Corporate welfare

From Pachyderm: Robert L. Bradley, Jr.

From Pachyderm: Robert L. Bradley, Jr.

From the Wichita Pachyderm Club: Robert L. Bradley, Jr. He is CEO and Founder of Institute for Energy Research, visiting fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, and an adjunct scholar at both the Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. His topic at the Pachyderm Club was "The Contra-Capitalist Corporation (In Search of Heroic Capitalism)." This audio recording was made on November 2, 2018. The accompanying visual presentation may be viewed here. Shownotes Institute for Energy Research and on Facebook Books by Robert Bradley: Enron Ascending: The Forgotten Years, 1984-1996, Capitalism at Work, Edison to Enron: Energy…
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Sedgwick County’s David Dennis on economic development

Sedgwick County’s David Dennis on economic development

Following the Wichita Mayor, the Chair of the Sedgwick County Commission speaks on economic development. Last week Sedgwick County Commissioner David Dennis penned a column for the Wichita Eagle praising the county's efforts in economic development. [1. David Dennis. Sedgwick County part of drive to strengthen area workforce. Wichita Eagle, March 5, 2018. Available at http://www.kansas.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article203559734.html.] Dennis is also chair of the commission this year. In his column, the commissioner wrote: "Economic development is a key topic for the Board of County Commissioners and for me in particular. Right now we have a lot of momentum to make our community…
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In Wichita, three Community Improvement Districts to be considered

In Wichita, three Community Improvement Districts to be considered

In Community Improvement Districts (CID), merchants charge additional sales tax for the benefit of the property owners, instead of the general public. Wichita may have an additional three, contributing to the problem of CID sprawl. This week the Wichita City Council will hold public hearings considering the formation of three Community Improvement Districts. In Kansas Community Improvement Districts, merchants charge additional sales tax for the benefit of the property owners, instead of the general public. [1. Weeks, Bob. Community improvement districts in Kansas. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/community-improvement-districts-kansas/.] Each of these CIDs will charge customers additional sales tax, with a cap on…
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Spirit expands in Wichita

Spirit expands in Wichita

It's good news that Spirit AeroSystems is expanding in Wichita. Let's look at the cost. While it is good news that Spirit AeroSystems is expanding its Wichita operations, it is not without cost to several governmental agencies. Here's a summary of what is publicly available so far. First, a new "entity" will be formed in order to facilitate the construction and ownership of a new building on the Spirit campus. [1. "The CITY, COUNTY and COMPANY would each take action to establish a new legal entity separate and apart from the CITY, COUNTY and COMPANY for development of the PROJECT…
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Wichita Chamber calls for more cronyism

Wichita Chamber calls for more cronyism

By advocating for revival of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce continues its advocacy for more business welfare, more taxes, more wasteful government spending, and more cronyism. That may be surprising to read. Most people probably think that local chambers of commerce -- since their membership is mostly business firms -- support pro-growth policies that embrace limited government and free markets. But that’s usually not the case. It’s certainly is not the case in Wichita, where the Chamber supports higher taxes,[1. Weeks, B. (2015). Wichita Chamber speaks on county spending and taxes. Voice…
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Export-Import Bank threatens a revival

Last week members of the United States House of Representatives successfully executed a maneuver that will force a vote on the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The method used, a discharge petition, was signed by well over a majority of House members, including perhaps 42 Republicans. If the petition signers vote the same way, the bill to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank will pass the House. It will then move to the Senate for consideration. No members of the House of Representatives from Kansas signed the discharge petition. In July a vote on an amendment in favor…
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Another week in Wichita, more CID sprawl

Another week in Wichita, more CID sprawl

Shoppers in west Wichita should prepare to pay higher taxes, if the city approves a Community Improvement District at Kellogg and West Streets. Next week the Wichita City Council will consider the formation of a Community Improvement District (CID) surrounding the intersection of Kellogg and West Streets. CIDs are a relatively recent creation of the Kansas Legislature. In a CID, merchants may charge additional sales tax, up to an extra two cents per dollar. For more about their mechanism, see Community improvement districts in Kansas. In the present case, the developer proposes to charge an extra one cent per dollar…
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Wichita CID illustrates pitfalls of government intervention

Wichita CID illustrates pitfalls of government intervention

A proposed special tax district in Wichita holds the potential to harm consumers, the city's reputation, and the business prospects of competitors. Besides, we shouldn't let private parties use a government function for their exclusive benefit. This week the Wichita City Council will consider the formation of a Community Improvement Districts to benefit a proposed hotel in west Wichita. CIDs are a relatively recent creation of the Kansas Legislature. In a CID, merchants may charge additional sales tax, up to an extra two cents per dollar. For more about their mechanism, see Community improvement districts in Kansas. In the present…
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Wichita Chamber speaks on county spending and taxes

Wichita Chamber speaks on county spending and taxes

The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce urges spending over fiscally sound policies and tax restraint in Sedgwick County. Today the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce issued a "key vote" alert. This procedure, used by political groups of all persuasions, alerts elected officials that the Chamber prefers a certain outcome on an issue. Those who vote in harmony with the Chamber are likely to receive support in their next election, while the noncompliant are implicitly threatened with opponents the Chamber will support. Here's what the Chamber sent to commissioners: From: Barby Jobe Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 2:47 PM TO: SEDGWICK…
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In Sedgwick County, expectation of government entitlements

In Sedgwick County, expectation of government entitlements

In Sedgwick County, we see that once companies are accustomed to government entitlements, any reduction is met with resistance. When an executive of Spirit Aerosystems accused the Sedgwick County Commission of "working against us," the company may have forgotten the assistance and special treatment the company has received from local governments and taxpayers. This assistance has amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars over several decades, when we consider both Spirit and its predecessor, Boeing. Now, Spirit objects to a proposed reduction in funding to Wichita Area Technical College, and also cuts to local attractions such as the zoo. The…
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Government creates obstacles to progress

Government creates obstacles to progress

"Overcoming obstacles can be a difficult challenge even on a level playing field. We need to change the rigged system that favors the politically connected over the hardworking, honest citizen," writes Charles Koch in a recent edition of Perspectives. Overcoming Obstacles By Charles Koch July 13, 2015 America’s founding fathers had a unique vision for the United States. As the Declaration of Independence famously put it, this country was conceived as a place where people could enjoy “unalienable Rights,” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These concepts are much more than just words to me. I believe the…
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A Wichita Shocker, redux

A Wichita Shocker, redux

Based on events in Wichita, the Wall Street Journal wrote "What Americans seem to want most from government these days is equal treatment. They increasingly realize that powerful government nearly always helps the powerful ..." But Wichita's elites don't seem to understand this. Three years ago from today the Wall Street Journal noted something it thought remarkable: a "voter revolt" in Wichita. Citizens overturned a decision by the Wichita City Council regarding an economic development incentive awarded to a downtown hotel. It was the ninth layer of subsidy for the hotel, and because of our laws, it was the only…
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Community improvement districts in Kansas

Community improvement districts in Kansas

In Kansas Community Improvement Districts, merchants charge additional sales tax for the benefit of the property owners, instead of the general public. Community Improvement Districts are a relatively recent creation of the Kansas Legislature. In a CID, merchants charge additional sales tax, up to an extra two cents per dollar. There are two forms of CID. Both start with the drawing of the boundaries of a geographical district. In the original form, a city borrows money by selling bonds. Then, the bond proceeds are given to the owners of the district. The bonds are repaid by the extra sales tax…
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Year in Review: 2014

Year in Review: 2014

Here is a sampling of stories from Voice for Liberty in 2014. January A transparency agenda for Wichita Kansas has a weak open records law, and Wichita doesn’t want to follow the law, as weak as it is. But with a simple change of attitude towards open government and citizens’ right to know, Wichita could live up to the goals its leaders have set. New York Times on Kansas schools, again The New York Times -- again -- intervenes in Kansas schools. As it did last October, the newspaper makes serious errors in its facts and recommendations. Visit Wichita, and…
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Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce: What is the attitude towards taxes?

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce: What is the attitude towards taxes?

Does the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce support free markets, capitalism, and economic freedom, or something else? Very often, local chambers of commerce support crony capitalism instead of pro-growth policies that allow free enterprise and genuine capitalism to flourish. We saw this in Wichita this year, where the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce campaigned for a sales tax increase. The Chamber recommended that Wichitans vote in favor of a sales tax of one cent per dollar, with some of the proceeds to be dedicated for a jobs fund. (Other uses were to be for a new water supply, expanded bus…
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Wichita to consider tax exemptions

Wichita to consider tax exemptions

A Wichita company asks for property and sales tax exemptions on the same day Wichita voters decide whether to increase the sales tax, including the tax on groceries. This week the Wichita City Council will hold a public hearing concerning the issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds to Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. The purpose of the bonds is to allow Spirit to avoid paying property taxes on taxable property purchased with bond proceeds for a period of five years. The abatement may then be extended for another five years. Additionally, Spirit will not pay sales taxes on the purchased property. City documents…
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What incentives can Wichita offer?

What incentives can Wichita offer?

Wichita government leaders complain that Wichita can't compete in economic development with other cities and states because the budget for incentives is too small. But when making this argument, these officials don't include all incentives that are available. In making the case for an economic development fund paid for by a sales tax, the argument goes like this: "Wichita and Sedgwick County compete conservatively with incentives. The City of Wichita and Sedgwick County have a total of $1.65 million in new uncommitted funds for cash incentives this year with any unused money going back to the general fund." (Will Wichita…
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Elections in Kansas: Federal offices

Elections in Kansas: Federal offices

Kansas Republican primary voters made two good decisions this week. Kansas held primary elections this week. The primary election, of course, does not determine who wins the office; it only selects one Democratic and one Republican candidate to move forward to the November general election. But in many cases, the primary is the election, at least the one that really makes a difference. That's because in Kansas, often there may be no Democratic Party candidate. Or if there is a Democrat, that candidate may have little money available to campaign in a district with a large Republican voter registration advantage.…
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