS A WARNING SIGN
- OPPOSING CONSERVATIVE LEGISLATION. The State Chamber of Commerce fights against socially conservative legislation.
Transgender procedures on minors. The State Chamber of Commerce OPPOSED legislation to protect children from being subjected to sex change procedures (including such things as chemical castration and chemicals to prevent the child from going through puberty). Now the Chamber has joined in a court brief to try to strike down the new law.[i] The Chamber says the law protecting children hurts the economy. They are more concerned about what some woke corporation thinks than about protecting a minor from being subjected to sex change procedures that will change them for the rest of their life.
Conscience and religious freedom rights of healthcare workers. The Chamber OPPOSED legislation to protect healthcare workers from having to perform procedures that violate their conscience or religion. The two most discussed procedures were abortions and transgender procedures.[ii] The Chamber would rather force a healthcare worker to violate his or her conscience or religion than simply have another healthcare worker handle the procedure.
Firing of unvaccinated workers. On July 1, 2021, the Chamber (in partnership with the Governor and Friday Law Firm) released the blueprint which companies apparently followed to force COVID-19 vaccines on their employees.[iii] Likewise, the Chamber successfully OPPOSED legislation that would have protected unvaccinated workers from employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates.[iv] As late as last week the Chamber is still giving advice to private companies to ignore the recent US Supreme Court ruling and require employee vaccine mandates.[v] How have such mandates worked out? We note that some hospitals in other states, who fired their unvaccinated workers, have such a staff shortage that they have had to call back workers who are actually positive for COVID.[vi]
- LOVING TAX INCREASES. The State Chamber of Commerce nearly always supports state tax increases and many local Chambers of Commerce support local tax increases and want local governments to be able to pass taxes at special elections when voter turnout is low. And why wouldn’t they? Many Chambers of Commerce receive taxpayer funds from local governments.
- GRABBING YOUR TAX MONEY. The Arkansas Constitution was changed to allow local governments to give Chambers your tax money for economic development purposes. Smaller cities may not be able to afford to give taxpayer money to the Chamber, but many larger cities give them lots of money. This gives the Chambers a vested interest in helping local politicians grow government and increase taxes.
- PROMOTING BIGGER AND BIGGER GOVERNMENT. The State Chamber of Commerce helps politicians pass big government programs. For example, the State Chamber supported passage in Arkansas Obamacare Medicaid Expansion to provide health benefits primarily to able bodied working age adults who choose not to work. The Chamber supported it, but you pay for it with your state and federal taxes.
- REPRESENTING BIG BUSINESS OVER SMALL BUSINESS. Conduit was formed because many small businesses felt the Chamber represented the interests of big business and not them. The Chamber lobbies politicians to get more taxpayer funded giveaways and tax credits for big corporate interests while small business takes a backseat. What small business gets from these lobbying efforts is the burden of having to compete with the big corporations for both employees and sales. With the big corporations getting the taxpayer funded benefits and the small businesses not, it is not a level playing field. Plus small businesses have to contend with taxes remaining higher to fund the giveaways to big corporations.
When we see that a candidate is endorsed by the Chamber, we see it as a warning sign “Big Government Solutions Ahead.” Big government and big government handouts to favored corporations make it harder to reduce Arkansas taxes enough for Arkansas to be competitive with other states.
Have you missed the first five parts of this series on campaign words? Then you can catch up using these links.
Pt. 1 – Arkansas Values
Pt. 2 – Protecting Freedom
Pt. 3. – Support Small Business
Pt. 4. – I Balanced the Budget
Pt. 5. – Common Sense Solutions
[i] Companies join to fight state on transgender law, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 1/20/2021
[ii] Panel’s vote stops bill to let providers decline health care, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 2/26/ 2021
[iii] Workshop video of July 1, 2021 w/Rob “Gator” Ator (Asa’s appointee as COVID-19 Program Manager) & the LR Regional Chamber of Commerce & the Friday Law Firm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uA091LPdPI
[iv] Legislators look at blocking employer vaccine mandates, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 8/11/2021
[v] Employment Lawyers Give Mandate Advice, Arkansas Business, 1/24/2022
[vi] https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/staff-shortages-forcing-covid-positive-healthcare-workers-back-faster/ar-AASZuR2 and https://www.businessinsider.com/nurses-with-covid-say-they-are-being-told-to-work-2022-1