Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday April 25, 2012

Income growth in Kansas and Sedgwick County. Emily Behlmann of Wichita Business Journal reports: “Personal income in Kansas grew by 2.71 percent from 2009 to 2010, or by 1.76 percent per capita, according to estimates released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. That’s slower than the national growth rate of 3.7 percent overall, the bureau reports. And as the database below shows, Sedgwick County’s growth rate was slower than both the national and state averages.” (Database: Kansas counties post slower-than-average personal income growth). This is more evidence that our current economic development policies in Wichita and Sedgwick County are failing. See Wichita economic development isn’t working.

Tax reform is needed in Kansas. A message from Americans for Prosperity, Kansas: “Kansas has the second highest top marginal individual income tax rate amongst neighboring states. Is it any wonder that the state had a net loss of over 17,000 taxpayers between 2000 and 2009? Americans for Prosperity is advocating for aggressive tax reform that includes two key elements: An aggressive and immediate reduction in the individual income tax rate, and a ‘trigger’ that sets aside future state tax revenue growth above three percent to fund future reductions in the income tax. Passage of a tax bill containing these two ingredients will help slow government spending and encourage investment and job-creation. … The economic indicators show that our state needs aggressive tax reform. Key measurements of Kansas’ stagnant growth show: From 2001 to 2010, Kansas ranked 40th in the country in net domestic population migration, representing the smallest growth amongst neighboring states. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau). Kansas lost more than 39,000 private sector jobs from 2001 to 2010. (Source: Bureau of Labor & Statistics). From 2000 to 2009, Kansas ranked 43rd in the United States in taxpayer net migration, resulting in a net loss of 17,574 tax filers. (Source: Bureau of Labor & Statistics). … The longer Kansas waits to enact meaningful tax reform, the further we’ll fall behind. Kansas legislators have a tremendous opportunity to pass a tax bill that lowers the individual income tax burden and establishes a growth trigger to fund future reductions.” AFP has a system to help citizens to contact their legislators by clicking here.

Protect us from onion prices. Specifically, volatility in onion prices, as according to CNN the onion is the only commodity for which futures trading is banned. Futures contracts are the mechanism by which speculation is accomplished. Tim Cavanaugh explains in How Will Obama Protect Us From Onion Speculators? at Reason.

Silencing ALEC. Fred Smith of the Competitive Enterprise Institute contributes this letter to the Wall Street Journal, criticizing those who attempt to shut down debate through intimidation, the target being American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC): “The attack on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is part of a broader attack by those seeking to drive all market voices from the marketplace of ideas. (“Shutting Down ALEC,” Review & Outlook, April 18). As the Founders realized, ‘factions’ — what we now call ‘special interests’ — are an unavoidable aspect of democracy. The Founders’ solution was not to suppress factions, but to ‘set faction against faction’ to ensure vigorous debate. The attack on ALEC runs counter to that spirit. It is a concerted effort to silence one faction by driving productive economic voices from the policy debate. … When businesses seek to expose and reduce the harmful consequences of capricious legislation, that is both their right and good for democracy. When market voices are excluded from the policy debate, the only voices left are those motivated purely by ideology. And as history shows, the greatest harm to nations comes from ideologues who believe they know what’s best for everybody. … Our Founders gave us a system based on the battle of ideas. If critics of the free market believe they have a strong case, they should seek to win that battle openly, rather than by silencing the opposition through intimidation. What ALEC’s opponents seek is nothing less than the sabotage of democracy. It is especially unfortunate when businesses retreat from backing free-market groups like ALEC when they come under pressure. America needs more CEOs willing to stand up for free enterprise. Readers who agree should let those CEOs know now.”

TSA in Wichita, and in general. Wichita meteorologist Mike Smith mentions an incident at the Wichita airport involving TSA handling of a young girl. It’s a nationwide story now. See Latest TSA Outrage — In Wichita This Time . … Speaking of TSA, John Stossel recently had a segment on his television show. Did you know that the security screening at the San Francisco airport is not handled by the TSA? Makes me want to go there. Stossel reports: “A leaked 2007 TSA study found that San Francisco’s private screeners were twice as good at detecting fake bombs as TSA screeners.” More from him at The TSA Just Won’t Let Go: Governments cling to power even when private solutions work best.

An extra comma. A recent article in the Lawrence Journal-World illustrates the harm of using too many commas, a problem, I fear, I have, myself. The article started with this sentence: “A proposal to reduce the Kansas Earned Income Tax Credit would throw thousands of working families into poverty, religious and social service, advocates said Tuesday.” A literal reading of this sentence would indicate a boom in people participating in “religious” and “social service.” That’s not what happened. The unintended use of the last comma changed the meaning of the sentence.

If I wanted America to fail. Americans for Limited Government has a new site named FreeMarketAmerica. Its video If I wanted America to fail is being viewed thousands of times, and is the subject of some controversy. I suggest viewing this powerful statement. In a press release, ALG writes: “The success of Free Market America’s launch shows that Americans are still very interested in the ideals of free markets and limited government, and stopping the Big Government environmentalists nationwide. Our video, ‘If I wanted America to fail,’ has more than half a million views on YouTube in just a few days,’ said Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government. … ‘The widespread success of this project shows that Americans are willing to stand up and fight for freedom and prosperity and against the heavy hand of big government. With many in the conservative media and conservative bloggers spreading this message and taking our content viral, the Big Green agenda will soon be facing an uphill battle.'”

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