Government waste

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 Instead, the IG described the methods as "outdated."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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Is the pursuit of intergovernmental grants wise?

Is the pursuit of intergovernmental grants wise?

Is the pursuit of intergovernmental grants wise? Would local governments fund certain programs if the money was not seen as "free?" An eariler version of this article failed to distinguish Jim Howell's position from the majority of candidates. I regret the error. At a forum of candidates for Sedgwick County Commission, the subject of intergovernmental grants was discussed. All candidates except for current commissioners Richard Ranzau and Jim Howell were fully in favor -- enthusiastic, even -- of the grant system. Both Ranzau and Howell expressed skepticism of the wisdom and efficacy of the grant system. Other candidates participating in…
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Wichita bridges, well memorialized

Wichita bridges, well memorialized

Drivers -- like me -- on East Twenty-First Street in Wichita are happy that the work on a small bridge is complete, but may not be pleased with one aspect of the project. It's a small bridge, on East Twenty-First Street between Mosely and New York Streets. At 49 feet long it is designated a bridge by the Federal Highway Administration. And we're glad it's there. But with city lane width guidelines for arterial streets at 11 feet, this four-lane bridge may not be not much longer than it is wide.[2. City of Wichita. *Street Design Guidelines, Approved by the…
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Wichita perpetuates wasteful system of grants; feels good about it

Wichita perpetuates wasteful system of grants; feels good about it

While praising the U.S. Economic Development Administration for a grant to Wichita State university, Wichita city planners boost the growth of wasteful government spending. News that Wichita State University received a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration was praised by City of Wichita bureaucrats. Such praise only serves to perpetuate a federal agency that does more harm than good, entrenching the "You take yours, I’ll take mine" logic that leads to ever-rising spending. The tweet from Wichita city planners is designed to make us feel happy for Wichita State University. Having accepted these funds, now we have to tolerate…
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Westar: First, control blatant waste

Westar: First, control blatant waste

As our electric utility asks for a rate increase, let's first ask that it stop blatant waste. Westar, our state-regulated electric utility, is asking for a rate increase. As part of any increase, we ought to insist that the utility do a better job of controlling blatant waste. Streetlights burning unnecessarily in the middle day in downtown Wichita is an ongoing problem. See In Wichita, wasting electricity a chronic problem and Waste in Wichita, the seen and probably unseen for examples. The problem may not be solved soon. No one has much motivation to solve the problem. The city pays…
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A big-picture look at the EDA

A big-picture look at the EDA

While praising the U.S. Economic Development Administration for a small grant to a local institution, the Wichita Eagle editorial board overlooks the big picture. While praising a grant to Wichita State University from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Wichita Eagle editorial board doesn't waste an opportunity remind us of its big-government, anti-taxpayer ideology. (Pompeo would eliminate source of WSU grants, July 11, 2015) The op-ed also criticizes U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo, who has sponsored legislation and offered amendments to end the EDA. While the Eagle op-ed is designed to make us feel happy for Wichita State University (and bad…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Bad news from Topeka on taxes and schools, and also in Wichita. Also, a series of videos that reveal the nature of government.

WichitaLiberty.TV: Bad news from Topeka on taxes and schools, and also in Wichita. Also, a series of videos that reveal the nature of government.

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: The sales tax increase is harmful and not necessary. Kansas school standards are again found to be weak. The ASR water project is not meeting expectations. Then, the Independent Institute has produced a series of videos that illustrate the nature of government. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 88, broadcast July 19, 2015. The "Love Gov" series of videos from the Independent Institute can be found here: Love Gov: From first date to mandate.
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In Wichita, wasting electricity a chronic problem

In Wichita, wasting electricity a chronic problem

The chronic waste of electricity in downtown Wichita is a problem that probably won't be solved soon, given the city's attitude. Street lights in downtown Wichita burning during the middle of the day. It's a continuing problem. What can citizens do to solve this problem? The attitude of the city is "don't bother us with this problem." The city advises citizens to call Westar when they see street lights wasting electricity. That's the city's attitude, even though this is a chronic problem. The city is concerned that working with Westar to turn off street lights during the day may not…
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Wichita has cut waste, officials say

Wichita has cut waste, officials say

Wichita city officials say they have worked hard to eliminate waste. Well, except for this. It's been an ongoing problem in downtown Wichita. Not only are bench lights apparently permanently switched on, we find the tall street lights also burning in the middle of the day. This is especially problematic given these two Fridays -- with street lights switched on near noon -- were Riverfest Fridays. Many visitors, both natives and tourists, may have been downtown to see the waste on display. It doesn't promote a good image for our city and its leaders. The wasteful spending on illuminating street…
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Legislation to end Economic Development Administration introduced

Legislation to end Economic Development Administration introduced

U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo calls for an end to a wasteful federal economic development agency. If you think a proper function of the federal government is spending your tax dollars to build replicas of the Great Pyramids in Indiana or a gift shop in a winery, you're not going to like legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo, a Republican who represents the Kansas fourth district, including the Wichita metropolitan area. Others, however, will appreciate H.R. 661: EDA Elimination Act of 2015. In the following article from 2012, Pompeo explains the harm of the Economic Development Administration, which he describes…
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The lights are off, and then they’re off

The lights are off, and then they’re off

A problem with wasteful spending in downtown Wichita is gradually curing itself, creating another problem in its place. A bench at the heart of downtown Wichita should be illuminated at night by four lights. Only one light works, probably because the others have been left switched on 24 hours per day. So wasteful spending on street lights during the day is being replaced by unlit streets at night. What message does wasteful spending on street lights during the day send? Perhaps more importantly, what impression does nonfunctioning lights at night create -- three of four at this bench? And at…
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Wichita schools seek to rebrand

Wichita schools seek to rebrand

While poormouthing and suing taxpayers for more money, the Wichita school district wants to spend on a rebranding and marketing campaign. The idea that a government agency needs to market itself illustrates a few inconsistencies, as shown below. But spending any money on this effort shows that the district leadership is a little out of touch with the taxpayers. First, taxpayers are being sued for more money by a collection of Kansas school districts, including the Wichita district. So the district is using taxpayer money to extract more taxpayer money, and now it wants to spend more taxpayer money to…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: The need for reform at Wichita City Hall

WichitaLiberty.TV: The need for reform at Wichita City Hall

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: An episode this week at the Wichita city council meeting highlights the need for campaign finance reform in Wichita. We’ll examine a few incidents and see if there’s a way we can reform Wichita city government so that it is capitalism friendly instead of crony friendly. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 69, broadcast December 21, 2014.
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Campaign contribution stacking in Wichita

Campaign contribution stacking in Wichita

Those seeking favors from Wichita City Hall use campaign contribution stacking to bypass contribution limits. This has paid off handsomely for them, and has harmed everyone else. Not long ago a person who is politically active wrote a letter that was published in the Wichita Eagle. It criticized the role of campaign contributions in federal elections, noting “Corporations don’t spend money on politics because they are patriotic; rather, the companies expect a financial return.” Later the letter held this: “Locally, I understand that elections for the Wichita City Council underwent ideal, nonpartisan campaign-finance reform years ago, and that these limits…
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City of Wichita State Legislative Agenda: Passenger rail

City of Wichita State Legislative Agenda: Passenger rail

Instead of calling for the expansion of Amtrak -- perhaps the worst of all federal agencies -- the City of Wichita should do taxpayers a favor and call for an end to government subsidy of Amtrak everywhere. The City of Wichita’s legislative calls for the pursuit of money to pay for the funding of an environmental study of the proposed passenger rail extension to Oklahoma City. Not an actual rail line, just an environmental study. Amtrak is very expensive. In most parts of the country it relies on massive taxpayer subsidy. For example, for the line from Fort Worth to…
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In Kansas, voters want government to concentrate on efficiency and core services before asking for taxes

In Kansas, voters want government to concentrate on efficiency and core services before asking for taxes

A survey of Kansas voters finds that Kansas believe government is not operating efficiently. The also believe government should pursue efficiency savings, focus on core functions, and spend unnecessary cash reserves before cutting services or raising taxes. This month Kansas Policy Institute produced a survey asking registered voters in Kansas questions on the topic of school spending. The final four questions asked voters' opinion of government efficiency and how government should respond to budgetary issues. Question 9 asked this: "How much do you agree or disagree with this statement: Kansas state government operates pretty efficiently and makes effective use of…
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Wichita wants to expand water project, but abandons its website

Wichita wants to expand water project, but abandons its website

As the City of Wichita recommends voters spend $250 million on the expansion of a water project, the project's accompanying website was abandoned, and has now disappeared. The Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) project is a Wichita water utility system. So far its cost has been $247 million. As part of the proposed Wichita one cent per dollar sales tax, another $250 million is earmarked to be spent on its expansion. To help Wichitans learn about the ASR system, the city built a website at wichitawaterproject.org. Nearby is how the front page of that website appeared in January 2012. As…
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Wichita sends educational mailer to non-Wichitans, using Wichita taxes

Wichita sends educational mailer to non-Wichitans, using Wichita taxes

Why is the City of Wichita spending taxpayer money mailing to voters who don't live in the city and can't vote on the issue? A resident of Bel Aire thought it was curious that she received an informational mailing regarding an issue she can't vote on. The issue is the proposed one cent per dollar Wichita city sales tax that is on the November ballot. What is curious about her receiving this mail about the Wichita sales tax? She can't vote on this issue because she lives in Bel Aire, not in Wichita. Only those voters who live in Wichita…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: The proposed one cent per dollar Wichita sales tax

WichitaLiberty.TV: The proposed one cent per dollar Wichita sales tax

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: We’ll talk about the proposed Wichita sales tax, including who pays it, and who gets special exemptions from paying it. Then, can we believe the promises the city makes about accountability and transparency? Finally, has the chosen solution for a future water supply proven itself as viable, and why are we asking low-income households to pay more sales tax on groceries for drought protection? View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 63, broadcast October 26, 2014.
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Government waste in Wichita

In this excerpt from WichitaLiberty.TV: At the time Wichita city government asks for more tax revenue, government waste is abundant. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Originally broadcast September 7, 2014. For more on this issue, see For downtown Wichita, some progress in controlling waste and Wichita planning results in delay, waste.
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