Government spending

Kansas school spending

Kansas school spending

Kansas school district spending, updated through 2020 and adjusted for inflation. What is the trend in Kansas school spending? This visualization presents several tables and illustrations of spending data. It is presented separately for each district, with a special district "State Totals - 999" being the sum of all districts. (more…)
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Kansas agency revenue

Kansas agency revenue

Data regarding State of Kansas agency revenue presented in an interactive visualization, with data through fiscal year 2020. The source of this data is KanView, the Kansas transparency portal, through its download center. Data from multiple years are combined into one database. Data starts with fiscal year 2011. (more…)
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Kansas agency expenditures

Kansas agency expenditures

Data regarding State of Kansas agency spending presented in an interactive visualization. The source of this data is KanView, the Kansas transparency portal, through its download center. Data from multiple years are combined into one database. Data starts with fiscal year 2011. (more…)
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Local government employment in Kansas

Local government employment in Kansas

Kansas has nearly the highest number of local government employees per resident, compared to other states. These are local government employees only. State and federal government employees are not included. The source of this data is the United States Census Bureau. I've gathered it and created an interactive visualization. Additionally, using each state’s population for each year, I’ve also computed the annual payroll on a per-resident basis and the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees per thousand residents. For all local government employees, Kansas had 50.55 employees per thousand residents in 2016, higher than all states (and areas) but the…
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Kansas government employment and payroll by function

Kansas government employment and payroll by function

Looking at the number of state government employees in proportion to population, Kansas has many compared to other states. Each year the United States Census Bureau surveys federal, state, and local government civilian employees. I've gathered this data and present it in an interactive visualization using several views and supplementary calculations. The Census Bureau collects both counts of employees and payroll dollars. Comparisons based on the number of employees are useful, bypassing issues such as differing costs of living and salaries in general. Considering all government functions and state government employees only, Kansas had 18.7 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees per…
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Deficit shrank in August, but …

Deficit shrank in August, but …

The top takeaway of the Congressional Budget Office Monthly Budget Review for August 2020 is that the deficit for the month is smaller than last August. But there are details. Sometimes it pays to read the fine print. Otherwise, you may receive a false impression. Here is the monthly budget review for August 2020, which is the eleventh month of fiscal year 2020: The federal budget deficit in August 2020 was $198 billion, CBO estimates, $3 billion less than the deficit in August of last year. However, that comparison is distorted by shifts in the timing of certain payments in…
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Kansas general fund spending and receipts

Kansas general fund spending and receipts

The Kansas budget is volatile, with rising spending and a large deficit. Figures from Kansas financial reports show that state spending has risen. Based on that and shifts in revenue flows, deficits are large. The following tables and charts show actual data through fiscal year 2019. Figures for 2020 are revised estimates, and for 2021, the figures are from the approved budget. The primary source of data is Kansas Comparison Report: The FY 2021 Governor’s Budget Report with Legislative Authorizations. [2. Kansas Division of the Budget, Kansas Comparison Reports. Available at https://budget.kansas.gov/comparison-reports/.] The revised estimate of receipts is $826.9 million…
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Border wall procedures criticized

Border wall procedures criticized

A government watchdog says the procedures for acquiring the southern border wall are inadequate, and the ability to maintain complete operational control is diminished. A report by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security finds that U.S. Customs and Border Protection found the procedures for procuring the southern border wall inadequate for the task. Specifically, the IG found that CBP did not attempt to identify "the most effective, appropriate, and affordable solutions to obtain operational control of the southern border as directed." Instead, the IG described the methods as "outdated." The report found other deficiencies and…
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Federal revenue and outlays

Federal revenue and outlays

An interactive visualization of federal government revenue and spending from 1962 to the present. This data comes from the Congressional Budget Office Budget and Economic Data page. While CBO often makes projections of the future and those projections may be controversial, the data in this visualization is historical. CBO presents this data in current dollars and as a percent of gross domestic product, or GDP. When current dollars are adjusted to account for inflation, the result is "real dollars." In this visualization, I have used the CPI to convert current dollars to the value of dollars in 2019. CBO also…
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Wichita needs transparency from its agencies

Wichita needs transparency from its agencies

When the Wichita city council delegates spending to outside agencies such as Visit Wichita, it should insist on the same transparency requirements the city itself faces. The Kansas Open Records Act is designed to give citizens access to data concerning their government. In the words of the Kansas Attorney General, "An open and transparent government is essential to the democratic process." The preamble to the Kansas act states, "It is declared to be the public policy of the state that public records shall be open for inspection by any person unless otherwise provided by this act, and this act shall…
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Private investment declines

Private investment declines

While government spending rises, private domestic investment declines. Recent data on the American economy shows that private investment is in a slump, while government contributions to GDP are rising. Even before the release of the figures for the fourth quarter of 2019, this trend was noticed. In October, the Wall Street Journal reported: "What is driving the U.S. expansion? Consumers and government spending, according to a close look at Wednesday’s report on third-quarter economic output. A Trump administration priority -- business investment -- is lagging behind, while trade, another priority, is producing mixed results." [1. Hilsenrath, Jon. What Is Driving…
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Wichita public schools, by the charts

Wichita public schools, by the charts

Data from the annual report for the 2018-2019 school year for USD 259, the Wichita, Kansas public school district. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for USD 259, the Wichita public school district, provides a look at trends over the years. The document, along with those from previous years, is available here. Here are some highlights from the CAFR for the year ending June 30, 2019, known as fiscal year 2019. The CAFR was released in December 2019. (Click charts for larger versions.) The following chart shows data from the CAFR along with my calculations. I took two data series, "total…
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Financial state of the cities

Financial state of the cities

Wichitans carry a "Taxpayer Burden" of $1,200 per taxpayer, which is not as bad as many cities. Truth in Accounting is an organization that works to improve the reliability and transparency of governmental financial information. [1. "The nonpartisan mission of TIA is to educate and empower citizens with understandable, reliable, and transparent government financial information. TIA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization composed of business, community, and academic leaders interested in improving government financial reporting." See https://www.truthinaccounting.org/about/page/faqs-2.] Annually, it produces a report titled Financial State of the Cities that examines the fiscal health of cities. The report does not take…
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Federal budget summary for 2019

Federal budget summary for 2019

Federal revenues for 2019 were up, but spending increased by a larger amount, resulting in a higher deficit. The Congressional Budget Office has released its summary for fiscal year 2019, which ended on September 30, 2019. The headline numbers are these: In fiscal year 2019, which ended on September 30, the federal budget deficit totaled $984 billion -- $205 billion more than the shortfall recorded in 2018. The deficit increased to 4.6 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, up from 3.8 percent in 2018 and 3.5 percent in 2017. As a result, federal debt held by…
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State and local government employees and payroll

State and local government employees and payroll

Looking at the number of government employees in proportion to population, Kansas has many compared to other states, and especially so in education. Each year the United States Census Bureau surveys federal, state, and local government civilian employees. I've gathered this data and present it in an interactive visualization using several views and supplementary calculations. [1. For details and to access the visualization, see here: https://wichitaliberty.org/visualization-state-and-local-government-employment/.] The Census Bureau collects both counts of employees and payroll dollars. Comparisons based on the number of employees are useful, bypassing issues such as differing costs of living and salaries in general. Considering all…
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Wichita water planning in 2014, and now

Wichita water planning in 2014, and now

In 2014 the City of Wichita advised spending millions on a water project, but it wasn't for the main water treatment plant replacement, and it wasn't financed with debt. The city tells us it has been planning for a new water plant for many years. This summer the Wichita Eagle reported: "Until recently, not much has been done about building a new plant. It was first identified as a need for the city in 1993. Two years later, Wichita bought land for it near 21st and Zoo Boulevard. But the city didn’t start searching for construction funding until after the…
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Wichita checkbook updated

Wichita checkbook updated

Wichita spending data presented as a summary, and as a list. As part of an ongoing transparency project, I asked the City of Wichita for check register data. I’ve made the data available in a visualization using Tableau Public. This visualization is updated with data through August 13, 2019. Of note, the city does not make this data available on its website. To learn more about this data and use the visualization, click here.
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In Wichita, revision of water history

In Wichita, revision of water history

In 2014 Wichita voters rejected a sales tax which would have provided $250 million to spend on a water project. What were the city's concerns? A recent Wichita Eagle article has ignited some revising of history regarding Wichita's water infrastructure. [1. Swaim, Chance. Wichita’s water plant: ‘Every hour that thing is running, it could fail.’ Wichita Eagle, July 21, 2019. Available at https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article232826482.html.] The article is grim, starting with, "Next time water comes out of your tap, don’t take it for granted. Wichita’s only water treatment plant could fail at any moment." The article reports on the poor condition of…
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Wichita transit, by the numbers

Wichita transit, by the numbers

Transit in Wichita isn't working very well, and it is expensive. A recent editorial in the Wichita Eagle proclaims, "If Wichita genuinely wants to be a vibrant, modern city, we have to improve our public transportation." [1. Suzanne Perez Tobias. Seriously, Wichita, it’s past time to fix our city bus system. Wichita Eagle, July 9, 2019. Available at https://www.kansas.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/suzanne-perez/article232442842.html.] This was inspired by the recent story of a Wichita State University employee chronicling his experience riding the bus to work for a week. The Eagle reported: "What Lucas found riding the bus for a week was that his regular 11-mile,…
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