Government planning

More Wichita planning on tap

More Wichita planning on tap

We should be wary of government planning in general. But when those who have been managing and planning the foundering Wichita-area economy want to step up their management of resources, we risk compounding our problems. As announced by the City of Wichita, "In response to recent recommendations from Project Wichita and the Century II Citizens Advisory Committee, community organizations and their leadership are stepping forward to take the next step to create a comprehensive master plan and vision that connects projects and both banks of the Arkansas River." The city says these organizations will be involved: Downtown Wichita Greater Wichita…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Project Wichita

WichitaLiberty.TV: Project Wichita

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Project Wichita co-chairs join Bob Weeks to explain the goals and process of Project Wichita. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 198, broadcast June 2, 2018. Shownotes Project Wichita website Project Wichita on Facebook @ProjectWichita on Twitter For more WichitaLiberty.TV, click here.
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In Sedgwick County, Norton’s misplaced concern for an industry

In Sedgwick County, Norton’s misplaced concern for an industry

In the campaign for Sedgwick County Commission, the incumbent Tim Norton touts his experience, judgment, "intellectual stamina, thirst for data and feedback," and his efforts in economic development. Following, from January 2013, an example of how uninformed he is regarding basic facts about the Kansas economy. In Sedgwick County, Norton's misplaced concern for an industry Expressing concern about a large industry that he said is important to Sedgwick County and Kansas, Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton spoke in favor of the need for comprehensive government planning. He cited the commonly-held belief that humans, with their desire for large suburban home…
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Tim Norton: Saving farms from people and their preferences

Tim Norton: Saving farms from people and their preferences

In the campaign for Sedgwick County Commission, the incumbent Tim Norton touts his experience, judgment, "intellectual stamina, thirst for data and feedback," and his efforts in economic development. Following, from January 2013, an example of how uninformed he is. You also see his preference for government regulation over economic and personal freedom. Tim Norton: Saving farms from people and their preferences Last week at a meeting of the Sedgwick County Commission, Commissioner Tim Norton spoke in favor of the need for comprehensive government planning. In support, he cited the commonly-held belief that humans -- especially with their desire for large…
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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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Downtown Wichita deal shows some of the problems with the Wichita economy

In this script from a recent episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: A look at the Wichita city council’s action regarding a downtown Wichita development project and how it is harmful to Wichita taxpayers and the economy. This is from episode 77, originally broadcast March 8, 2015. View the episode here. This week a downtown Wichita project received many economic benefits such as free sales taxes and a bypass of Wichita’s code of conduct for city council members. The issue had to do with tax increment financing, or TIF. This is a method of economic development whereby property taxes are routed back to…
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Who decides? When it comes to planning, is it the people, the politicians, or the bureaucrats?

By Karl Peterjohn, Sedgwick County Commission The Wichita Eagle editorial page is unhappy with the county commission’s decision to terminate the county’s participation in the federal government’s “sustainability planning grant.” When this controversial grant was first voted upon by the county in 2010, it was rejected by a vote of three to two. This also led the county to withdraw from the Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP). In 2011, a new county commission reversed this decision and decided to participate in this joint federal grant from three often controversial national agencies: Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita’s legislative agenda, and a bit of bad news

WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita’s legislative agenda, and a bit of bad news

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: A look at some elements of Wichita’s legislative agenda for state government, in particular special tax treatment for special artists, problems with the city’s numbers regarding airfares, and why we should abandon the pursuit of passenger rail. Then, why are people not more involved in political affairs? View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 67, broadcast December 7, 2014.
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By threatening an unwise alternative, Wichita campaigns for the sales tax

By threatening an unwise alternative, Wichita campaigns for the sales tax

To pay for a new water supply, Wichita gives voters two choices and portrays one as exceptionally unwise. In creating this either-or fallacy, the city is effectively campaigning for the sales tax. In November Wichita voters will decide whether to create a sales tax of one cent per dollar. The largest intended purpose of the funds is to create a new water supply. Set aside for a moment the question whether Wichita needs a new water source. Set aside the question of whether ASR is the best way to provide a new water source. What's left is how to pay…
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Wichita ASR water recharge project: The statistics

Wichita ASR water recharge project: The statistics

As Wichita voters consider spending $250 million expanding a water project, we should look at the project's history. So far, the ASR program has not performed near expectations, even after revising goals downward. In November Wichita voters will consider approval of a one cent per dollar sales tax. Of the $400 expected to be collected over five years, $250 million is earmarked for a new water source. The city has decided that the new water supply will be implemented through expansion of the Aquifer Storage and Recovery program or ASR. This is a program whereby water is taken from the…
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Again, Wichita policies are fluid

Again, Wichita policies are fluid

Wichita city hall promises policies that are clear, predictable and transparent, except when they're not. On July 22, 2104, a presentation to the Wichita City Council sought to assure the council and public that a proposed jobs fund created with money collected by the proposed sales tax would have policies that govern the spending of funds: "GWEDC - Finds businesses to expand, recruit, follows established policies for retention/recruitment." But there's a problem. It's difficult for governments to establish policies that will satisfy everyone. How do we know today what we'll need five or ten years down the road? When governments…
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Errors in Wichita Union Station development proposal

Errors in Wichita Union Station development proposal

Documents the Wichita City Council will use to evaluate a development proposal contain material errors. Despite the city being aware of the errors for more than one month, they have not been corrected. On August 19, 2014 the Wichita City Council considered an agenda item titled "Resolution Considering the Establishment of the Union Station Redevelopment District, Tax Increment Financing." The purpose of the item was to set October 7, 2014 as the date for the public hearing on the formation of a TIF district. The council passed this resolution. On August 27 Bob Weeks inquired this of Wichita city officials…
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Wichita water projections from 2008

Wichita water projections from 2008

Do you get the feeling that Wichita's promises and projections regarding water are quite, well, fluid? Six years ago a Wichita city news release stated "Through the ASR project, Wichita will receive the water it needs through the year 2050 ..." ("Wichita’s Future Water-Supply Plan Moves Ahead," July 3, 2008) But now, Wichitans are told there is a water crises, and the way to solve it is by voting for a sales tax of one cent per dollar. Either that, or the city will meet the crisis by borrowing money and having water users pay an extra $221 million in…
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Wichita planning results in delay, waste

Wichita planning results in delay, waste

Wichita plans an ambitious road project that turns out to be too expensive, resulting in continued delays for Wichita drivers and purchases of land that may not be needed. A major road construction project in east Wichita is deferred after the design is too expensive, reports the Wichita Eagle. (East Kellogg interchange plan getting major reboot, August 30, 2014) It's bad news that Wichita drivers will suffer through more years of delay as they travel through east Wichita. The value of the lost hours sitting in traffic? It's impossible to say. But here's something that will probably be easy to…
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Economic development incentives in Wichita: A few questions

Economic development incentives in Wichita: A few questions

Wichita justifies its use of targeted economic development incentives by citing benefit-cost ratios that are computed for the city, county, school district, and state. If the ratio exceeds a threshold, the project is deemed worthy of investment. The process assumes that these benefit-cost ratios are valid. This is far from certain, as follows: 1. The benefits in the calculation are not really benefits. Instead, they’re in the form of projected higher tax revenues collected by governments. This is very different from the profits that private sector companies earn from their customers in voluntary market transactions. 2. Even if government collects…
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For Wichita, policies are made to be waived and ignored

The City of Wichita says it wants policies to be predictable and reliable, but finds it difficult to live up to that goal. From 2009, an example of how the City of Wichita makes policy on the fly to suit the current situation. The policy change benefited a building developed by "The Minnesota Guys," who, since the time of this article, fell into disfavor with pretty much everyone in Wichita, including the city council. Regarding public policy, this episode illustrated the city broadening the application of special assessment financing. Traditionally special assessment financing has been limited to instances such as…
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A lesson for Wichita in economic development

A lesson for Wichita in economic development

When a prominent Wichita business executive and civic leader asked for tax relief, his reasoning allows us to more fully understand the city's economic development efforts and nature of the people city hall trusts to lead these endeavors. In November 2013 the Wichita City Council granted an exemption from paying property and sales tax for High Touch Technologies, a company located in downtown Wichita. This application is of more than usual interest as the company's CEO, Wayne Chambers, is now chair of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber, along with its subsidiary Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, are…
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For Wichita, water supply decisions loom

For Wichita, water supply decisions loom

Now that the Wichita City Council has all but recommended that voters raise taxes in order to spend $250 million for water supply enhancements, citizens need to consider recent history and how current decisions are made. Through the Community Investments Plan process and by other means, citizens have told the City of Wichita they're concerned about future water supply. Those who have been paying attention might be surprised that there is a water crisis. That's because when Bob Knight was mayor, he was told that Wichita had sufficient water for the next 50 years. That was about eleven years ago.…
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