Bob Weeks

5490 Posts

Downtown Wichita arena as a public good

The streets and highways, and certainly the public parks, are examples of public goods. Public goods are characterized by two things: nonexcludability, meaning that non-payers can't be excluded from enjoying and using the good, and nonrivalrous consumption, meaning that consumption of the good by one person doesn't reduce the availability of the good to others. Neither applies to an arena. Roads and highways, to a large extent, are paid for by those who use them. As far as I know, I paid for the entire cost of street in front of my house through special tax assessments. It is reasonable…
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Arenas’ Financial Statements Not Complete

The WSU Center for Economic Development and Business Research study (reported by Fred Mann in the September 5 Wichita Eagle), showing a small loss for the proposed downtown arena, does not account for the cost of building the arena. Neither do the Qwest Center in Omaha nor the Alltel Arena in Arkansas when they report their profits. How do I know? I wrote to each of these facilities and asked. None include any expense for depreciation, debt service, lease payments, or anything that recognizes the tremendous amount of capital consumed by building these arenas. Yet, these facilities report a profit,…
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WSU Study on Downtown Wichita Arena Not Complete

Government Accounting Standards Board Statement 34 requires governments to account for the cost of their assets, usually by stating depreciation expense each year. Through a series of email exchanges with Mr. Ed Wolverton, President of the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, I have learned that the WSU Center for Economic Development and Business Research was not aware of this requirement when they prepared their forecast. Mr. Wolverton admitted this after checking with the study authors. Mr. Chris Chronis, Chief Financial Officer of Sedgwick County, in an email conversation told me that the county will take depreciation expense for the downtown arena,…
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The leadership of our local government officials regarding the downtown Wichita arena

It is clear that our local government leaders want a downtown arena in Wichita. Just read their remarks in the Wichita Eaglenewspaper. Since the Sedgwick County Commission has promised that they will proceed with renovation of the Kansas Coliseum if the downtown arena vote fails, it is in their interest to make the Coliseum renovation option look as bad as possible. In my opinion, they've done a pretty good job of this. If you do the math on what it costs to borrow $55 million, paying it back at $6.1 million a year for 20 years, the interest rate is…
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Economic justification of arenas and the downtown Wichita arena

It seems that the best argument that arena supporters have for asking the entire community to pay for the Downtown Wichita arena is that it will somehow pay for itself through spillover economic benefit. That is, through increased economic development around a downtown arena, the citizens of Sedgwick County will somehow be repaid for their investment in the arena through the taxes they paid. Current economic research indicates otherwise, as follows. A review of the book "Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums" by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist, available at this url at…
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The value of economic impact studies

One of the factors that usually plays a part in an economic impact study like that used to promote the Downtown Wichita arena is the "multiplier," which accounts for the fact that money spent once is spent again, and maybe yet again. To quote from "Economic Impact Multipliers for Kansas" published in "Kansas Business Review" Vol 12, No. 3, Spring 1989, and available at http://www.ku.edu/pri/publicat/multipliers/multipliers.htm: It sometimes seems that the bigger a multiplier is, the more often it is quoted. (1) In any case, some distinctly one-sided political and economic motives encourage the propagation of exaggerated multipliers. In particular, economic…
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Local government officials as downtown Wichita arena advocates

Kansas Attorney General Opinion 93-125 deals with "the use of public funds to promote or advocate a governing body's position on a matter which is before the electorate." In its summary, it states "However, public funds may be expended to educate and inform regarding issues to be voted on by the electorate." Our local government leaders, especially the Sedgwick County Commission and the Mayor of Wichita, are leading what they term the "educational effort" to get out the facts about the proposed downtown arena. I would suggest, however, that their effort is hardly educational, as they readily admit their preference,…
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A public or private arena in downtown Wichita, which is desirable?

Image what our town could be like if the downtown arena in Wichita vote fails and the 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. Instead of having paid taxes to government, arena supporters would be investors. They would own something: their shares in the arena. They would have the pride and responsibility that comes with ownership. They would have a…
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About Voice For Liberty in Wichita

A voice for individual liberty, limited government, and free markets in Wichita and Kansas. I started this website in October 2004 in response to what I felt was a misunderstanding of the important issues in the November 2004 elections, especially involving the proposed downtown Wichita arena. The debate over the arena was wide-ranging, involving factors such as its cost compared to the cost of renovating the existing Kansas Coliseum, its seating capacity, traffic and parking problems, whether it will sellout or not, who will profit from building it, whether a sales tax is better than a property tax, and other…
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