Tag: Civil society

Business improvement district on tap in Wichita
Wichita city government

Business improvement district on tap in Wichita

The Douglas Design District seeks to transform from a voluntary business organization to a tax-funded branch of government. Tomorrow the Wichita City Council will consider forming a business improvement district (BID) in east-central Wichita. Previously, city documents offered some explanation regarding the district: [1. City of Wichita. Agenda for August 21, 2018, Item IV-1. Available at http://www.wichita.gov/Council/Agendas/08-21-2018%20City%20Council%20Agenda%20Packet.pdf.] First, there already exists a voluntary organization: "The Douglas Design District (DDD) is a voluntary organization of over 300 local businesses located near Douglas Avenue between Washington Avenue and Oliver Avenue. In 2017, the DDD established a five-year strategic plan to become a financially self-sustaining ...
Political civility in our age of thuggery
Politics

Political civility in our age of thuggery

Following, from Karl Peterjohn, an account of why the Wichita Pachyderm Club is a valuable civic institution. The candidate mentioned in the article is Renee Duxler, running for Sedgwick County Commission District 1 (map is here). On her Facebook page she wrote "Proving once again that Democrats and Republicans can share ideas and thoughtful discussion within the same spaces ... this gal 'infiltrated' the Wichita Pachyderm Club for a great presentation by Kyle Bauer, of KFRM radio, on the history and future of agriculture here in Kansas. They were very gracious and welcoming, and I enjoyed the experience immensely. Let’s keep the conversations going Sedgwick County!" Of note: Her opponent, Wichita City Council Member Pete Meitzner (district 2, east Wichita), said he was "troubled" that the...
Business improvement district proposed in Wichita
Wichita city government

Business improvement district proposed in Wichita

The Douglas Design District proposes to transform from a voluntary business organization to a tax-funded branch of government (but doesn't say so). Update: On August 21, the council approved the formation of the planning committee. This week the Wichita City Council will consider taking the first step in forming a business improvement district (BID) in east-central Wichita. Some explanation from the agenda packet for the meeting: [1. City of Wichita. Agenda for August 21, 2018, Item IV-1. Available at http://www.wichita.gov/Council/Agendas/08-21-2018%20City%20Council%20Agenda%20Packet.pdf.] First, there already exists a voluntary organization: "The Douglas Design District (DDD) is a voluntary organization of over 300 local businesses located near Douglas Avenue between Washington Avenue...
WichitaLiberty.TV: Matt Kibbe of Free the People
WichitaLibertyTV

WichitaLiberty.TV: Matt Kibbe of Free the People

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Matt Kibbe of Free the People joins Karl Peterjohn and Bob Weeks to discuss FreeThePeople.org and our relationship with government. Mr. Kibbe's appearance was made possible by the Wichita Chapter of the Bastiat Society. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 171, broadcast November 4, 2017. Shownotes Free the People Matte Kibbe on Twitter Matt Kibbe on Facebook The Bastiat Society, Wichita Chapter
In Sedgwick County, a moral crusade
Sedgwick county government

In Sedgwick County, a moral crusade

In Sedgwick County the debate over the budget has the dimension of a moral crusade, except for one thing. As Sedgwick County debates next year's budget, the arguments against a three percent cut in spending have been heated. Proponents of spending say the commissioners are not honoring commitments (see here and here), the commissioners are being short-sighted and foolish for proposing cuts, the county has a moral obligation to use taxes to care for the needy, and that county spending has a great economic benefit. But what isn't often mentioned is the nature of taxation and government spending. A new video from Learn Liberty offers a perspective on the morality of government that seems to be totally missing in the debate. View the video below, or click here. In summary, the video ...
Sedgwick County spending beneficiaries overwhelm others
Sedgwick county government

Sedgwick County spending beneficiaries overwhelm others

That so many speakers at a public hearing were in favor of government spending is not surprising. In a letter to the editor of the Wichita Eagle the writer stated "But apparently few of them felt strongly enough to come to the commission hearing and express their support of budget cuts." He was referring to the public hearing on Wednesday July 29, when some 50 people spoke, and just three supported cuts. This lopsided ratio is not surprising. It's an example of the well-known phenomenon of concentrated benefits and dispersed (or diffuse) costs. Explained in this video, it observes that for most government spending programs, the benefits are showered on a few very visible recipients who benefit greatly. There were 47 of these speaking at last week's public hearing. But the costs ...
Soviet-style society seen as Wichita’s future
Economic freedom

Soviet-style society seen as Wichita’s future

If local governments don't fund arts, we risk a Soviet-style existence. This line of thought is precisely backwards. Facing the possible loss of funds from Sedgwick County, the Wichita Arts Council paints a bleak future for Wichita, as reported in the Wichita Eagle: The Wichita Arts Council receives approximately $14,000 from the county, which it uses to provide seed money for start-up art projects, president Arlen Hamilton said. It also receives about $6,000 from the city, he said. “Without us being there to provide that start, many of these things would never get off the ground, and we’d end up with more of a Soviet-style society than the bright, colorful and educational environment that we get to live in instead,” Hamilton said. (Sedgwick County to warn organizations of possib...
Regulation

Rebuilding liberty without permission

A forthcoming book by Charles Murray holds an intriguing idea as to how Americans can reassert liberty: Civil disobedience. Make the federal government an "insurable hazard." I think it's a great idea. For an easy introduction to this concept, listen to the Cato Institute's seven-minute podcast of Murray speaking about these ideas. From the publisher: American freedom is being gutted. Whether we are trying to run a business, practice a vocation, raise our families, cooperate with our neighbors, or follow our religious beliefs, we run afoul of the government—not because we are doing anything wrong but because the government has decided it knows better. When we object, that government can and does tell us, “Try to fight this, and we’ll ruin you.” In this provocative book, acclai...
What we can learn from the piano
Wichita and Kansas schools

What we can learn from the piano

The purchase of a piano by a Kansas school district teaches us a lesson. Instead of a system in which schools raise money voluntarily -- a system in which customers are happy to buy, donors are happy to give, and schools are grateful to receive -- we have strife. A Kansas City, Kansas school has spent $48,000 to purchase a new piano, replacing one in use for many years. Critics of school spending, even Governor Brownback, point to this as an example of school spending out of control. How can schools want more money, they say, if one school can spend $48,000 on a piano? We can learn a few things about our public schools from this. First, there is no way to tell whether this purchase was wise. There are several reasons. First, the school is not spending its own money. The school is...
Wichita TIF projects: some background
Wichita city government

Wichita TIF projects: some background

Tax increment financing disrupts the usual flow of tax dollars, routing funds away from cash-strapped cities, counties, and schools back to the TIF-financed development. TIF creates distortions in the way cities develop, and researchers find that the use of TIF means lower economic growth. The consideration this week by the Wichita City Council of two project plans in tax increment financing districts offers an opportunity to examine the issues surrounding TIF. How TIF works A TIF district is a geographically-defined area. In Kansas, TIF takes two or more steps. The first step is that cities or counties establish the boundaries of the TIF district. After the TIF district is defined, cities then must approve one or more project plans that authorize the spending of TIF funds in specific...
Kansas state government

Religion and politics; two subjects that divide friends and family members alike

By Eileen Umbehr, wife of Libertarian Candidate for Kansas Governor Keen Umbehr November 1, 2014 As this campaign draws to a close, my heart is heavy. Not so much because Keen was treated as a second-class candidate who didn't deserve a seat at the table with his Democrat and Republican opponents, but because of the way I've seen God used as a selling point in politics. For example, Keen is solidly pro-life. He believes in freedom as long as you do not cause harm to another human being, and a baby is a human being. But because he also acknowledges the reality that unless and until Roe v. Wade is overturned women maintain their right to choose, he is not considered pro-life enough. The issue of same-sex marriage has also been deeply divisive and been used to garner votes. How a c...
Competition in markets
Economics

Competition in markets

Competition must surely be one of the most misunderstood concepts. As applied to economics, government, and markets, the benefits of competition are not understood and valued. Usually when people think of competition they think of words like hostile, cut-throat, or dog-eat-dog. They may reference the phrase "survival of the fittest," making analogies to the law of the jungle. There, competition is brutal. The winners kill and eat the losers. Or, they may refer to games or sporting events, where a competition is created specifically to produce a winner and a loser. But as David Boaz of the Cato Institute explains in his essay Competition and Cooperation, it's different in markets. There, as Boaz explains, people compete in order to cooperate with others, not defeat them: The compe...
WichitaLiberty.TV: Schools and the nature of competition and cooperation, Wind power and taxes
WichitaLibertyTV

WichitaLiberty.TV: Schools and the nature of competition and cooperation, Wind power and taxes

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: A Kansas newspaper editorial is terribly confused about schools and the nature of competition in markets. Then, we already knew that the wind power industry in Kansas enjoys tax credits and mandates. Now we learn that the industry largely escapes paying property taxes. Episode 38, broadcast April 6, 2014. View below, or click here to view at YouTube.
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