A press release from the Peterjohn for County Commissioner campaign 23 July 2008 The Wichita Eagle’s lead story July 23 mentions a new county proposal…
Posts published in “Sedgwick county government”
I’ve started a page that lists candidates for election in the Wichita and Sedgwick County area, containing links to candidate websites. It’s not quite finished,…
On June 5, 2008, Karl Peterjohn officially filed to become a Republican candidate for the Sedgwick County Commission in district 3. I and some other local news media interviewed him afterwards.
Peterjohn believes taxes are an important issue in Sedgwick county. "Taxpayers need additional protection in Sedgwick County. The most effective position for taxpayers is a requirement that any and all county tax hikes must be approved by voters." "People are concerned about the growing tax problem in Sedgwick County."
I received this letter to Sedgwick County (Kansas) Commissioner David Unruh "over the transom" and I thought it merited reading by the general public. The author speaks of the "road to economic perdition." I had to use the dictionary to refresh my memory of the exact meaning of the word "perdition." While that term seems at first to be a little strong, I believe that trash franchising, like a ban on smoking, is just the first step in the plans of our local government officials. If politicians and newspaper editorialists can convince us that we require the force of government to take care of something as simple as picking up the trash -- something that works very well already – it's an easy jump to the next level of control. So perdition seems appropriate.
But what trash franchising does is to grant a monopoly to one (or sometimes a few) service providers for specific geographic areas. Under franchising, people living in an area will have either no choice, or perhaps limited choice, in choosing who picks up their trash. Rates will also be set by government.
The effect of this is that the profit motive for trash haulers is dramatically modified. Under franchising, trash companies have guaranteed customers paying mandated rates. What is the likely effect of this? I refer to Walter E. Williams, who said this: "Here’s Williams’ law: Whenever the profit incentive is missing, the probability that people’s wants can be safely ignored is the greatest."
In some cases the price system tells us that recycling is a beneficial use of resources. About 75% of automobiles are recycled, and used cardboard is often recycled in commercial settings. That's because the price paid for these recycled items is high enough that, in these contexts, recycling can be profitable. That's the price system at work. It tells us that the best use of an old car is to recycle it, and the same goes for cardboard boxes at the grocery store.
On Tuesday December 4, 2007, Sedgwick County hosted the formal groundbreaking ceremony for the downtown Wichita arena. While local government leaders and news media hailed the event as a transforming event in the history of Wichita, this writer does not share their enthusiasm.
Expanding gambling in Sedgwick County will lower taxes and provide “…tax relief…,” according to casino advocates’ campaign flyer. This claim is preposterous in light of the soaring property tax hikes and spending expansion plans being generated by local government in our community.
We need to correct the flawed downtown arena proposal’s mistakes. Since the legislature authorized the county sales tax for the downtown arena it has become abundantly clear that the case against proceeding with the flawed arena project has been made. Enclosed with this testimony is a copy of the 2004 flyer used in that election campaign that shows that the critics of this proposal were correct on the key points in this project.
The Wichita Eagle editorial board, particularly Randy Scholfield, has been pressing for mandatory recycling. Here's an example of the type of legislation we might see if reason fails us.
... it is our opinion that public funds may not be used to promote or advocate the position of a governing body on a matter which is before the electorate. However, this does not mean that public funds may not be expended to educate and inform the electorate.
That's the opinion of the Kansas Attorney General Robert Stephan from 1993.
A Wichita businessman proposes building an arena that, while not as large as the downtown Wichita arena being built by Sedgwick County, would provide some competition to the government-owned arena.
“The arena critics are being proven right,” said Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director of the Kansas Taxpayers Network, the oldest taxpayer organization in Kansas. “As the leading opponent of the 2004 downtown arena project in Wichita, it is becoming increasingly clear that this project is in major trouble.”
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.
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.
At the July 25, 2006 Sedgwick County Commission meeting, during the public hearing on the proposed 2007 Sedgwick County budget, a speaker said this in support of funding for mental health services: "I agree with the previous presenter and I'd be willing to forego a few cheeseburgers this year so that if I need to pay more taxes to help provide services, I'm willing to do that."
It hardly seems necessary to remind this speaker that she may give whatever she wants of her time and money to any organization she wants. She doesn't need the Sedgwick County Commission to do it for her.
Government leaders and newspaper editorial writers tell us that we cannot afford to lose such a wonderful place. But if it's so wonderful, why won't its customers pay what it really costs?
In an article in the May 12, 2005 Wichita Eagle titled "County plans no tax rate increase" we learn that "Sedgwick County's property tax rates will stay the same next year and the county will be able to avoid layoffs and drastic cuts in programs, officials predicted Wednesday."
Spending in next year's budget will not contain "significant increases in spending."
Before I go too overboard with thanks, I will remind readers that it was this commission that pushed for the sales tax increase for the downtown Wichita arena.
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.
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.