David Burk, Wichita developer, overreaches

Today’s Wichita Eagle contains a story about a well-known Wichita real estate developer that, while shocking, shouldn’t really be all that unexpected.

The opening sentence of the article (Developer appealed taxes on city-owned property) tells us most of what we need to know: “Downtown Wichita’s leading developer, David Burk, represented himself as an agent of the city — without the city’s knowledge or consent — to cut his taxes on publicly owned property he leases in the Old Town Cinema Plaza, according to court records and the city attorney.”

Some might say it’s not surprising that Burk represented himself in the way the Eagle article reports. When a person’s been on the receiving end of so much city hall largess, it’s an occupational hazard.

Wichita performs a reference check, sort of

Citizens of Wichita are rightly concerned about whether our elected officials and bureaucrats are looking out for their interests, or only for the interests and welfare of a small group of city hall insiders.

Without government, there would be no change: Wichita Mayor

It’s worse than President Obama saying “You didn’t build that.” Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer tells us you can’t build that — not without government guidance and intervention, anyway.

In Wichita, a quest for campaign finance reform

Actions of the Wichita City Council have shown that campaign finance reform is needed. Citizen groups are investigating how to accomplish this needed reform, since the council has not shown interest in reforming itself.

Kansas lawmakers, including judges, should be selected democratically

While many believe that judges should not “legislate from the bench,” the reality is that lawmaking is a judicial function. In a democracy, lawmakers should be elected under the principle of “one person, one vote.” But Kansas, which uses the Missouri Plan for judicial selection to its two highest courts, violates this principle.

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer on role of government

It’s worse than “You didn’t build that.” Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer tells us you can’t build that — not without government guidance and intervention, anyway.

Discussion on Ambassador Hotel tax issue to be this Friday

The Wichita Pachyderm Club, as part of its regular Friday luncheon series of educational meetings, will conduct a public forum on the February 28th Wichita city election. The subject of the election is a Wichita city charter ordinance that rebates 75 percent of the Ambassador Hotel’s guest tax collection back to the hotel.

TIF and other subsidies harm Wichita

Everyone who cares about Wichita — the entire city, not just special interests — ought to be opposed to the continued use of tax increment financing (TIF) districts and other forms of subsidy that direct benefits to a small group at the expense of everyone else.

In Wichita, private tax policy on the rise

In a free society with a limited government, taxation should be restricted to being a way for government to raise funds to pay for services that all people benefit from. But in the city of Wichita, private tax policy is overtaking our city.

In Wichita, how tax increment financing can channel tax money

The flow of tax dollars Wichita city leaders have planned for Douglas Place, a proposed hotel in Wichita, creates a mechanism where taxpayer funds are routed to a politically-connected construction firm. And unlike the real world, where developers have an incentive to build economically, the city has created incentives for Douglas Place developers to spend lavishly in a parking garage, at no cost to themselves.

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday September 6, 2011

Today: Live music example of overcriminilization, regulation in Wichita; Tax reform in Kansas; Downtown Wichita site launched; Juvenile justice system to be topic; Campaign contributions flow to Wichita’s subsidy supporters; Organ events; Urban planning in Wichita: an outside perspective.

Our Downtown Wichita launched

As part of an effort to provide information about the Douglas Place project, a proposed renovation of a downtown Wichita office building into a hotel, Americans for Prosperity, Kansas has created a website. The site’s motto is “Limited government and free markets in Downtown Wichita benefit everyone. Centralized planning and crony capitalism benefit only a few.”

For Wichita’s Project Downtown, goal keeps slipping

In selling a plan for the revitalization of downtown Wichita, promoters started with a promise of much private investment for just a little public investment. But as the plan proceeded, the goal kept slipping, and the first project to be approved under the final plan will probably not come close to meeting even the modest goals set by the Wichita City Council.

In Wichita, historic preservation tax credits an inefficient form of developer welfare

As part of the subsidy plan for Douglas Place, a downtown Wichita hotel being proposed, developers plan to make extensive use of historic preservation tax credits to fund their project. This form of developer welfare, besides being inefficient, is largely hidden from public view.

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer to critics: stop grandstanding

A meeting of the Wichita City Council provided a window into the attitude of Wichita elected officials, particularly Mayor Carl Brewer. Through their actions, and by their words, we see a government that cares little for the rule of law and good government, and one that is disrespectful to citizens who call attention to this.

Wichita City Council bows to special interests

Yesterday’s meeting of the Wichita City Council revealed a council — except for one member — totally captured by special interests, to the point where the council, aided by city staff, used a narrow legal interpretation in order to circumvent a statutorily required public hearing process.

Wichita city council to decide between rule of law, or rule by situation

Tuesday’s Wichita City Council meeting will provide an opportunity for the mayor, council members, and city hall staff to let Wichitans know if our city is governed by the rule of law and proper respect for it, or if these values will be discarded for the convenience of one person and his business partners.

For Wichita city hall, ‘stakeholder’ has a narrow meaning

Recently the City of Wichita held a stakeholder meeting regarding Community Improvement Districts and the city’s policies regarding them.

While the term “stakeholder” is vague and means different things to different people, you might think that such a gathering might include representatives from the community at large. In an effort to achieve diversity, you know.

Instead, the meeting was stacked almost exclusively with those who have an interest in extracting as much economic subsidy as possible from the city.