Tag Archives: American Majority

Kansans vote for and against Ryan-Murray budget

U.S. Representatives from Kansas split on voting for the budget bill produced by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray. Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder voted in favor, while Mike Pompeo and Tim Huelskamp voted against the bill. It passed 332 to 94.

In a statement from his office, Pompeo said:

Washington — Congressman Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, voted today against adopting a budget that would increase spending in 2014 and 2015 over the hard-fought Budget Control Act’s (BCA) limit.

“Despite opposition at the time, I supported the Budget Control Act because it was a compromise that represented the first real cut in discretionary spending in over a generation. While I agree Congress should replace cuts to national security with reforms of mandatory spending, we cannot abandon the progress we’ve already made in cutting spending. I greatly respect Chairman Ryan’s efforts to reach a bipartisan agreement to fix our spending problems, and agree with many of its provisions, including protecting doctors’ payments against needless reductions, ensuring hospitals are paid fairly in Medicare, and requiring federal employees to contribute more to their pension plans. But this new budget would stymie the progress we’ve made in reducing spending through sequestration. Kansans understand the need to budget fairly and live within our means. Washington must be held to the same standard.”

(@RepMikePompeo, pompeo.house.gov)

Huelskamp issued this statement:

“Just two years ago, Congress and the President made a promise to cut spending through the sequester. With this bill, they are abandoning this promise with a massive $63 billion in new deficit spending. So much for ‘if you like your spending cut, you can keep your spending cut.’ But no worries, after the 2022 election, a future Congress and President are certain to do what Washington refuses to do today. Sure.

In addition to this bipartisan agreement to raise spending for all sides and violating their own sequester, it would also assist Senator Harry Reid in passing tax increases through the Senate. It further also divides the House Republican Conference by abandoning our agreement reached in Williamsburg last January, rejects nearly all of the provisions passed by the House in three successive Ryan budgets, and does nothing to oppose ObamaCare.

Washington insiders are fond about saying, ‘this must be a good deal if I didn’t get everything I wanted.’ The real solution would be — the American people getting what they want.”

(@CongHuelskamp, huelskamp.house.gov)

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday January 31, 2011

Some downtown Wichita properties plummet in value. A strategy of Real Development — the “Minnesota Guys” — in Wichita has been to develop and sell floors of downtown office buildings as condominiums. Some of these floors have been foreclosed upon and have come back on the market. Some once carried mortgages of $400,000 or more, meaning that at one point a bank thought they were worth at least that much. But now four floors in the Broadway Plaza Building, three floors of the Petroleum Building, two floors of Sutton Place, and one floor of the Orpheum Office Center are available for sale at prices not much over $100,000, ranging from $14 to $25 per square foot. Other downtown office buildings — very plain properties — are listed at much higher prices. For example, one downtown property is listed at $82 per square foot. … Some of these floors have had declining appraisals. According to the Sedgwick County Treasurer, the fifth floor of Sutton Place, which is listed for sale at $135,000, was appraised in 2008 for $530,900. In 2009 the appraised value dropped to $215,000.

Kansas Days. The primary news made at this year’s Kansas Days gathering was the election of Todd Tiahrt to replace Mike Pompeo as national committeeman. Otherwise, there was a large turnout in Topeka with many receptions and meals that provided opportunities to meet officeholders and new friends, and to reacquaint with old friends from across the state. Plus, I got to sample the “Brownback” beer. It’s pretty good.

Williams named to national economic development committee. From Wichita Business Journal: “Wichita City Council member Lavonta Williams has been named to a National League of Cities steering committee on Community and Economic Development Policy and Advocacy.” Undoubtedly for her unfailing support of any form of corporate welfare that comes before the Wichita City Council.

Mises University this summer. If you’re a college student and would like to receive instruction in Austrian Economics — “a rigorous and logical approach to economics that gives free markets their due and takes full account of the reality of human choice” — I suggest applying to the Ludwig von Mises Institute to attend Mises University this summer. I attended as a member observer in 2007, and it was a wonderful and very intense week. For more information, click on Mises University 2011. Scholarships are available.

A Rosa Parks moment for education. Kevin Huffman in the Washington Post: “Last week, 40-year-old Ohio mother Kelley Williams-Bolar was released after serving nine days in jail on a felony conviction for tampering with records. Williams-Bolar’s offense? Lying about her address so her two daughters, zoned to the lousy Akron city schools, could attend better schools in the neighboring Copley-Fairlawn district. … In this country, if you are middle or upper class, you have school choice. You can, and probably do, choose your home based on the quality of local schools. Or you can opt out of the system by scraping together the funds for a parochial school. But if you are poor, you’re out of luck, subject to the generally anti-choice bureaucracy.” Kansas has no school choice programs to speak of, and so far Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has not expressed advocacy for school choice.

The state against blacks. The Wall Street Journal’s Jason L. Riley interviews economist Walter E. Williams on the occasion of the publication of his most recent book Up from the Projects: An Autobiography. The reason for the article’s title: “‘The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do, what Jim Crow couldn’t do, what the harshest racism couldn’t do,’ Mr. Williams says. ‘And that is to destroy the black family.'” … On economics and why it is important, Riley writes: “Over the decades, Mr. Williams’s writings have sought to highlight ‘the moral superiority of individual liberty and free markets,’ as he puts it. ‘I try to write so that economics is understandable to the ordinary person without an economics background.’ His motivation? ‘I think it’s important for people to understand the ideas of scarcity and decision-making in everyday life so that they won’t be ripped off by politicians,’ he says. ‘Politicians exploit economic illiteracy.'” … On the current state of politics: “Mr. Williams says he hopes that the tea party has staying power, but ‘liberty and limited government is the unusual state of human affairs. The normal state throughout mankind’s history is for him to be subject to arbitrary abuse and control by government..”

Professor Cornpone. From The Wall Street Journal Review & Outlook: “The last time these columns were lambasted by a presidential candidate in Iowa, he was Democrat Richard Gephardt and the year was 1988. The Missouri populist won the state caucuses in part on the rallying cry that ‘we’ve got to stop listening to the editorial writers and the establishment,’ especially about ethanol and trade. Imagine our amusement to find Republican Newt Gingrich joining such company. The former Speaker blew through Des Moines last Tuesday for the Renewable Fuels Association summit, and his keynote speech to the ethanol lobby was as pious a tribute to the fuel made from corn and tax dollars as we’ve ever heard. Mr. Gingrich explained that ‘the big-city attacks’ on ethanol subsidies are really attempts to deny prosperity to rural America … Yet today this now-mature industry enjoys far more than cash handouts, including tariffs on foreign competitors and a mandate to buy its product. Supporters are always inventing new reasons for these dispensations, like carbon benefits (nonexistent, according to the greens and most scientific evidence) and replacing foreign oil (imports are up). … Given that Mr. Gingrich aspires to be President, his ethanol lobbying raises larger questions about his convictions and judgment.” Another advocate for the ethanol boondoggle, and perhaps again a presidential candidate, is Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.

Politics and city managers to be topic. This Friday (February 4) the Wichita Pachyderm Club features as its speaker H. Edward Flentje, Professor at the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs, Wichita State University. His topic will be “The Political Roots of City Managers in Kansas.” The public is welcome and encouraged to attend Wichita Pachyderm meetings. For more information click on Wichita Pachyderm Club.

Wednesdays in Wiedemann this week. Wednesday (February 2) Wichita State University’s Lynne Davis presents an organ recital as part of the “Wednesdays in Wiedemann” series. These recitals, which have no admission charge, start at 5:30 pm and last about 30 minutes. The location is Wiedemann Recital Hall (map) on the campus of Wichita State University. For more about Davis and WSU’s Great Marcussen Organ, see my story from earlier this year.

Government bird chirping. American Majority’s Beka Romm wonders about the wisdom of a mayor’s plan to broadcast bird songs on the city’s streets, and how we can decide whether government should be doing things like this.

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday November 16, 2010

Future of California. George Gilder, writing in the Wall Street Journal, lays out a grim future for California based on voters’ refusal to overturn AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. Of the requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state, Gilder writes: “That’s a 30% drop followed by a mandated 80% overall drop by 2050. Together with a $500 billion public-pension overhang, the new energy cap dooms the state to bankruptcy.” He says that AB 32 may not be necessary at all: “The irony is that a century-long trend of advance in conventional ‘non-renewable’ energy — from wood to oil to natural gas and nuclear — has already wrought a roughly 60% drop in carbon emissions per watt. Thus the long-term California targets might well be achieved globally in the normal course of technological advance. The obvious next step is aggressive exploitation of the trillions of cubic feet of low-carbon natural gas discovered over the last two years, essentially ending the U.S. energy crisis.” … Referring to green energy radicals, Gilder writes: “Their economic model sees new wealth emerge from jobs dismantling the existing energy economy and replacing it with a medieval system of windmills and solar collectors. By this logic we could all get rich by razing the existing housing plant and replacing it with new-fangled tents.” Which reminds me of when I criticized those who promote wind power for its job creation: “After all, if we view our energy policy as a jobs creation program, why not build wind turbines and haul them to western Kansas without the use of machinery? Think of the jobs that would create.” An economic boom to those along the Santa Fe Trail, no doubt.

All the billionaires. An amusing commentary — amusing until you realize what it really means — by Scott Burns in the Austin American-Statesman takes a look at how long the wealth of America’s billionaires could fund the federal government deficit. The upshot is that there are about 400 billionaires, and their combined wealth could fund the deficit for about nine months. What’s sobering about this? All this wealth would go to fund only the deficit — that portion of federal spending above revenue for the year. There’s still all the base spending to pay for. And the wealth of these people, which in many cases is in the substance of the companies they founded or own — Microsoft, Oracle, Koch Industries, Wal-Mart, Google, etc. — would be gone.

Kansas has sold assets before. In this year’s session of the Kansas Legislature, there was a proposal to sell state-owned assets in order to raise funds and reduce costs. Kansas Reporter’s Rachel Whitten reports it’s been done before, with success.

Where are the airlines? James Fallows of The Atlantic regarding the new “groping” TSA screenings at airports. Echoing Wichitan John Todd from last week, one reader writes: “And again, where are the airlines? When TSA begins to drive away customers, they’ll react, is the stock answer. I would argue that it already does drive away customers (certainly if the emails I receive are any indication), but what of those it ‘merely’ makes angry? There’s something wrong with a business model that accepts angry and harassed customers as an acceptable option to no customers at all.” Wichitan Mike Smith writes in: “Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate is having a hearing regarding the TSA’s new procedures that I hope results in the procedures being rescinded. If your readers want to make last minute contact with Kansas Senators Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback (who is on the committee with TSA oversight), I urge them to do so.”

Next for the tea party. Patrick Ruffini in National Review looks at the future of the tea party. Ruffini notes the difficulty in maintaining the momentum of grassroots efforts. Both Bush and Obama have faced this. He cautions: “The experience should provide a cautionary tale to the Tea Partiers, with their more humble origins: Hitch yourself to established power institutions at your own peril.” But other, newer organizations have sprung up to help tea party activisits: “Ned Ryun, executive director of American Majority — one of the more promising new institutions that have risen up around the Tea Party movement — wants to ignore Washington and go local. ‘What the movement is really about, quite frankly, is the local leaders, and I’ve made a point with American Majority of going directly to them, and ignoring the so-called national leaders of the movement,’ he told me. ‘I think the national leaders are beside the point; if they go away, the movement still exists. If the local leaders go away, the movement dies.'” Kansas is one of the states that American Majority has been active in since its inception. American Majority plans to be involved at the local government level in the 2012 elections.

The new naysayers. President Obama and others have criticized Republicans for being the party of “No.” Now that some of the president’s deficit reduction commission recommendations are starting to be known, there’s a new party of “No.” Writes Ross Douthat in the New York Times: “But Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson performed a valuable public service nonetheless: the reaction to their proposals demonstrated that when it comes to addressing the long-term challenges facing this country, the Democrats, too, can play the Party of No.”

Community Improvement Districts spread to Overland Park. As reported in Kansas Reporter, Overland Park is considering whether to create its first Community Improvement District. In this case, the district — which allows merchants within to charge extra sales tax for their own benefit — would benefit a proposed residential and retail complex. More about these tax districts may be found here.

American Majority activist training in Wichita

A message from American Majority.

Our nation was founded by ordinary citizen activists desiring a government that was accountable to the people. Today, ordinary citizens across our nation are tired of the status quo and ready to engage for the betterment of their communities.

American Majority is pleased to announce an Activist Training will be conducted on Saturday, September 25 in Wichita, KS to provide citizens with the tools necessary to become effective activists.

The training will take place in the meeting room at Mike’s Steakhouse located at 2131 S Broadway in Wichita from 10:00am to 2:00 pm. Registration opens at 9:45 am. The cost is $25 per attendee. Breakfast and/or lunch may be purchased during the event, if desired.

The training will be conducted by a certified American Majority Mechanic Trainer (read more about your trainer at the end of this article).

Topics* to be covered during the training session include:

  • The System (an in-depth look at the system we’re in, how we got there, and what we can do about it)

  • Grassroots Action (ideas and practical steps to engage our communities and organize a coalition of volunteers)
  • Patriots 2.0 (effectively utilizing social networking tools, blogs, wiki projects and other technologically-driven platforms)

Full training materials, samples and supplements will be provided to help you apply what you learn to your organization, candidate, cause or community.

Click here to register for this event.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, contact Laurie Skipper at Laurie@AMMechanics.org or call 316-686-2525.

American Majority is a non-profit and non-partisan organization whose mission is to train and equip a national network of leaders committed to individual freedom through limited government and the free market.

* Topics are subject to change.

Activist training to be held in Wichita

Update: This event has been canceled.

A message from my friends at American Majority:

Our nation was founded by ordinary citizen activists desiring a government that was accountable to the people. Today, ordinary citizens across our nation are tired of the status quo and ready to engage for the betterment of their communities.

American Majority is pleased to announce an Activist Training will be conducted on Saturday, August 21 in Wichita, KS, to provide citizens with the tools necessary to become effective activists.

The training will take place in the meeting room at Mike’s Steakhouse located at 2131 S Broadway in Wichita from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. Registration opens at 10:15. The cost is $25 per attendee. Lunch may be purchased during the event, if desired.

The training will be conducted by a certified American Majority Mechanic Trainer (read more about your trainer at the end of this article).

Topics to be covered during the Training include:

The System (an in-depth look at the system we’re in, how we got there, and what we can do about it)

Grassroots Action (ideas and practical steps to engage our communities and organize a coalition of volunteers)

Patriots 2.0 (effectively utilizing social networking tools, blogs, wiki projects and other technologically-driven platforms)

Full training materials, samples and supplements will be provided to help you apply what you learn to your organization, candidate, cause or community.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, contact Laurie Skipper at Laurie@AMMechanics.org or call (316) 686-2525.

American Majority is a non-profit and non-partisan organization whose mission is to train and equip a national network of leaders committed to individual freedom through limited government and the free market.

About Your Trainer

The trainer for this event is a certified American Majority Mechanic Trainer as part of the American Majority Mechanics Program. This individual was identified, trained and certified to conduct Activist Trainings on behalf of American Majority.

The American Majority Mechanics Program was launched in 2010 with goal of training citizen-activists to equip others to become engaged in their state and local communities. The program is named after the roughly 30 citizens who called themselves “Mechanics” and organized an intelligence network designed to monitor and inform the citizenry about British activities in New England colonies on the eve of American independence. Among its most notable members was Paul Revere.

For more information on become an American Majority mechanic, please contact us.

To register for this event, click here. For more information, clock on American Majority Activist Training in Wichita.

Why Bell, Calif. matters

The city manager of Bell, Calif., a town of some 38,000, earned $787,637 per year. He quit in the face of citizen uproar when this became public, but he’ll retire with a pension of about $600,000 annually.

Beka Romm, executive director for American Majority Kansas, explains why citizen activists need to keep focused on local governments.

Focus Local: 10 Reasons Why Bell, CA Matters

By Beka Romm

But when I start talking about the importance of focusing locally (holding your own city council, school district and county commission accountable for their actions), most people do zone off. I get it. It’s not sexy. On the federal level, even in state government, there is glitz, glamour, power, intrigue, sometimes even scandal. On the local level, not so much, right? Wrong. To prove my point, here are the top 10 reasons why Bell, CA matters:

Continue reading at Focus Local: 10 Reasons Why Bell, CA Matters.

Activist training to be offered in Wichita

American Majority is pleased to announce an Activist Training class will be conducted on Saturday, July 24, in Wichita, Kan., to provide citizens with the tools necessary to become effective activists.

The training will take place in the meeting room at Mike’s Steakhouse located at 2131 S Broadway in Wichita from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm. Check in begins at 11:45 am. The cost is $25 per attendee and pre-registration is required. Lunch may be purchased at the time of the event, if desired.

The training will be conducted by Laurie Skipper, a certified American Majority Mechanic Trainer.

Topics to be covered during the Training include:

  • The System (an in-depth look at the system we’re in, how we got here, and what we can do about it)

  • Grassroots Action (ideas and practical steps to engage our communities and organize a coalition of volunteers)
  • Precinct Power (changing your community one precinct at a time with specific micro-targeting and focused action)
  • Patriots 2.0 (effectively utilizing social networking tools, blogs, wiki projects and other technologically-driven platforms)

Training materials, samples and supplements will be provided to help you apply what you learn to your organization, candidate, cause or community.

More information and registration is available by clicking on American Majority — Wichita Event. Online registration is required prior to the event.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, contact Laurie Skipper at Laurie@AMMechanics.org or call (316) 686-2525.

Activist training offered in Wichita

Following is an announcement of an event in Wichita that will help activists learn to be effective in their causes. I attended an American Majority training event in Kansas City last week, and it was very informative.

American Majority is pleased to announce an Activist Training will be conducted on Saturday, June 5, in Wichita, KS, to provide citizens with the tools necessary to become effective activists.

The training will take place at Lionel D. Alford Library located at 3447 S. Meridian in Wichita from 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm. Registration opens at 12:15 pm. The cost is $25 per attendee.

The training will be conducted by Laurie Skipper, a certified American Majority Mechanic Trainer.

Topics to be covered during the training include:

  • The System (an in-depth look at the system we’re in, how we got here, and what we can do about it)

  • Grassroots Action (ideas and practical steps to engage our communities and organize a coalition of volunteers)
  • Precinct Power (changing your community one precinct at a time with specific micro-targeting and focused action)
  • Patriots 2.0 (effectively utilizing social networking tools, blogs, wiki projects and other technologically-driven platforms)

Full training materials, samples and supplements will be provided to help you apply what you learn to your organization, candidate, cause or community.

More information and registration is available by clicking on American Majority — Wichita Event. Online registration is required.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, contact Laurie Skipper at Laurie@AMMechanics.org or call 316-686-2525.

Kansas News Digest

News from alternative media around Kansas for May 21, 2010.

Light withdraws bid for re-election: Will others follow?

(Kansas Republican Assembly) “State Representative Bill Light withdrew his candidacy for re-election to the Kansas House May 12. Light was facing a strong conservative challenge in the August primary by Dan Widder of Ulysses.”

Historic sales tax increase and nanny-state laws mark the 2010 session in Kansas

(Kansas Liberty) “So far Gov. Mark Parkinson has signed into law a total of 149 bills, and Parkinson now has until May 28 to take action on any remaining bills that were passed by the Legislature during the veto session. Parkinson has not allowed any bill to become law without his signature at this time and has vetoed two bills. Conservative Republicans in both chambers were largely overpowered yet again in the 2010 legislative session by a coalition of left-wing Republicans and Democrats which has managed to retain the majority in both the House and Senate.”

Kansans exposed to tax hike starting July 1

(Kansas Liberty) “Starting July 1, Kansas residents can expect to start paying 19 percent more in sales tax so that the state government can continue to spend at the level deemed appropriate by Governor Mark Parkinson, left-wing Republicans and Democrats in the Kansas Legislature. Small-business advocates said the coalition of ‘tax and spend’ legislators ‘did not want to believe there was an alternative’ to a tax hike.'”

Kansas survey: 10,000 new ‘green’ jobs by 2012

(Kansas Reporter) “TOPEKA, Kan. – The environmentally conscious ‘green’ movement has the potential to create 10,000 new jobs in Kansas by 2012, according to a new state survey released Tuesday.”

Tax package means go-head for giant Kansas freight hub

(Kansas Reporter) “TOPEKA, Kan. – Legislation approving Kansas’ recently voted 1-cent sales tax increase will trigger construction this year of a controversial Johnson County intermodal rail freight hub, the Kansas Department of Transportation said Tuesday. KDOT and developers of the long-planned 1,000 acre rail-truck shipping center and logistic park complex along Interstate 35 in Edgerton said they reached an agreement in which the state will provide a $35 million grant to BNSF Railway in exchange for a pledge to begin work on the project this year.”

Kansas lawmakers touch tax and budget records

(Kansas Reporter) “A new analysis by the Kansas Legislative Research Department of the final budget lawmakers sent to the governor calculates that state general fund spending will increase 3.8 percent, or about $204.5 million, to $5.6 billion in the fiscal year beginning July 1. That total is the second largest in recent record, topped only by $6.06 billion of state general funds spent in fiscal 2009. All-funds spending, which includes federal and special revenue funds as well as state general fund money, is projected to decrease in 2011 to $13.7 billion, a more than 5 percent reduction from the recent record $14.4 billion reached this year.”

Planned Parenthood Urges Governor To Veto Huelskamp’s Ban of Federal Funding For Services

(State of the State KS) “Planed Parenthood supporters came to the capital Wednesday to deliver petitions to Governor Parkinson, urging him to veto part of the state budget that would make Planed Parenthood ineligible for federal funding.”

Governor Parkinson Says Budget Puts Kansas On The Right Path For Next Four Years

(State of the State KS) “Governor Mark Parkinson (D) held a press conference Wednesday where he reflected on the 2010 legislative session. In his State of the State address in January, Parkinson called on the legislature to protect education, social services and public safety, to pass a comprehensive transportation plan and to bring improvements to nursing homes across the state. Parkinson said legislators stepped up, protecting 150 years of progress in Kansas an bringing jobs to the state.”

Tiahrt and Moran Trade Shots on Earmarks and A New Poll Shows Increasing Support In Senate Race

(State of the State KS) “The Tiahrt and Moran campaign sparred over earmarks last week with both agreeing that the original intent of bringing federal dollars for local needs was good, but Washington now needs earmark and spending reform.”

Former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane Speaks Out On Support for Mike Pompeo

(State of the State KS) “Former White House National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane came out swinging for Mike Pompeo (R) this weekend, responding to a story in the Wichita Eagle. McFarlane is a leader on national security issues, working in the Ford and Reagan administrations. The Eagle article highlighted a Pompeo fundraiser hosted by McFarlane, calling him a ‘D.C. big name’ and cited fellow Congressional campaigners saying McFarlane’s support made Pompeo a Washington insider.”

Kansas House passes ‘Lexie’s Law’

(Kansas Watchdog) “After passing the 1% increase in sales tax very early Tuesday, the Kansas House at 2:15 AM addressed HB 2356, otherwise known as Lexie’s Law. The purpose of the bill was to improve inspections of child care facilities in Kansas after preventable deaths had occurred.”

Watchdogs talk about Investigative Journalism

(Kansas Watchdog) “On Saturday at the American Majority Post-Party Summit held in Kansas City, Missouri two of the sessions were about investigative journalism. These sessions were to encourage citizen journalists to get more involved in keeping government at all levels — federal, state, county, local — more accountable.”

Senator Brownlee’s official protest of budget bill

(Kansas Watchdog) “The true energizing power in an economy is the productivity and ingenuity of its people when they are freed from excessive government taxation and regulation to provide for their families. We have lost sight of the fact that there is not a public or government sector without a healthy private sector. Too many times this session we have heard a legislator postulate that government spending in some manner helps save our economy. If this were actually true, our economy should be overheating with all of the overspending by states and the federal government.”

New report outlines Kansas consequences of health reform

(Kansas Health Institute News Service) “TOPEKA – The likely consequences of federal health reform for Kansas are detailed in a new report scheduled for public release Tuesday during a meeting of the Kansas Health Policy Authority board.”

Budget and taxes decided, Legislature leaves

(Kansas Health Institute News Service) “TOPEKA — After four months of struggling with the issues of budgets and taxes, the Legislature finished its work today and concluded all but the ceremonial end of the 2010 session.”

Summit to provide training in activism

Next Friday and Saturday (May 7 and 8) American Majority is holding a Post-Party Summit in Kansas City. These events are being held around the country to help organize and train activists and candidates who want to work for individual freedom through limited government and the free market.

American Majority is a national non-profit, non-partisan political training institute whose mission is to train and equip a national network of leaders. The Kansas City summit is sponsored by organizations in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri.

In an email conversation I had with Beka Romm, who is Executive Director of American Majority’s Kansas office, she told how important it is to take action, and to learn how to become active:

The summit is designed to follow the tea parties with in-depth training to give activists and candidates the practical tools they need to implement freedom. If we’re to turn our nation around, it will require the local tea parties and 9.12 groups to focus on such things as identifying and training new leaders for state and local office, and then supporting them with money and grassroots work such as door-to-door and phone banking.

It will require hard-wiring and micro-targeting precincts. It will require citizen journalists providing greater transparency for government and elected officials. It will require a far more robust presence online, with Facebook, Twitter, wikis and blogs. In the intensive training that we’ll offer, individuals can choose the training topics that interest them most from national trainers such as Ned Ryun and local experts including Earl Glynn.

She added that the cost of the event is $50 (pre-registered), and that includes all meals (both Friday and Saturday), training, and materials.

Just a few days ago 400 citizens gathered in Topeka for the Kansas Defending the American Dream Summit 2010, produced by Americans for Prosperity-Kansas. This American Majority event is a way for interested citizens like those who attended the AFP summit to learn how to become activists.

To learn more about the event and register, click on summit.americanmajority.org.

Organizing for a free America summits

American Majority is a national non-profit, non-partisan political training institute whose mission is to train and equip a national network of leaders committed to individual freedom through limited government and the free market. To support this goal, American Majority is offering a number of post party summits across the country. The goal of these summits, according to American Majority, is to “highlight and emphasize real tools that an organization, campaign, and individual activist can implement immediately.”

American Majority also says: “It is not enough to stand on the sideline and it is not enough to protest — conservatives must learn how to implement freedom and liberty on the ground in their communities. With the right tools and training, conservative activists can be successful in taking their community back to the principles of limited government, individual freedom and the free market.”

For those in Kansas, the closest event is on Friday and Saturday May 7 and 8, at the Embassy Suites KC – International Airport in Kansas City, Missouri. The cost for the event is reasonable, as is the special hotel rate.

To learn more about the event and register, click on summit.americanmajority.org.

Detroit, corporate welfare and Wichita’s future

The following op-ed from Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s Alan Cobb appeared in today’s Wichita Eagle (the unedited version is below).

I agree with Cobb. Wichita definitely has a problem with its economic development strategies. Instead of low taxes that will benefit everyone, the Wichita city council and Wichita city hall bureaucrats insist on dishing out subsidies to companies nearly every week. I’ve shared my ideas with the council in testimony like Wichita universal tax exemption could propel growth and articles like Wichita’s economic development strategy: rent seeking.

Still, there are some council members who, along with Mayor Carl Brewer and some city staff, feel city the doesn’t have enough “tools in the toolbox” for shoveling incentives on companies for economic development purposes.

Recently The Eagle printed an article by Molly McMillin, a well-respected aviation and business reporter.

The question asked throughout the article is one that Wichita leaders and citizens have been asking for some time: What can we do to prevent Wichita from falling into the hole that is Detroit?

A simple answer is to continue throwing money and other goodies to keep the aviation companies. A better answer is we need to get rid of the notion that our elected officials and others have so much forethought to know what will or won’t be successful in 20 or 50 years. They don’t.

Detroit became the modern tragedy it is, not just because of global competition, poor products or poor management at the Big Three. Other sectors of the Michigan economy weren’t there to pick up the slack, when the auto industry floundered. Michigan put too much focus on the auto industry, to the detriment of the overall business and economic climate.

While state and local government poured incentives into the Big Three’s trough, the marginal costs of doing business for everyone else crept up.

It‘s the classic example of the seen vs. the unseen. We see the new factory Pontiac builds. We don’t see the businesses that reduce their size, close or just move. The irony is we will still see the Pontiac factory after it is closed and boarded up.

For each tax dollar given to the auto industry, one is taken one away from entrepreneurs trying to create the next GM, Ford, Google or Apple. This may not be too bad the first time or the second time, but over years and decades, the results can be significant. The “next big thing” will be created in a state with a better tax and regulatory climate.

Cessna, Spirit, Boeing, Learjet and Beechcraft are all great companies that produce great products known throughout the world. Kansans and Wichitans are rightly proud.

Who can predict with any certainty they’ll be in Wichita or even in business in 10 or 30 years? I hope so, and I think they will, but I am not willing to bet Wichita’s future on it.

We shouldn’t give other individual companies state or local funded goodies, either.

Lower the tax rates for everyone. After all, the tax breaks and other prizes handed out are recognition that the cost of doing business in a particular are is too high.

The Kansas Division of Legislative Post Audit last year reported we spent billions of dollars in “economic development” with literally nothing to show for it. Our lawmakers aren’t very good at picking winners and losers.

When Wichita’s aircraft leaders were asked about Detroit, there was a golden opportunity to ask other business leaders in Kansas and Wichita that same question.

It is just as likely and maybe more so, that they will determine if Wichita goes the way of Detroit — or does not.

What will you do after the tea party?

Across the nation, people are planning tea party protests next Wednesday April 15. These protests are sure to attract many people and garner media coverage. At the Wichita tea party we expect hundreds to attend.

That’s fine for that one day. But to create change in our country, there must be sustained activism. That’s hard to do. It requires a variety of things, one of which is knowing what to do.

That’s where groups like American Majority can help. This group — national in scope with a strong and active presence in Kansas — provides training for candidates and activists. I’ve been to some of their training events, and they do a great job.

American Majority has started a web site specifically for after-tea party outreach. At this site, you can sign up and indicate your areas of interest. This will get you involved with a group that can help build on the enthusiasm generated by events like the tea party protests.

American Majority’s site is AfterTheTeaParty.com.

Candidate recruitment and campaign training is vitally important. In Wichita, we just had a disastrous election for both city and school board offices. There were a few good candidates. But we need more good people who understand the blessings of liberty, free markets, and limited government to run for office. We need to learn how to run effective campaigns to support these people. These are a few of the very important things we need to do to bring about change.

Don’t let the enthusiasm generated by the tea parties die out. Make sure you sign up for AfterTheTeaParty.com or another group. I’ll report on other worthwhile groups soon.