Government spending replaces the judgment of the market with the judgment of politicians. The judgment of the market refers to the billions of decisions that we collectively make each day, decisions that we freely make, that we believe will advance our self-interest. That is to say, the market is characterized by mutual agreement and voluntary consent.
Posts published by “Bob Weeks”
From the Junction City Daily Union, March 24, 2005
By Kay Blanken
Special to The Daily Union
Friday evening, many of us in Junction City opened our newspaper to the headline, "Local Alco Closing Its Doors." The Kansas City Star reported that 20 Alco stores across Kansas were closing their doors. This is a Kansas corporation that began in Abilene.
I, as a business person, am not surprised. Not just Alco is closing its doors; Kansas has lost many stores and companies in the past four years. Is it bad business practices? I don't think so. Many of the companies and businesses have been successful for many years. What then is happening? Starting three years ago, the state began raising the fees to Kansas businesses and companies trying to make up for the budget shortfall that our Legislature created by overspending. This overspending came from both Republicans and Democrats. Because the Kansas Constitution forbids ending a year without a balanced budget, legislators had to find a way.
From Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network
The Wall Street Journal's "Tony & Tacky" section mentioned one Kansas school district on the day the Kansas senate was debating the largest one-year state spending hike for public schools in this century and according to one legislator, in state history. The $127 million increase in state spending would be in addition to the current $2.7 billion the state is already spending. School districts in Kansas are already spending millions of dollars to lobby the legislature, promote student and school employee contacts to try and influence legislators, and sue the state over school finance. School superintendents, like Wichita's tax 'n spend Winston Brooks, have been busy at speaking appearances promoting public school spending growth in excess of $1.4 billion.
I received this message from someone who applied for the refund of overpaid sales tax that many in Kansas paid as part of the "clunker law." That law attempted to prevent cheating on sales tax by those who self-reported the price they paid for a car. Some people lied and paid less sales tax than they should have. The state started assessing sales taxes based on an assessment system that sometimes overvalued a car. This year the legislature passed a law allowing those who overpaid to seek refunds. A good idea -- but sometimes, as this story illustrates, a bit difficult to take advantage of.
This is an interesting analysis that I received from Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network. What Karl doesnâ€™t mention is that Senator Teichman is a Republican.
This response is so interesting and the timing is so remarkable that I want to submit it for Wichita Liberty. Sen. Teichman responds to my mid-February email that I sent her opposing SB 58. Shortly thereafter, she voted to APPROVE SB 58 on the floor of the Kansas senate. March 22, 2005 the Kansas house votes for SB 58 in an unamended form so it will go directly to the governor for her signature.
Today, March 24, I received her response to my February 15 e-mail! The timing of this response provides a fascinating insight into the Kansas legislature in general and Senator Teichman in particular. You might also find it interesting to know that Sen. Teichman's lifetime KTN fiscal vote rating is only 9.7%, and is now the lowest of the currently serving Kansas senators. Sen. Buhler's was 3.9% but he was beat last November. Her fiscal vote rating is going to continue to be low as Senator Teichman continues to mistreat taxpayers.
Ruth Teichman wrote:
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2005 13:25:50 -0600
From: "Ruth Teichman"
Subject: Re: SB 58 Arena tax bill
Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your concerns.
Senator Ruth Teichman
>>> kpeterjohn 02/15/05 12:58 >>>
A quick reminder of six reasons why the Kansas Taxpayers Network testified in opposition to SB 58 in senate tax committee earlier this month.
1) SB 58 makes a bad law, KSA 12-187 worse.
2) SB 58 adds a retroactive provision to KSA 12-187. KTN is adamant in opposing retroactive provisions to state tax law.
3) SB 58 treats Kansas citizens as second-class to local units who can ignore state law with impugnity if this law is passed.
Election of judges invites corruption because attorneys and other special-interest groups contribute money to judges' election campaigns. It is doubtful whether one voter in 10 could even name two of the 25 judges currently on the court. And if they could name two judges, would they have any idea regarding their job performance? Thus it appears that voters do not make an "informed choice" in the voting booth, and instead select judges based on name recognition, party affiliation or yard-sign count.
Following is a message from Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network, regarding the debate over SB 58, allowing Sedgwick County to raise its sales tax to pay for the downtown Wichita arena. I listened to the (as Karl rightly characterises it) "debate." Karl's reporting of the legislative action and the effects the sales tax will have is accurate. (Someone called the sales tax the "Western Butler County Improvement Act.") You may listen to the debate by using this link: https://wichitaliberty.org/files/SB_58_House_2005-03-21.mp3 (10 MB mp3 file).
After a relatively brief and lackluster debate, the 1 cent sales tax hike for the downtown arena in Wichita received preliminary approval in the Kansas house March 21 on a voice vote. SB 58 will be voted upon for final action tomorrow in the Kansas House of Representatives. This odious bill should have been amended but a bipartisan group of Wichita legislators worked hard and were successful in keeping it "clean" so there weren't any amendments. An amendment would have required a conference committee and a delay in enacting this tax. SB 58 will be passed easily and signed by the governor within the next couple of weeks.
The closest amendment to getting added to this bill was a "prevailing wage," amendment offered by Democrat Minority Leader McKinney that failed on a division vote (no roll call) with over 40 yes votes. Prevailing wage would require union wages for the construction of this project but even the Democrats did not press this very hard since they did not even bother forcing a roll call vote on this amendment.
After some desultory comments by proponents, Rep. Huebert offered an amendment to address the uniformity issue but then withdrew it following Rep. Wilk's opposition and promise that the tax committee that Wilk chairs would take up this issue shortly.
From Representative Frank Miller
The Kansas Legislative Research Department provided information substantiating that property taxes increased by 126 percent since 1993, yet the inflation rate adjusted for population growth increased only 43 percent! I don't see how the appraised value of residential property could have risen 2.75 times faster than inflation adjusted for population growth! I would suggest that appraisers are encouraged to over-appraise property in order to satisfy the need for increased property taxes without increasing the mill levy. I authored this bill in the hopes of restraining appraisers from adjusting the value of your property to a value that is higher than market value. Is not the selling price of your home the only true value for "MARKET VALUE"?
My primary reason for opposing this subsidy is that it distorts the market process through which individuals and businesses decide how to most productively allocate capital.
Aside from that, it seems to me that the argument that many Fair Fares supporters make is flawed. They are grossly -- I would say even speciously -- overstating the importance of the airport to our local economy.
If you listen to local Wichita news media, our local politicians, and various community advocates, the desirability of downtown development over other development is accepted as a given. But what people actually do with their own money is different.
This is a version of a letter that I have been sending to (mostly) Wichita-area newspapers, television stations, and radio stations. Some have expressed some interest and have even assigned reporters to look into this, but so far no stories have appeared.
The powerful and left-wing National Education Association's Kansas affiliate is working hard to raise your taxes. In a February Olathe News article Terry Forsyth, one of the Kansas National Education Association's (KNEA) lobbyists, is quoted claiming that there is no correlation between taxes and job growth.
About a year ago I became acquainted with the writings of the economist Walter E. Williams. After reading his foreword to this book, I understand -- as Williams says himself -- how important Bastiat's writings are. As Williams says:
Reading Bastiat made me keenly aware of all the time wasted, along with the frustrations of going down one blind alley after another, organizing my philosophy of life. The Law did not produce a philosophical conversion for me as much as it created order in my thinking about liberty and just human conduct.
And then this:
...Bastiat's greatest contribution is that he took the discourse out of the ivory tower and made ideas on liberty so clear that even the unlettered can understand them and statists cannot obfuscate them. Clarity is crucial to persuading our fellowman of the moral superiority of personal liberty.
I am tempted to repeat in full Dr. Williams's foreword, but you would do well to read it yourself.
The Law is a book about liberty and justice. One of the most important things I learned from reading this book is that the proper function of the law is not to create justice, but to prevent injustice. This makes the laws we should have quite simple. Instead of deciding how much to take from us in the form of taxes (plunder) and how to distribute it, laws should protect us from plunder.
I received the following, which I thought was interesting, so I present it. I do not entirely understand the author's argument, so if anyone can help me understand, I would appreciate it.
Kansas Legislative Education And Research
827 SW TOPEKA BLVD TOPEKA, KS 66612
PHONE: 785 233 8765 EMAIL: ks firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Bob L. Corkins
Court sets Trap for Legislature
"The Kansas Constitution thus imposes a mandate that our educational system cannot be static or regressive...
"...there is substantial competent evidence, including the Augenblick & Myers study, establishing that a suitable education, as that term is defined by the legislature, is not being provided."
On Saturday February 12, 2005, I attended a meeting of the South-Central Kansas Legislative Delegation. State Representative Judith Loganbill made remarks that included the fact that the maximum Kansas individual income tax rate becomes effective at taxable incomes of $30,000 for singles and $60,000 for married couples. A member of the audience spoke and expressed astonishment to learn this. I didn't think about it at the time, but I now realize that Rep. Loganbill was advocating more tax brackets with higher rates.
Mr. Gary Brunk, executive director of Kansas Action for Children, wrote a letter published in The Wichita Eagle on February 23, 2005, opposing a taxpayer bill of rights, or TABOR, in Kansas. As evidence of TABOR’s failure in Colorado, he cites the low rate of childhood immunization in that state.
Here is an article from the Kansas Taxpayers Network that reports on school spending: http://www.kansastaxpayers.com/editorial_fedschool.html.
On Saturday February 12, 2005 I attended a meeting of the South Central Kansas Legislative Delegation. Lynn Rogers, USD 259 School Board President, and Connie Dietz, Vice-President of the same body, attended. There has been a proposal to spend an additional $415 million over the next three years on schools. Asked if this would be enough to meet their needs, the Wichita school board members replied, "No."
This is what I haven't seen mentioned in the debate over the future of social security.
Opponents of private accounts cite the risk inherent in investing in markets. Instead, they will rely on future generations of workers to pay the taxes necessary to pay promised social security benefits.
It seems to me, though, that investments in U.S. securities markets, both stocks and bonds, derive their value from the underlying strength of the U.S. economy. If the economy does well, in the long run, markets do well. I
The success of the Internet search engine Google is amazing. It has become a cultural phenomena, as â€œto Google" someone or a topic. The implication is that by using Google, you can find all there is to know about a person or subject.
In my opinion, this attitude can be deceptive. Relying exclusively on Google or any other search engine can lead to conclusions based on erroneous or incomplete sources. For example, The Wall Street Journal, one of the most important sources for research on current topics, is absent from Google. Its content does not appear in searches. Thatâ€™s because the Wall Street Journal is a subscription service. Readers have to subscribe and pay to view its content. Other subscription services -- and there are many, some being quite expensive -- may not have their content indexed by Google.
As the annual tax season is upon us, we should take a moment to examine our level of awareness of the taxes we pay.