Wichita Eagle editorial board on county budget

When someone invokes “ideology” in their criticism of you, you know that they’ve either run short of actual arguments based on fact, or they don’t know what ideological means.

In its op-ed this Sunday, the Wichita Eagle editorial board blasts the Sedgwick County Commission for cuts to various programs, mentioning “Sedgwick County Zoo, Exploration Place, the Arts Council and Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition” specifically.

I might invite the Eagle editorialists to revisit the county’s recommended budget for 2013, prepared under the leadership of then-chairman Tim Norton, the body’s sole Democrat, both then and now. According to county documents, Norton’s recommended budget made these cuts:

Zoo: $255,889
Exploration Place: $112,405
Arts Council: $0
GWEDC: $0

So this is not the first time the zoo and Exploration Place have been cut.

Additionally, Norton’s recommended budget cut 113.80 employees from the county payroll. Of these, 60.75 were from the closure of the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch Juvenile Detention Program, leaving 53.05 in cuts from other county programs. The 2016 recommended budget calls for cuts of 10.00 employees.

I wonder: Did the Eagle editorial writers rail against commissioners Norton, Unruh, and Skelton for the cuts in the 2013 recommended budget? Yes, there was criticism of budget cuts then, but no ideological bashing.

This year the Eagle editorial board also criticizes the commission majority for its plan to eliminate routing borrowing for county roads and bridges. Last year the Eagle recommended Wichitans vote in favor of a sales tax. One of its components, viewed favorably by the city and the Eagle, was the avoidance of borrowing for a large public works project.

But now that conservatives on the county commission propose avoiding debt — some debt, not all debt — the Eagle is opposed.

The shifting sands underlying the Eagle editorial board’s criticism is evidence of an ideology, and a rather shallow one. Cuts made by conservatives? Bad. There will be damage, says the headline.

Much larger cuts made by progressives? The editorial board acknowledges “the county needs to tighten its belt and prioritize its services.”

That’s quite a contrast.

Here are excerpts from the 2013 and 2016 Sedgwick County recommended budgets showing recommended cuts.

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One thought on “Wichita Eagle editorial board on county budget”

  1. Excerpts from the Voice for Liberty blog, all written by Bob Weeks:

    July 20, 2015: A Big-Picture Look at the EDA
    “. . . the Wichita Eagle editorial board doesn’t waste an opportunity remind us of its big-government, anti-taxpayer ideology. . . . What kind of ideology would result in this nonsense?”

    January 18, 2015: Wichita Eagle Labels Hold a Clue
    “How Wichita Eagle news stories label outside organizations is a window into the ideology of the paper’s newsroom.”

    November 8, 2014: Newspaper Editorialists with an Ideology? Not in Kansas, Surely
    “Caution, Kansas newspaper editorialists. Your ideology is showing.”

    November 6, 2014: For Wichita Eagle, No Immediate Kansas Budget Solution
    “The Wichita Eagle shows how its adherence to ideology misinforms Kansans and limits their exposure to practical solutions for governance.”

    June 11, 2013: Kansas Taxes, the Debate
    “This left-wing ideology is the prevailing breeze that propels Kansas newspaper editorial boards, along with others like Flentje who ought to know better.”

    April 27, 2012: Obama’s Wasteful Spending Highlighted
    “The American people deserve to know the disturbing details of how their tax dollars are being wasted in pursuit of an ideological agenda, says AFP President Tim Phillips.”

    April 13, 2011: Center for American Progress Starts Ideologically Driven News Organization
    “The Center for American Progress Action Fund has started an ideologically driven news organization.”

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