Government waste

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: Considering the proposed Wichita sales tax, looking at unmet maintenance needs, claims that we have few economic development incentives, the cost of the sales tax to families, the taxes already going to the transit system, and the bad choice the city gives us for water. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 61, broadcast October 5, 2014.
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Wichita sales tax does little to close maintenance gap

Wichita sales tax does little to close maintenance gap

The proposed Wichita sales tax does little to close the city's delinquent infrastructure maintenance gap. Despite this, there are rumors of another sales tax next year for quality of life items. Earlier this year the steering committee for the Wichita/Sedgwick County Community Investments Plan delivered a report to the Wichita City Council. The report contains facts that are very relevant to the proposed Wichita one cent per dollar sales tax. Voters will decide on this in November. The most important thing Wichita voters need to know that the city is delinquent in maintaining the assets that taxpayers have purchased. The…
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Before spending on new infrastructure, Wichita voters should ask why so much deferred maintenance

Before spending on new infrastructure, Wichita voters should ask why so much deferred maintenance

As the City of Wichita asks for more tax money for infrastructure, Wichita voters need to be aware of the projected costs of the city's deferred maintenance. When the Wichita City Council voted to increase water rates in November 2013, meeting minutes reported these remarks from the city manager explaining that Wichita has not adequately maintained its infrastructure: Bob Layton City Manager stated the Council told staff last year that they wanted staff to continue to look at operation efficiencies to reduce the operating costs, which they are doing. Stated the rate recommendation does reflect the three percent efficiency increase.…
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For downtown Wichita, some progress in controlling waste

It was a cloudy day, and while the sidewalk bench lights were on, at least the tall street lights were off. Other good news: The outdoor lights at the Wichita Transit Center were also turned off. So Wichita's making some progress in controlling the blatant waste of electricity. Either that, or the lights at the Transit Center finally burned out from being on all day. The lights illustrated in these photographs are, undoubtedly, a small portion of the city's spending. But you don't have to look very hard to find waste like this, and we know that small examples of…
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‘Transforming Wichita’ a reminder of the value of government promises

‘Transforming Wichita’ a reminder of the value of government promises

When Wichita voters weigh the plausibility of the city's plans for spending proposed new sales tax revenue, they should remember this is not the first time the city has promised results and accountability. Do you remember Transforming Wichita? According to the city, "Transforming Wichita is the journey by which we are fundamentally changing the way we measure, report and perform the work of delivering services to the citizens of Wichita." In more detail, the city website proclaimed: "TW is the journey by which we will be fundamentally changing the way we deliver services to the citizens of Wichita. Our vision…
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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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As Wichita asks for more taxes, it continues to waste what it has

The lights are on at the Wichita Transit Center on a sunny day -- on a day the buses are not running. The City of Wichita is recommending that voters approve a new city sales tax. Part would be used to fund the existing bus transit system and expand service. Whether or not you agree with that goal, people want government to spend taxpayer money carefully and efficiently. This is why it's annoying to see the outside lights turned on in the middle of a sunny day. Especially so on Sunday, when the Transit Center is not open and buses…
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Your smartphone is your activism toolkit

Your smartphone is your activism toolkit

Your smartphone is a valuable tool for activism. Here are two ways to get involved. Many people wonder how they can be involved in helping to improve government as a citizen activist. It may be that you have a valuable tool that's in your pocket, and that you take everywhere you go: Your smartphone. You may have seen me showing photographs of street lights burning in downtown Wichita during the middle of sunny afternoons. Have you ever spotted government waste like that? I’m sure that you have. I think people forget they have a fairly high-quality camera with them at…
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Public opinion on Wichita sales tax

Public opinion on Wichita sales tax

As Wichita prepares to debate the desirability of a sales tax increase, a public opinion poll finds little support for the tax and the city's plans. In April Kansas Policy Institute commissioned SurveyUSA to conduct a scientific poll concerning current topics in Wichita. The press release from KPI, along with a link to the complete survey results, is available at Poll: Wichitans don’t want sales tax increase. In summary: Only 28% say the city has been spending efficiently. Only 34% agree with the idea of local governments using taxpayer money to provide subsidies to certain businesses for economic development. When…
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Before asking for more taxes, Wichita should stop wasting what it has

Before asking for more taxes, Wichita should stop wasting what it has

Voters should ask that Wichita stop blatant and avoidable waste before approving additional taxes. At 6:13 pm on August 11, 2014, a full two hours and nine minutes before sunset, with Wichita bathed in golden sunshine, the outside lights are on at the Wichita Transit Center. I wasn't surprised to see this. These lights were probably burning and wasting electricity all day long. While waste like this is unacceptable, it is all the more intolerable considering that Wichita's transit system is out of money. The city council has recommended that Wichitans vote for higher sales taxes, part of which would…
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McGinn, as committee chair, was not for performance measures

McGinn, as committee chair, was not for performance measures

A 2011 Kansas bill could have increased the accountability of state government, but committee chair Carolyn McGinn wasn't in favor. In the 2011 session of the Kansas Legislature, several bills were proposed that would streamline government and investigate opportunities for privatization. Another proposed bill in 2011 was HB 2158, which would have created performance measures for state agencies and reported that information to the public. The supplemental note says that the bill "as amended, would institute a new process for modifying current performance measures and establishing new standardized performance measures to be used by all state agencies in support of…
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For Rep. Tiahrt, Cash for Clunkers was a good spending program

For Rep. Tiahrt, Cash for Clunkers was a good spending program

When the Obama Administration needed additional funds for the Cash for Clunkers program, Todd Tiahrt was agreeable to funding this wasteful program. As summarized by the Congressional Research Service: "Makes emergency supplemental appropriations of $2 billion for FY2009 and FY2010 to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the Department of Transportation (DOT) for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program (Cash for Clunkers Program)." This bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 316 to 109. Among House Republicans, the vote was 78 to 95 in favor of passage. Todd Tiahrt was one of the…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Waste, economic development, and water issues.

WichitaLiberty.TV: Waste, economic development, and water issues.

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichitans ought to ask city hall to stop blatant waste before it asks for more taxes. Then, a few questions about economic development incentives. Finally, how should we pay for a new water source, and is city hall open to outside ideas? View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 53, broadcast July 27, 2014.
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Wichita’s vampires and monsters

In this excerpt from WichitaLiberty.TV: The City of Wichita urges citizens to take steps to stop "vampire" power waste. But before hectoring people to introduce inconvenience to their lives in order to save small amounts of electricity, the city should tackle the real monsters of its own creation. Originally broadcast June 29, 2014. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. For more on this issue, see "Forget the vampires. Let’s tackle the real monsters."
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If the transit lights are off, the street lights are probably on

If the transit lights are off, the street lights are probably on

When the city of Wichita is not concerned about waste that is easily observed, how careful is it about avoiding waste not easily seen by citizens? Last Friday afternoon the parking lot lights Wichita Transit Center where switched on, as they often are during the day. So at lunchtime today as I drove by the Transit Center and saw that the lights were off, I was relieved that the city wasn't wasting electricity lighting the noonday sky. But I didn't have to travel much farther before I saw street lights turned on for several blocks on Douglas, Broadway, and Topeka.…
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How earmarks pay off for the earmarkers

How earmarks pay off for the earmarkers

The case of a Kansas Congressman benefiting from earmark spending once out of office should make us glad the practice has ended, and we should be wary of those who call for its return. The case of United States House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Member Todd Tiahrt and Neumann Systems is an illustration of the revolving door between government and the private sector. It started with an earmark. An Air Force budgetary document indicates that the earmark spending was at the direction of Congress: "In FY 2006, Congress added $1.2 million for the High Power Fiber Laser Program, and $0.5…
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Waste in Wichita, the seen and probably unseen

Waste in Wichita, the seen and probably unseen

When the city of Wichita is not concerned about waste that is easily observed, what about waste that not easily seen by citizens? Yesterday most downtown Wichita street lights were switched off during the day. But not all, as can be seen by the many lights switched on at the Wichita Transit Center. They were on Friday afternoon, just as they are on many days. While waste like this is unacceptable, it is all the more intolerable considering that Wichita's transit system is out of money. The city council has recommended that Wichitans vote for higher sales taxes, part of…
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