Kansas Reporter

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday March 8, 2012

Candidate representatives at Pachyderm. This Friday's meeting (March 9th) of the Wichita Pachyderm Club features Republican presidential candidate spokespersons. In addition, Lora Cox, Executive Director of the Sedgwick County Republican Party will be on hand to answer questions regarding the mechanics of Saturday’s Republican Party Caucus. ... The public is welcome and encouraged to attend Wichita Pachyderm meetings. For more information click on Wichita Pachyderm Club. Sedgwick County pre-caucus rally. Friday afternoon (March 9th) Kansans for Liberty is producing a pre-caucus rally at Century II. Ron Paul is scheduled to appear. There will be other speakers and live entertainment, say…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday November 22, 2011

Ghana junket. A reader writes with information and opinion about the trip by Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and Vice Mayor Lavonta Williams (district 1, northeast and east Wichita) to Ghana, Africa: "I found it interesting that the City Council $15,000 plus junket to Ghana was first advertised as a Sister City recruitment trip (And after the Police Chief and others were identified) the trip mission changed to Economic Development. I have no idea how Ghana can help us when 56% of their economy is agricultural and in 2002 the government opted for debt relief under the "Heavily Indebted Poor Country…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday October 17, 2011

Government job creation. Reason editor Matt Welch introduces the magazine's November issue, which contains articles on free-market job creation. After citing the litany of failures, he concludes: "Such persistence in the face of repeated failure suggests that some powerful myths continue to hold sway among politicians and many of the people they represent. Among the most stubborn of these is the notion that passing a bill to fix a problem is the same as actually fixing the problem. This assumption -- which reaches its illogical conclusion during times of national panic, when do-something busybodies like Michael Bloomberg will say that…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday October 13, 2011

Wichita city leaders too cozy with developers? Yesterday I participated in a KAKE Television news story where I explained the need for pay-to-play laws in Wichita and Kansas. These laws generally restrict officeholders from participating in votes or activities that would enrich their campaign contributors. In the story I said "What I, and some of my political allies object to, is what is happening in plain sight: In that there is a relatively small group of people -- and their spouses and people who work at their companies -- who regularly contribute to a wide variety of city council members,…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday August 16, 2011

Future of Kansas insurance exchange. "TOPEKA -- A federal appeals court ruling in Georgia that overturned a portion of the nation's latest health insurance law Friday did little to end confusion over how to follow that law in Kansas. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which requires all Americans to carry health insurance or face penalties, is unconstitutional. The Court ruled that Congress exceeded its constitutional powers by requiring people to buy health insurance when they choose not to do so." At issue is whether the…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Sunday July 10, 2011

Wichita city council. This week the Wichita City Council considers these major items of interest: Capps Manufacturing, Inc. seeks to avoid paying property tax on an expansion of its plant. Under the city's Economic Development Exemption (EDX) Program, the company, according to city documents, is eligible to avoid paying 80 percent of the property tax on the expansion for a period of ten years. The documents state: "Based on the 2010 mill levy, the estimated taxable value of exempted property for the first full year is approximately $38,387." I believe this is incorrect; that figure is the amount of property…
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KPERS solution not likely this session

With little time left for the Kansas Legislature to meet this year, and with the budget still not passed, it's not very likely that action will be taken to reform the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS). Especially when there's a study commission waiting in the wings to take the pressure off lawmakers to take action now. It should be noted that the "best" plan, in terms of making a start on the reforms KPERS needs, still falls short of making the fundamental reforms that are required. Below, Kansas Reporter provides details of the political wrangling. Lawmakers spar over Kansas…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday April 11, 2011

Social security entitlement. In today's Wichita Eagle Opinion Line, this comment was left: "Please stop calling my Social Security an 'entitlement.' I paid into it all my working life, and I just want my money back." Two points: The writer seems to believe that just because people pay into Social Security, they're entitled to benefits as through there was a contract in place. But there is no contract. Social Security benefits are what Congress says they are, and Congress can make changes at any time. ... Second, the writer wants his money back, as though the money was paid onto…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday March 28, 2011

Wichita Eagle endorsements. Yesterday the Wichita Eagle released its endorsements for Mayor, Wichita City Council, and Wichita school board. It is no surprise that in each case the newspaper editorial board recommended that voters select the candidate most likely to support the board's big-government interventionist policies, thereby (unwittingly?) providing a guide as to who not to vote for, if you value limited government and economic freedom. Wichita City Council this week. As it is the fifth Tuesday of the month, the Wichita City Council will not meet. While some might say the mayor and council members need to get to…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday March 23, 2011

Owens still blocks judicial selection reform. Kansas Reporter writes that one man, Senator Tim Owens, an attorney and Republican from Overland Park, is still blocking judicial selection reform. But a move by the House gives Senate President Stephen Morris a chance to let Senators vote to concur with the reform measure passed by the House. Or, Morris could refer the measure to Owens' Judiciary committee, where it will die. See New way of picking appeals judges gets second shot. Greed is killing Detroit. Greed is often portrayed as a negative quality of the rich. But Investor's Business Daily tells what…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday March 10, 2011

Kansas labor report. For January 2011, the Kansas Department of Labor reports: "According to January 2011 estimates, Kansas businesses lost 6,100 jobs over-the-year, a 0.5 percent decrease. ... The January 2011 unemployment rate in Kansas was 7.4 percent, up from 6.4 in December 2010 but down from 7.9 percent in January 2010." Said Labor Secretary Karin Brownlee: "The Great Recession continues to take a tremendous toll on the Kansas economy. The Governor’s focus on creating jobs could not be more timely. The work by the Brownback administration to make Kansas the best place to do business is the focus needed…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday February 28, 2011

Elections tomorrow. On Tuesday voters across Kansas will vote in city and school board primary elections. Well, at least a few will vote, as it is thought that only nine percent of eligible voters will actually vote. Many of those may have already voted by now, as advance voting is popular. For those who haven't yet decided, here's the Wichita Eagle voter guide. Kansas schools can transfer funds? A recent legislative update by Kansas Representative Bob Brookens, a Republican from Marion, tells readers this about Kansas school finance: "Most school districts in our area braced for this possibility by taking…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday February 3, 2011

Wichita-area legislators to meet with public. From Rep. Jim Ward, South-Central Delegation Chair: "Public comment about the proposed state budget, health care reform, voter eligibility and other major issues will be heard by local legislators at 9:00 am Saturday, Feb. 5, at the Wichita State University Metroplex, 29th and Oliver. The forum is the first of the 2011 legislative session and is hosted by the South-Central State Legislative Delegation. ... Delegation members will take written and spoken questions from the public during the two-hour session. 'Legislators need to hear from the people who are affected by these important issues,' said…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday January 26, 2011

Kansas legislature website. The Kansas legislature’s website is improving. Today the calendar is available for today's session of the House, although yesterday's journal is not. The Senate is better, with both today's calendar and yesterday's journal available. These documents are now presented in the preferred pdf format, although the unconventional and inconvenient viewing window is still being used. ... Contact information for members seems to be fairly complete, even for the newest member who was elected just last week. ... Bills seem to be more up-to-date, with history available for some. But so far I've not seen any bill's fiscal…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday December 28, 2010

Hawker Beechcraft deal breaks new ground. When asked by KAKE Television's This Week in Kansas host Tim Brown if the Hawker Beechcraft deal was good for Kansas, Wichita State University professor H. Edward Flentje said that while the deal was "great news" in the short term, it raised policy questions in the long term. He said he didn't think the state has invested in a company that is downsizing, with Hawker shrinking by one-third over the past few years. He added that he believed this is the first time the state has a provision of state law to retain jobs,…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday December 1, 2010

Tax incentives questioned. In a commentary in Site Selection Magazine, Daniel Levine lays out the case that tax incentives that states use to lure or keep jobs are harmful, and the practice should end. In Incentives and the Interstate Competition for Jobs he writes: "Despite overwhelming evidence that state and local tax incentives are having little to no positive effect on promoting real economic growth anywhere in the country, states continue to up the ante with richer and richer incentive programs. ... there are real questions as to whether the interstate competition for jobs is a wise use of anyone’s…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday November 16, 2010

Future of California. George Gilder, writing in the Wall Street Journal, lays out a grim future for California based on voters' refusal to overturn AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. Of the requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state, Gilder writes: "That's a 30% drop followed by a mandated 80% overall drop by 2050. Together with a $500 billion public-pension overhang, the new energy cap dooms the state to bankruptcy." He says that AB 32 may not be necessary at all: "The irony is that a century-long trend of advance in conventional 'non-renewable' energy -- from wood…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday November 4, 2010

The future of politics is here, now. After noting how California reached way back to the past to elect a governor, Denis Boyles writes in National Review Online about the future, and how it's being made right here: "If you want to see the bright and shining politics of the future, you have to go to the country’s heartland, and specifically to Kansas, a place most Democrats only know from Thomas Frank’s liberal folklore. There, the election has yielded two new congressmen -- Mike Pompeo and the remarkable Tim Huelskamp -- who were not created by the Tea Party movement…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday October 26, 2010

Karl Rove. "Former George W. Bush aide Matt Latimer was there to observe the dealings of Karl Rove during the previous administration, and he writes that there’s no secret why most conservatives have now come to view Rove as a fraud. Latimer says that Rove has become symbolic of a GOP establishment that’s known for its utter betrayal and ruin of the Party that Reagan had left so strong. Now that his secret is out, Rove’s influence will only continue to diminish as time goes on and the Tea Parties take over." A fascinating look at the legacy of Rove,…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday October 12, 2010

Wichita Visioneers in Louisville. The Wichita Business Journal's Emily Behlmann reports on a trip by Wichitans to Louisville to get ideas on transforming Wichita's downtown. Hopefully they won't get this idea, as reported yesterday by the Louisville Courier-Journal: "The heavily subsidized 4th Street Live entertainment district has come under criticism from locally owned businesses for receiving millions of dollars in tax breaks and government subsidies -- including a controversial, $950,000 city loan that won't necessarily have to be repaid." According to Wichita planner Goody Clancy, heavy subsidy isn't supposed to be necessary in Wichita. And, I hope all the planners…
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