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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Sunday June 5, 2011

Wichita City Council this week. This week the Wichita City Council will consider these items of particular interest: The Wichita Art Museum has $265,738 in funds that it did not spend. The council will be asked to allow the museum to retain this unspent money. … Mid-Continent Instrument, Inc. is asking for a forgivable loan of $10,000. It received the same last week from Sedgwick County. According to city documents, the State of Kansas is also chipping in $503,055 in forgivable loans, sales tax exemptions, training grants, and tax credits. … Council members will receive the city’s 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. … An item deferred from two weeks ago will consider hiring an outside firm to inspect the roofs at the airport for storm damage. Wichita Eagle reporting from that time has detail. Some, including Council Member Michael O’Donnell (south and southwest Wichita) have wondered why the city can’t do the inspection with its own engineering staff and resources. … Of further note is that the city — two weeks ago — proposed to use general obligation bonds to borrow the funds to pay for this inspection. This is similar to last December, when the city decided to also use bonds to borrow money to pay for an analysis of nine aging fire stations and what repairs and upgrades they might require. Material for this week’s meeting indicates the project will be “funded with Airport revenues either directly or through the repayment of General Obligation bonds.” … A “receive and file” item notes that as established by city ordinance, the salaries for council members, the vice-mayor, and the mayor will increase by 3.2 percent effective June 7. This is a cost-of-living increase based on the consumer price index. Last year all these parties decided to decline the increase. … A consent agenda item recommends settling a lawsuit for damages resulting from a shooting on August 3, 2008 for the amount of $575,000. The agenda material is not specific, but Wichita Eagle reporting indicates that Wichita police officers on that date shot James Ware “at least seven times” in the parking lot of a club after Ware retrieved a rifle from his car. Ware was charged with a crime in the matter, but acquitted in a jury trial. Consent agenda items will not be discussed by the council unless a member asks to “pull” an item for discussion and a possible vote separate from the other consent agenda items. … As always, the agenda packet — all 376 pages for this week’s meeting — is available at Wichita city council agendas.

Resources on Austrian economics. The prolific and best-selling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr. has compiled a very useful collection of resources regarding Austrian economics. In an essay by Lew Rockwell that Woods refers to, we can learn the essence of the Austrian way: “It is not a field within economics, but an alternative way of looking at the entire science. Whereas other schools rely primarily on idealized mathematical models of the economy, and suggest ways the government can make the world conform, Austrian theory is more realistic and thus more socially scientific. Austrians view economics as a tool for understanding how people both cooperate and compete in the process of meeting needs, allocating resources, and discovering ways of building a prosperous social order. Austrians view entrepreneurship as a critical force in economic development, private property as essential to an efficient use of resources, and government intervention in the market process as always and everywhere destructive.” Concluding his essay, Rockwell wrote: “The future of Austrian economics is bright, which bodes well for the future of liberty itself. For if we are to reverse the trends of statism in this century, and reestablish a free market, the intellectual foundation must be the Austrian School.” … Woods’ collection is at Learn Austrian Economics. … The local chapter of Americans for Prosperity, Kansas has been showing some of the video presentations Woods recommends at its monthly meetings, and will conclude the series at its June 13th meeting. Details to follow.

Wichita Save-A-Lot owner commended. Susan Estes of Americans for Prosperity, Kansas contributed this letter to the Wichita Eagle, and it appeared today. Following is the letter as submitted to me: “News the grocery store project in Planeview will proceed — without tax incentives — is a major win for Wichita taxpayers. We commend Ron Rhodes and his company for finding a way to make this project happen without asking for tax money. Rather than giving up the store entirely when the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district was vetoed by the county, the Rhodes family continued to explore the possibility of building a grocery store here. The planned Save-A-Lot store will create jobs and serve the needs of the neighborhood without adding on to their grocery bills through tax increases, which is certainly good news for Wichitans.” … For more on this matter, see In Wichita, corporate welfare not needed, after all.

Pompeo public forum. On Monday June 6 at 6:30 pm, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo, a Wichita Republican serving his first term, will hold a public forum at Andover City Hall, 1609 E. Central. Pompeo’s office says: “Congressman Pompeo will take questions from those in attendance and discuss issues related to Congress and the federal government.”

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