The Blog

A better way to pick judges

Contributed by John Todd and William T. Davitt. I fully agree. A recent editorial in The Wichita Eagle discussed how trial court judges in Kansas are selected by either election or appointment. We favor neither method. 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"…
Read More

Sedgwick County Arena Sales Tax Ready to Pass

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.") 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…
Read More

HCR 5009: An attempt to drive down property taxes

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…
Read More

Letter to County Commissioners Regarding AirTran Subsidy

March 18, 2005 Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners Dear Commissioner: I am writing to explain my opposition to Sedgwick County funding the AirTran subsidy. 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. As an example, Mr. Troy Carlson, then Chairman of Fair Fares, wrote…
Read More

Affording Tax Cuts, or Whose Money Is It, Anyway?

The logic of paygo for taxes is backward, in that it starts from the assumption that all tax revenue is Washington's in the first place and thus any tax cuts must be "offset" so Congress can be made whole. But of course the money belongs to the taxpayers who earned it, and the burden ought to be on the politicians to spend less so Americans can keep more. Republicans claim to believe this. ("Budget Irresolution," The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2005) "Paygo" refers to the "pay-as-you-go" budget rules, which require that any tax cuts be offset by other tax…
Read More

Americans for Prosperity Day in Topeka, March 14, 2005

I had the pleasure of driving John Todd, Benny Boman, and Bill Davitt to Topeka for the Americans for Prosperity Day in Topeka on Monday March 14, 2005. We started the day at the AFP office, and then drove to the Kansas Statehouse. I met with several legislators including Representatives Bonnie Huy of Wichita, Ted Powers of Mulvane, and Kenny Wilk of Lansing. I attended the Republican House caucus, and observed the House from the gallery. We had a luncheon where I had the pleasure of speaking at length with Representative Bill McCreary of Wellington, from whom I learned much…
Read More

Let free markets determine downtown Wichita’s viability

"Wichita's been an east/west town for as long as I can remember. Obviously, we're trying to change that," says Tom Johnson, president of the upcoming downtown project, WaterWalk. (Wichita Business Journal, March 4, 2005) A healthy community needs a healthy downtown. ... In Downtown, public investment has a proven track record of generating new, private investment. Since 1990, the government's investment of $165 million has stimulated $248 million in private investment. (Voteyea.com website.) "Anything downtown seems to be off-limits for criticism or analysis. I don't know why it is," Lambke said. (Council member Phil Lambke, Wichita Eagle, November 14, 2004)…
Read More

Why is the Wichita news media not interested?

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. February 11, 2005 Sherry Chisenhall The Wichita Eagle Dear Ms. Chishenhall, I am writing to express my concern over the lack of reporting on some important issues regarding the downtown Wichita arena tax. My research has uncovered several findings, which I summarize here: 1. The WSU Center for Economic Development and Business Research study does not include depreciation…
Read More

Testimony in Opposition to Senate Bill 58

From John Todd. Members House Taxation Committee State Capitol Topeka, Kansas 66612 Subject: Testimony in OPPOSITION TO SENATE BILL #58 (Sales Tax Increase For The Proposed Downtown Wichita Arena). My name is John Todd. I am a self-employed real estate broker from Wichita, and I come before you in opposition to the enabling legislation that would allow Sedgwick County to raise the local sales tax 1% to fund a new Downtown Arena in violation of current state law. Under current state law, Counties in Kansas are not authorized to raise county sales taxes for projects like the proposed Downtown Wichita…
Read More

Testimony regarding House Bill No. 2132

Written testimony of Bob Weeks regarding House Bill No. 2132. A pdf version is available here: https://wichitaliberty.org/files/House_Bill_2132_Testimony_by_Bob_Weeks_2005-03-10.pdf March 10, 2005 Thank you for allowing me to present this written testimony. I realize that the voters in Sedgwick County voted for the arena sales tax increase. I believe, however, there is ample reason why you should vote against the tax. The idea of the taxpayer-funded arena came about so fast in the summer of 2004 that there was little thought given to the underlying issues. I wish to present what my research has uncovered. WSU Study Not Complete On of the…
Read More

A Letter to the Editor is Edited

I wrote a letter to the editor of The Wichita Eagle for publication. It was published today, March 7, 2005. I have learned a lesson: my letter was much too long. I don't fault the Eagle for editing for space reasons. I do think, though, that my letter has a much different meaning in its edited form. You can be the judge. I have created a document that shows, side-by-side, my original letter and the published letter. The link is here: https://wichitaliberty.org/files/Letter_of_2005-03-07_Edited.pdf
Read More

GOP and ex-GOP Legislators Promoting Higher Kansas Taxes

From Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network In a March 4 report on Democrat Washington Day events in Topeka, Hawver News Editor Martin Hawver told about two well known Republicans involved in this statewide Democratic Party event. First is former state representative and former house majority leader Joe Hoagland, ex-Rino Johnson County, who told Democrats that, "I'm never going back," to the KS GOP. Hoagland also claimed that there were a number of fellow GOP "moderates" aka as liberals who would be joining him on becoming Democrats. None were named in this article. Hoagland briefly flirted last year with…
Read More

Martha, I’m Glad You’re Home

Writing from Newton, Iowa. Alan Reynolds, writing for the Cato Institute, wrote in June 2003 this: Believe it or not, the government now charges Martha Stewart with "securities fraud" during that same period because she supposedly tried in vain to prop up her own stock by denying that she was guilty of the crime then charged -- insider trading. Yet the government now admits she was never guilty of that crime. Instead, she supposedly "obstructed justice" (her own threatened prosecution for a nonexistent crime) and made "false and misleading statements" about her reasons for making a perfectly legal sale of…
Read More

Kansas (Our Governor, That Is) Earns a “D”

In a policy analysis published today by the Cato Institute (Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors: 2004) Kansas -- or more accurately Kansas's Governor -- earns a grade of "D" based on 15 objective measures of fiscal performance. The authors state: "Our analysis shows that states that keep tax rates low and restrain spending growth have the best economic performance and thus the best longterm fiscal health." It is such a simple recipe for success, but so difficult for politicians to implement. As the authors state again: Yet the sad truth is that the longer most of the senior…
Read More

KNEA Tax Plan Would Hurt Kansas

From our friends at the Kansas Taxpayers Network. KANSAS TAXPAYERS NETWORK P.O. Box 20050 Wichita, KS 67208 316-684-0082 FAX 316-684-7527 www.kansastaxpayers.com March 1, 2005 Editorial For Immediate Release KNEA TAX PLAN WOULD HURT KANSAS By Karl Peterjohn 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. Obviously Mr. Forsyth seems unfamiliar with high tax and high spending states like New York that have…
Read More

The Law by Frederic Bastiat

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…
Read More

Court Sets Trap for Legislature

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 [email protected] Contact: Bob L. Corkins Court sets Trap for Legislature The Bait: "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…
Read More

Rep. Loganbill Advocates More Tax Brackets

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.
Read More

TABOR: not fair?

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. It is unfortunate that so many Colorado children don't receive immunizations. Mr. Brunk, however, presents no evidence that Colorado's TABOR is the cause. It is tempting to conclude that when both x and y are present that x must be the cause of y, but this is not evidence of…
Read More

Latest Federal School Finance Spending Revealed

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."
Read More