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Posts published by “Bob Weeks”

Personal income up in Kansas, but …

As reported in the Lawrence Journal-World on September 27, 2006, personal income in Kansas grew at the rate of 1.4 percent for the second quarter of 2006. That sounds pretty good, and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius uses facts like this in her campaign ads.

But our growth can be understood only when placed in context.

Proposed Wichita housing code change

The city’s housing code has problems. Here is an overview of the problems. Some suggested improvements follow.

Kansas revenue growth lags

Governor Sebelius continues to spread the message that the Kansas economy is growing again. State tax collections are rising. The expansion in tax revenue has allowed the big spending members of the Kansas legislature and the Kansas Supreme Court to go on a spending spree without anyone having to vote to raise state taxes in 2006.

Rhonda, markets are the answer

Now it is no secret that Ms. Holman disagrees with some of the actions the board has taken the past few years. I am quite certain that if she agreed with what the board has done, she would have not written this editorial, and the governor would have not criticized the board. After all, both are in favor of expansion of government, as long as they agree with what the government is doing.

Bias Noticed at The Wichita Eagle

I received this commentary from a person who believes he noticed some bias in reporting appearing in The Wichita Eagle.


... I visited with Eagle writer Dion Lefler regarding the language he used to describe the Sedgwick County Commission meeting the day after Sedgwick County Commissioners voted 5 to 0 to raise the mil levy. I told him politely that I had a "bone to pick" with him regarding the semantics he used in that article when he referred to our group as the "anti-tax group". I said to him, "Whenever you use the word to describe any group as "anti" you automatically send a negative message to your readers that actually shows your personal "bias" against that particular group." I pointed out that we are not "anti" anything, but on the contrary we are taxpayer advocates and perhaps should be referred to as the "pro-taxpayer group" or the "taxpayer advocate group".

I asked him why he did not refer to our opponents at the hearing as the "anti-taxpayer group". If he had done that in his article, perhaps he could have achieved the "balance" that newspapers try to achieve. He could then rightly refer to our lower tax and less government taxpayer advocate group as the "antitaxers" and our opponents, the more government and higher tax advocate group, as the "antitaxpayers."

I pointed out to Dion that our opponents who spoke at the hearing were primarily two groups. One group represented primarily government staff people who wanted their particular program funded and their well-scripted clientele who spoke of their need and dependence on government programs to help them with their alcohol, depression, drug, mental, or senior problems. The other group wanting additional taxpayer money were six figure executives from the aircraft industry dressed in their suits and ties begging for additional largess from the public treasury ("corporate welfare") for an industry that already receives massive taxpayer subsidies. Our group, the "taxpayer advocate group" was speaking for thousands of property taxpaying people ("widows and orphans included") who were not present and who were not represented particularly by the people that they elected to represent them.

Dion admitted that he saw my point and that he would take it into consideration in future reporting. I hope he was serious and follows through. I believe AFP, KTN, and other taxpayer advocacy groups need to take the lead in insisting on positive and balanced reporting rather than the biased and slanted work that we have unfortunately learned to tolerate as normal.

Kansas Attorney General Election Will Set Spending Record

Will the checkbook of the controversial abortion doctor from Wichita, George Tiller be large enough to defeat Attorney General Phill Kline’s bid for reelection? That is the underlying financial fact beneath the most expensive race for Kansas Attorney General in state history. The huge amount of spending for this position is now unfolding before voters’ eyes.

Kansas continues to suffer from job growth deficit

This press release from the Kansas Chapter of Americans For Prosperity calls attention to the poor growth in jobs under the leadership of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, contrary to what her television advertisements claim.

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and Kansas jobs

A recent television advertisement by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius touts "… nearly 2.5 years of positive job growth." The viewer is, by my estimation, supposed to credit the governor for this growth.

But a look behind the scenes reveals a situation that only a politician could take pride in. Our governor must be hoping that people won't take a moment to examine the reality.

To George Kolb, regarding urban renewal in Wichita

Today, city government plays a large role in this city’s life. The most recent municipal budget is in the neighborhood of $1/2 billion. That massive sum does not seem to be large enough for many of the city leaders since there is now an effort underway to recreate one of the major mistakes of the 20th century: Urban Renewal.

Kansas Governor’s Race Heats Up

The conventional wisdom is that this gubernatorial race was going to be a snoozer with Sebelius’ huge fund raising advantage but a number of minor events, none hugely significant by themselves, indicates that the Sebelius reelection campaign has some problems. A decline in poll numbers according to a Rasmussen poll in late August had Sebelius with only a 48-to-37 percent lead over Barnett.

The Kansas school lawsuit that makes sense

Recently The Wichita Eagle editorialized on the recent school finance lawsuit in Kansas, quoting USD 259 (Wichita) school board president Sarah Skelton as pleased with the "great return" on the district's investment in funding the suit. As much more money as the public schools will be receiving, it is not as much as was asked for, and USD 259 is preparing to ask for even more spending from a bond issue. Public comments by lead attorney Alan Rupe hint at another lawsuit, perhaps in federal court.

Tax funded lobbyists spending revealed

There are lobbyists and there are taxpayer funded lobbyists roaming the halls of the statehouse during the legislative sessions. A small window on the taxpayer funded lobbying opened up following the two separate legal actions of Attorney General Phill Kline and the Topeka Capital-Journal in seeking spending data from the Schools for Fair Funding organization. The attorney general and the newspaper deserve a pat-on-the-back for fighting for the disclosure of this information.

Resurrecting urban renewal in Wichita?

On August 22, 2006, the City of Wichita hosted a Visioneering Committee "Public Forum on Community Revitalization" featuring Mr. Richard Baron, Chairman and CEO of McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS) of St. Louis, Missouri in the Sudermann Commons Room at the Wichita State University Hughes Metropolitan Complex. An August 14, 2006 letter from City Manager George Kolb explains, "This forum is part of the City's commitment to and participation in a prisoner reentry initiative to help transform not only the lives of returning ex-offenders, but also to transform the communities/neighborhoods into which they will return."

A public or private downtown Wichita arena, which is desirable?

Image what our town could be like if the Wichita downtown arena vote fails and Sedgwick County Commissioners put aside for a moment their plans for the renovation of the Kansas Coliseum.

Suppose, instead, that arena supporters, along with those who would vote yes for the sales tax and anyone else who wants to, formed a corporation to build and own an arena.

Whitewash

There are laws and rules while there are lawyers and judges but there is truly one unique and privileged class where the rules do not apply in Kansas: The Kansas Supreme Court.

Tax increment financing in Wichita benefits few

How does a TIF district work? The Wichita Eagle reported: "A TIF district doesn't cost local governments any existing tax money. It takes property taxes paid on new construction that would ordinarily go into government coffers and redirects it to the bond holders who are financing the project."

Sedgwick County surrenders key tax advantage

Spirit Aerosystems CEO Jeff Turner defended the massive spending hike that was used as the primary justification for the county's 8.8 percent property tax hike in his editorial August 9, 2006. Turner's support for this increased government spending ignored some important ramifications behind this economically destructive vote.

Reform the “other” welfare

A recent USA Today editorial ("Hooked on Handouts" July 31, 2006) makes the case for reforming corporate welfare, given the success of "regular" welfare reform:

Kansas Board of Education election demonstrates one thing

Looking at some of the comments left on various discussion forums in the state of Kansas, the victors are joyously gleeful in their win and vindictive towards the defeated. I would hazard to guess that the victors were more interested in victory for its own sake, and more motivated by hatred for their rivals, than for the substance of what they were fighting for.

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