Kansas Watchdog

SEC orders Kansas to stop doing what it did under Sebelius and Parkinson

SEC orders Kansas to stop doing what it did under Sebelius and Parkinson

The Securities and Exchange Commission found that Kansas mislead bond investors. It ordered the state to implement reforms, which it has. According to a press release from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the State of Kansas "failed to disclose that the state’s pension system was significantly underfunded, and the unfunded pension liability created a repayment risk for investors in those bonds." This refers to a series of eight debt, or bond, issues in 2009 and 2010. Collectively they were worth $273 million. The SEC press release explains: According to the SEC’s order against Kansas, the series of bond offerings were…
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In Kansas, tax giveaways for job creation found ineffective

In Kansas, tax giveaways for job creation found ineffective

From Kansas Watchdog. Study: State tax giveaways to big business don’t really bring jobs By Travis Perry, Kansas Watchdog BIG SUBSIDIES: Kansas has forked over millions in tax breaks since 2009, but new research says it has been ineffective at accomplishing its main goal: Creating new jobs. OSAWATOMIE, Kan. -- By the time theMcQueeny Group signed up for tax breaks through Kansas’ primary economic development engine, vice president Rod Slump said the business was already looking to make a move. Tax breaks provided through Promoting Employment Across Kansas were just icing on the cake. Like numerous other firms who have relocated to Kansas…
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Kansas not good on spending visibility

Kansas not good on spending visibility

For more about this issue, see Open Records in Kansas. The results are in, and the news isn’t good: Kansas continues to plummet in state spending transparency rankings, and it barely squeaked by with a grade of D-minus, according to a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Post by Voice For Liberty.
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Could lower open records fees threaten Kansans’ safety?

Travis Perry of Kansas Watchdog reports that governmental agencies fear that fulfilling records requests will cost too much and eliminate a necessary revenue stream. But there are solutions that may not be under consideration. For example, instead of supplying accident reports singly as they are requested, law enforcement agencies could simply make all such reports available. I can hear the objections, such as it will cost too much for each agency to maintain a website for the purposes of making reports available. But each agency doesn't have to establish and maintain a website. The state (or someone else) could easily…
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Kansas school finance lawsuit reaction

Kansas school finance lawsuit reaction

Following is news coverage and reaction to the Kansas school finance lawsuit Luke Gannon, et al v. State of Kansas. Press release from Kansas Supreme Court The court declared certain school funding laws fail to provide equity in public education as required by the Kansas Constitution and returned the case to Shawnee County District Court to enforce the court's holdings. The court further ordered the three-judge panel that presided over the trial of the case to reconsider whether school funding laws provide adequacy in public education -- as also required by the constitution. ... The court set a July 1,…
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Kansas legislative documents

As the Kansas Legislature begins its 2014 session today, citizens who want to keep track of the happenings have these resources available. Video and audio The Kansas Legislature doesn't broadcast or archive video of its proceedings except in rare instances of committee hearings. Travis Perry of Kansas Watchdog reports on this issue in Camera shy: KS legislators sidestep transparency and Eye in the sky: Kansas legislative leader won’t require streaming video. Both the House and Senate broadcast audio of their proceedings. But you must listen live, as the broadcasts are not made available to the public in any other way.…
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Kansas trails surrounding states in economic freedom

Kansas trails surrounding states in economic freedom By Travis Perry, Kansas Watchdog AVERAGE: In a recent study of economic freedom in North America, Kansas ranked in the middle of the pack nationwide, but trails most surrounding states. OSAWATOMIE, Kan. -- The Sunflower State scored middle of the pack in a recent study of economic freedom in North America, and while policy analysts sayKansas is trending in the right direction, the state still has some ground to cover. Breaking down the data released last month by the Canada-based Fraser Institute, an independent, nonpartisan research and educational organization, Dave Trabert, president of the conservative Kansas Policy Institute, said the state’s black eye…
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2013 year in review: Top 10 stories from the Sunflower State

2013 year in review: Top 10 stories from the Sunflower State By Travis Perry, Kansas Watchdog OSAWATOMIE, Kan. -- It’s over, done, finalized, finito. With the final days and hours of 2013 ticking to a close, we figured it’s a good time for reflection on what the last 12 months have brought the Sunflower State. So, without further delay, Kansas Watchdog presents its Top 10 stories of 2013. 1. Wayward welfare dollars An in-depth investigation into howKansans spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in government welfare money came to a shocking conclusion: a striking number of transactions appear to be going toward anything but…
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Study: Kansas premiums to spike following Obamacare rollout

From Kansas Watchdog. Study: Kansas premiums to spike following Obamacare rollout By Travis Perry ON THE RISE: A new report from the Heritage Foundation says Obamacare premiums are significantly higher in Kansas compared to average rates before the rollout of the new health care law. By Travis Perry, Kansas Watchdog OSAWATOMIE — Good news: Kansas landed in the top 10 in a recent study conducted by the conservative Heritage Foundation! Bad news: It’s for massive insurance premium hikes because ofObamacare. Kinda puts a damper on things, huh? As I said, before dashing your optimism with harsh reality, Kansas is among the top 10 states to…
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Money flows to Kansas elections

Kansas Watchdog, in its article Tracking the PACs -- big money flowing into crucial Senate contests, lays out the action of political action committees seeking to influence Kansas voters in the August primary election. The issue of third-party money involvement has been a concern to many, with Democrats and moderate Republicans railing against "special interest" money, frequently referring to the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity. The claim is that these organizations are attempting to buy an election. Thanks to Earl Glynn's reporting in Kansas Watchdog, we see that both sides have PACs that funnel money to, or…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday May 17, 2012

Watchdog reporter at Pachyderm. This Friday (May 18th) the Wichita Pachyderm Club features Paul Soutar, Reporter for Kansas Watchdog, speaking on "The evolution of journalism and how the new media empowers citizens." The public is welcome and encouraged to attend Wichita Pachyderm meetings. For more information click on Wichita Pachyderm Club. ... The club has an exceptional lineup of future speakers as follows: On May 25th: Ron Estes, State Treasurer of Kansas, speaking on "A report from the Kansas Treasurer." ... On June 1st: Gary Oborny, Chairman/CEO Occidental Management and Real Estate Development, CCIM Designated member of the Storm Water…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday May 2, 2012

When government pays, government controls. Although most liberals would not admit this, it sometimes slips through: When government is paying for our health care, government then feels it must control our behavior. The Wichita Eagle's Rhonda Holman provides an example of this, when she wrote in a blog post about Kansas relaxing its smoking ban: "Especially with Medicaid costs swallowing up the state budget, lawmakers should be discouraging smoking, not accommodating more of it." The moral case for capitalism. "Two main charges are typically marshaled against capitalism: it generates inequality by allowing some to become wealthier than others; and it…
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Federal, United Nations planning imported to Wichita

Yesterday the Sedgwick County Commission voted to participate in a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. Republican commissioners Dave Unruh and Jim Skelton joined with Democrat Tim Norton to pass the measure. Below, Paul Soutar of Kansas Watchdog explains why this planning process is a bad idea. Local Planning Initiative Has Federal Strings, UN Roots by Paul Soutar, Kansas Watchdog The Sedgwick County Commission will decide Wednesday whether to give a consortium of South Central Kansas governments and organizations broad control over community planning funded by a federal grant and based on a United Nations agenda. The Regional Economic Area…
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Occupy Koch Town protestors ignore facts

Below, Paul Soutar of Kansas Watchdog provides more evidence that the campaign against Wichita-based Koch Industries regarding their alleged involvement in the Keystone XL pipeline is not based on facts. Besides this article, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo of Wichita has also written on this issue in The Democrats continue unjustified attacks on taxpayers and job creators. Another inconvenient fact is that if the Canadian oil is not sold to the U.S., it will be sold to and consumed in China. If we are concerned about greenhouse gas emissions leading to climate change, it should be noted that it doesn't matter…
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Kansas committee asks if KBA audit did enough to expose problems

By Bob Weeks, Special to KansasWatchdog.org Members of the joint Commerce and Economic Development Committees expressed concern that a forensic audit of the Kansas Bioscience Authority was not broad enough and that deliberate deletion of data from a KBA computer left questions unanswered. On Wedesday James Snyder, managing partner for BKD’s Forensics and Valuation Services, told the committee that while his firm was hired and paid by KBA, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s administration was heavily involved. Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman served as the main contact for the Brownback Administration, although Caleb Stegall, the governor’s chief lawyer, and Steve Anderson,…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Friday December 30, 2011

Year in review, Wichita Liberty-style. Here it is: A selection of stories that appeared on Voice for Liberty in 2011. Was it a good or bad year for the causes of economic freedom, individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and civil society? Patriots New Years Eve. Larry Halloran of Wichita -- South Central KS 912 Group is sponsoring for the second time a "Patriots New Years Eve": Taking time to relax in the company of Patriots as we dedicate ourselves to the important work ahead in 2012. This event is New Year's Eve from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm at…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday December 19, 2011

Boeing tanker and Wichita. News reports from this morning's press conference held by U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo of Wichita indicate that Boeing will not use Wichita as the finishing plant for work on the new air refueling tanker project. It was thought that this work would require 7,500 jobs in Wichita. Political and union leaders speak of holding Boeing accountable to what they believe was a promise Boeing made to Wichita, but I don't know how they can do that. ... Pompeo's press release states: "... the work will be done in Washington state. Until very recently, it had been…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday October 31, 2011

Wichita City Council. The Wichita City Council this week considers two items of interest. Spirit AeroSystems will ask for $15 million in IRBs. Spirit will purchase the bonds itself. It will receive a property tax exemption for ten years and exemption from sales tax. No dollar amount is given for the value of the exemptions. ... Then, Southfork Investment LLC, a group headed by Jay Maxwell, is asking for the formation of a new tax increment financing (TIF) district. This item, if the council approves, will set December 6 as the date for a public hearing. The vote to form…
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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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