Industrial Revenue Bonds

Wichita presents industrial revenue bonds

Wichita presents industrial revenue bonds

A presentation by the City of Wichita regarding IRBs is good as far as it goes, which is not far enough. Recently the City of Wichita prepared a short video explaining the city's industrial revenue bonds (IRB) program. The video may be viewed on YouTube by clicking here. Several times the presenters emphasized that in the IRB program, the city does not lend money. They properly identify the true purpose of the program, which is to subsidize companies by allowing them to avoid paying property taxes and possibly sales taxes. Several times the presenters emphasized that the IRB program has…
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Freestanding emergency room in Wichita closes

Freestanding emergency room in Wichita closes

The conversion of a medical facility should receive city scrutiny due to tax breaks granted based on its original use. The Wichita Eagle reports that a freestanding emergency room in northeast Wichita has closed after two years. It will be converted to a cardiology office under the same ownership. As I reported in Free standing emergency department about to open in Wichita, the facility received property tax abatements worth an estimated $61,882 per year in the first year. The abatement was scheduled to last for five years, with a likely extension for an additional five years. These abatements were obtained…
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Sedgwick County tax exemptions

Sedgwick County tax exemptions

Unlike the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County has kept track of its tax exemptions. As part of an effort to increase efficiency and management of Sedgwick County government, former county manager Michael Scholes implemented numerous changes, as detailed in the document Efficiencies in Sedgwick County government. One management accomplishment was described as this: Developed a tax system and business intelligence query to identify Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB) & Economic Development (EDX) tax exemptions and report foregone property tax revenues for Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) 77 reporting. The report provides the ability to report by tax authority, company, and real…
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It’s not the bonds, it’s the taxes

It’s not the bonds, it’s the taxes

A Wichita Eagle headline reads "Wichita aircraft supplier plans 45 new jobs with $7.5 million bond request," but important information is buried and incomplete. According to the agenda packet for the December 4, 2018 meeting of the Wichita City Council, a local aircraft supplier is "requesting issuance of bonds" worth $7.5 million. [1. City of Wichita, agenda for December 4, 2018. V-2: Public Hearing and Issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds, Etezazi Industries, Inc. Available at http://www.wichita.gov/Council/Agendas/12-04-2018%20Agenda.pdf.] Even if you read the entire Wichita Eagle article[3. Siebenmark, Jerry. Wichita aircraft supplier plans 45 new jobs with $7.5 million bond request. Wichita…
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From Pachyderm: Economic development incentives

From Pachyderm: Economic development incentives

A look at some of the large economic development programs in Wichita and Kansas. Here's video of a presentation I gave at the Wichita Pachyderm Club this week on economic development incentives. The video was produced by Paul Soutar of Graphic Lens. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Following, articles that address some of the topics I presented: Industrial revenue bonds in Kansas: Industrial Revenue Bonds are a mechanism that Kansas cities and counties use to allow companies to avoid paying property and sales taxes. Wichita TIF projects: some background: Tax increment financing disrupts the usual flow…
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Wichita business press needs to step up

Wichita business press needs to step up

If a newspaper is going to write a news story, it might as well take a moment to copy and paste information from a city council agenda packet. Especially when what is missing from the story is perhaps the most important information. When the Wichita City Council approved an Industrial Revenue Bond issue at its July 10, 2018 meeting, the city's business press covered the matter. In the Wichita Eagle, the story fails to mention the motivation for the item. [1. Finger, Stan. Wichita City Council approves bonds for Cargill expansion. Available at https://www.kansas.com/news/business/article214622565.html.] The meeting agenda packet for this…
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How much will this cost Wichita taxpayers?

How much will this cost Wichita taxpayers?

How much, if anything, do tax abatements cost? Someone asked a question regarding an item on the Wichita City Council agenda today: How much will this cost taxpayers? The item in question is agenda item IV-1: Public Hearing and Request for a Letter of Intent to Issue Industrial Revenue Bonds (WAM Investments #6, LLC). [1. Wichita City Council agenda packet for May 1, 2108.] Attached was an article from the Wichita Business Journal previewing the matter. [1. Daniel McCoy. Wichita City Council to consider $6 million in IRBs for industrial spec building. Wichita Business Journal, April 30, 2018. Available at…
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Free standing emergency department about to open in Wichita

Free standing emergency department about to open in Wichita

A project in Wichita received substantial subsidy from taxpayers. How have public policy issues been reported? Free standing emergency rooms are a recent trend in medical care. This is a facility that has equipment, personnel, and capability like a traditional hospital emergency room, but is not connected to a hospital. The first in Wichita is nearly ready to open, on Twenty-first Street east of Webb Road. Regarding the Wichita facility, the Wichita Business Journal quoted Malik Idbeis, chief information officer for Kansas Medical Center: "We see a lot of patients from the northeast side of Wichita. We thought it’d be…
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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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Naftzger Park project details

Naftzger Park project details

The city has finalized a proposal for a development near Naftzger Park. It includes a few new and creative provisions. This week the City of Wichita will consider a development agreement for land and buildings near Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita. [1. City of Wichita Agenda Packet for December 19, 2017, Item IV-6. Available at http://wichitaks.granicus.com/AgendaViewer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=3699.] Community Improvement District The plan includes the formation of a Community Improvement District. In CIDs, 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/.] In this…
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Delano catalyst site

Delano catalyst site

A development near downtown Wichita may receive subsidy through four different avenues. This week the Wichita City Council will consider approval of a development agreement with EPC Real Estate, LLC, for the Delano catalyst site. This is vacant land north of Douglas, between the Advanced Learning Library and the River Vista project. Update: The measure passed four votes to three, with Bluebaugh, Frye, and Longwell in the minority. Wichita Eagle reporting mentions some of the public subsidy the development will receive: $12 million over a period of years, in the form of Tax Increment Financing and Community Improvement District sales…
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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 Business Journal grants city council excess power

Wichita Business Journal grants city council excess power

The Wichita Business Journal and the City of Wichita team to provide incorrect coverage and missing analysis. Today the Wichita Business Journal reported: "An $11.5 million expansion of the Wichita operations of BG Products has been given the go-ahead. The Wichita City Council on Tuesday approved the expansion plan and issued industrial revenue bonds for the project." [1. Heck, Josh. Council green-lights company's $11.5M expansion. Wichita Business Journal, September 12, 2017. Available at https://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/news/2017/09/12/council-green-lights-companys-11-5m-expansion.html.] The problem with this reporting is that BG Products was not asking for the city's permission to expand its operations, as the first sentence implies. Nor…
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More Cargill incentives from Wichita detailed

More, but likely not all, of the Cargill incentives will be before the Wichita City Council this week. A division of Cargill, Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, is moving from an office on North Main Street in downtown Wichita to the site of the former Wichita Eagle building, also in downtown Wichita. Last year it was widely reported that Cargill was considering moving this division to another city. Reports of incentives offers to Cargill from other cities spurred the City of Wichita to offer its own incentives if Cargill would remain in Wichita. This week the city council will consider additional…
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Cargill subsides start forming

Cargill subsides start forming

Details of the subsidy programs used to keep Cargill in Wichita are starting to take shape. This week the Wichita City Council will consider one of the (potentially many) subsidy programs offered to keep Cargill in Wichita. Cargill Protein Group is currently located at 151 N. Main. The plan is for Cargill to purchase and demolish the Wichita Eagle building at 825 E. Douglas, then build a new office building in its place. The subsidy program to be considered this week is the Industrial Revenue Bond program[1. Weeks, Bob. Industrial revenue bonds in Kansas. https://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/industrial-revenue-bonds-kansas/.]. The city won't be lending…
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Cash incentives in Wichita, again

Cash incentives in Wichita, again

The City of Wichita says it does not want to use cash incentives for economic development. But a proposal contains just that. Update: The council did not approve this project, by a vote of four to three. This week the Wichita City Council will consider a package of incentives for the developer of a large downtown building, the Finney State Office Center. While the city has said that it does not want to use cash incentives, they are proposed for this project.[1. Wichita City Council agenda packet for April 11, 2017.] Elements of the proposal are these: The Wichita Public…
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Won’t anyone develop in downtown Wichita without incentives?

Won’t anyone develop in downtown Wichita without incentives?

Action the Wichita City Council will consider next week makes one wonder: If downtown Wichita is so great, why does the city have to give away so much? Next week the Wichita City Council will consider a package of incentives for the developer of a large downtown building, the Finney State Office Center. The building has an appraised value of $7,902,570, per the Sedgwick County Treasurer. The city will sell it for $100,000. That's a mere 1.3 cents per dollar, if the county's valuation is reasonable. (But, the $100,000 is non-refundable, should the purchaser decide not to close on the…
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Wichita to grant property and sales tax relief

Wichita to grant property and sales tax relief

Several large employers in Wichita ask to avoid paying millions in taxes, which increases the cost of government for everyone else, including young companies struggling to break through. This week the Wichita City Council will hold public hearings concerning the issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds to Spirit AeroSystems, Inc and other companies.[1. City of Wichita. City Council agenda packet for December 6, 2016.] In the IRB program, government is not lending money, and Wichita taxpayers are not at risk if the bonds are not repaid. In fact, in the case of Spirit, the applicant company plans to purchase the bonds…
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In Wichita, developer welfare under a cloud

In Wichita, developer welfare under a cloud

A downtown Wichita project receives a small benefit from the city, with no mention of the really big money. Today the Wichita City Council approved a subsidy for a project in downtown Wichita. The city will lend the developer of a project at 303 S. Broadway $620,000 to improve the building's facade. The property must repay this amount through an assessment on its property tax. The benefit to the property is that the city is able to borrow money at a lower interest rate, and this reduces the cost of borrowing for the project. The agenda packet for this item…
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CID and other incentives approved in downtown Wichita

CID and other incentives approved in downtown Wichita

The Wichita City Council approves economic development incentives, but citizens should not be proud of the discussion and deliberation. Today's meeting of the Wichita City Council saw the council discuss and approve economic development incentives for a project in downtown Wichita. The item contemplated economic development incentives for redevelopment of an empty building in downtown Wichita to become a Hilton Garden Inn Hotel. The incentives being considered were a Community Improvement District (CID), Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB), a parking agreement, and a skywalk easement. The discussion by the council was useful for revealing two members who are opposed to some…
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