Privatization

New Wichita water plant

New Wichita water plant

Next week the Wichita City Council will consider a major step in proceeding with a new Wichita water plant. The central water plant in Wichita is old, and the city has been planning a new plant. The new facility is called the Northwest Water Treatment Facility (NWWTF). Much information is available in the agenda packet for the July 10, 2018 city council meeting. The city plans to issue a letter of interest (LOI) to apply for a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 (WIFIA) federal loan for up to 49 percent of the project cost, which at this…
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Despite growth of sharing economy, Wichita relies on centralization

Despite growth of sharing economy, Wichita relies on centralization

The sharing economy provides for the decentralization and privatization of regulation, but the City of Wichita clings to the old ways. In May the Wichita Eagle printed a letter from a Wichitan describing his recent cab ride from the airport: "I got in the cab to go home, and that turned out to be the most offensive encounter of my trip. The driver was dressed perfectly for slopping hogs. The cab plainly stank. There were spills, trash, crumbs, scuzzy windows, sticky door panels. Ugh." Not having been in a taxicab in Wichita for some years, I was surprised to learn…
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Efficiency has not come to Kansas government

Efficiency has not come to Kansas government

Kansas state government needs to cut spending, but finds itself in a difficult situation of its own making. The budget bill under consideration in the Kansas Legislature calls for spending $3 million for the production of an efficiency analysis review. It's a good idea, but is too late to help the legislature balance the budget this year. Trimming Kansas government spending is a long-term project. The legislature has looked at several bills that would help control spending, but has not passed the bills. Had they been passed when introduced, the state would be in a much better position to make…
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Kansas must get serious about spending

Kansas must get serious about spending

As Kansas struggles to balance the budget for this year and the next, the state needs to prepare for future budgets by resolving the problem of spending. Why is controlling spending important? The slow rate of growth of the Kansas economy has been a problem for years. This interactive visualization lets you compare gross domestic product growth of Kansas with other states. Kansas has reduced income taxes, but Kansas has not reduced spending to match. There is pressure to balance future budgets with tax increases instead of spending cuts. Because of the lagging performance of the Kansas economy, it's important…
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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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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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WichitaLiberty.TV: Government accounting, Government ownership of infrastructure, and Wichita commercial property taxes

WichitaLiberty.TV: Government accounting, Government ownership of infrastructure, and Wichita commercial property taxes

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Government leaders tell us they want to run government like a business. But does government actually do this, even when accounting for its money? Then, is it best for government to own all the infrastructure? Finally, taxes on Wichita commercial property are high, compared to the rest of the nation. Episode 46, broadcast June 8, 2014. View below, or click here to view at YouTube.
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To fund government, Wichitans prefer alternatives to raising taxes

To fund government, Wichitans prefer alternatives to raising taxes

Wichita voters prefer adjusting spending, becoming more efficient, using public-private partnerships, and privatization to raising taxes. 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. Question nine asked how Wichita voters preferred paying for new government spending: "To fund existing infrastructure, build new infrastructure, and secure a long-term water source should Wichita fund those items by adjusting spending and being more efficient rather than raising taxes?" Overall, 78…
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Poll: Wichitans don’t want sales tax increase

Poll: Wichitans don’t want sales tax increase

Following is a press release from Kansas Policy Institute. Scientific Poll: Wichitans Don't Want Sales Tax Increase They're opposed to business incentives, want to pursue privatization over tax increases, and have concerns about how city hall has recently spent money. May 2, 2014 -- Wichita -- According to a newly released poll from Kansas Policy Institute, Wichitans may want more jobs and a secure water source but they certainly don't support a sales tax increase as the means to get either. A scientific survey of 502 registered Wichita voters, conducted by SurveyUSA, shows strong opposition to a sales tax increase, as well as…
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In Wichita, more tax for more transit?

In 2014 it is likely that Wichitans will be asked to pay an increased sales tax, part of which would fund the existing bus transit service, as the system is not sustaining itself. Another part of the increased sales tax might expand the service. Wichitans ought to think twice before voting to spend additional taxpayer funds for either reason. In fact, Wichita ought to consider spending less on public transit, and look to the private sector to provide transit that people want to use, and which meets their real needs. Transit is expensive. To be more precise, government-provided transit is…
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WichitaLiberty.TV December 8, 2013

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita city leaders are preparing to ask Wichita voters to approve a sales tax increase. What would this money be used for? Are there alternatives, such as private sector integration, that the city could consider? Then: What is the role of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce? Is it promoting capitalism, or something else? Finally, David Hart, who is Director of the Online Library of Liberty Project at the Liberty Fund, explains some of the lessons of Frederic Bastiat, including the broken window fallacy. Episode 23, broadcast December 8, 2013. View below, or click here…
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Wichita won’t consider this, I’m sure

As Wichita considers continuing taxing everyone to pay for a transit system that few people use, and as Wichita considers taxing everyone even more to pay for a bigger transit system that only a few additional people will use, here's an example of something that I'm sure is not under consideration: Privatization, entrepreneurship, and diversity.
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What Kansas should do

As the Kansas Legislature struggles to end its 2013 session, budgetary and taxation issues remain to be resolved. It's important that the legislature resolve these issues in a way that positions Kansas for economic growth, rather than retaining the policies that have led to stagnation compared to other states. Here's what the Kansas Legislature needs to do: Keep the current sales tax rate. Eliminate sales tax on food. Reduce individual income and corporate income tax rates. Get serious about reducing spending. The legislature should reduce Kansas income tax rates by an amount that would be revenue-neutral, so that state spending…
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Kansas needs to focus on growth when wrapping up session

As the Kansas Legislature prepares to end its 2013 session, budgetary and taxation issues remain to be resolved. It's important that the legislature resolve these issues in a way that positions Kansas for economic growth, rather than retaining the policies that have led to stagnation compared to other states. First, let's stop talking about the need to "pay for tax cuts." The only way in which tax cuts have a cost is if you believe that your income belongs first to government, and then to you. While that schema is preferred by Kansas Progressives, it's contrary to freedom and destructive…
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Legislator’s guide to delivering better service at a better price

From Kansas Policy Institute: How can Kansas get to the point of lowering spending, lowering taxes, and allowing for more job creation? It is not an easy process, but "A Legislator's Guide to Delivering Better Service at a Better Price" offers an outline. This road map from KPI was recently released and will be updated as new analysis is added and ideas are refined. A few of the ideas from the guide: Use the $2.5 billion held in cash reserves by state agencies to manage the process of lowering spending (Page 3). Review discretionary spending. For instance, State agencies spent…
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Privatization study released

Kansas Policy Institute has released a study looking at privatization of government services. From KPI's press release: As the 2013 Legislature begins its work the discussion remains focused on implementing last year's tax reform package. A new study from Kansas Policy Institute makes clear a good deal of the dollars necessary to implement reform without raising taxes, an 8.5 percent efficiency savings, can be achieved via a slate of reforms commonly referred to as privatization. "Better Service, Better Price," goes through best practices and case studies to arrive at standard cost savings of between five and 20 percent -- a…
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Kansas budget solution overlooked

As Kansas prepares for a legislative session that must find ways to balance a budget in the face of declining revenues, not all solutions are being considered. Generally, the choices are presented as either raising revenues or cutting services. An example comes from H. Edward Flentje of Wichita State University. In a recent op-ed, he presents two solutions: (a) raising more revenue, by canceling the recently-passed tax cuts and retaining the current sales tax rate hike instead of letting it expire, or (b) cutting services. (H. Edward Flentje : State facing fiscal cliff, December 16, 2012 Wichita Eagle) In the…
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Kansas private sector jobs lag government jobs

Government jobs in Kansas have been growing at the expense of private sector jobs. Some mistakenly say that government employees are good for the economy, because their paychecks pump up the economy. But this analysis ignores the source of government employees' paychecks, which are taxes. (Or borrowing, which simply delays taxation to some future time, or inflation, which robs money of its value. Fortunately Kansas can't engage in inflationary monetary policies, but it does borrow.) If people are not taxed, they spend or invest their money in the way they feel best benefits them. Politicians spend taxpayers' money for political…
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In Kansas, there are ways to reduce the cost of government

Recently-passed tax reform in Kansas has lead to fear that the state will suffer large deficits in upcoming years and will have to cut services like education and social services. There are many ways, however, that Kansas government can save money and still provide the essential services that Kansans rely on. One way is to improve the budgeting process. Something else Kansas needs to do is improve the operations and reduce the cost of state government. In 2011 the Kansas Legislature lost three opportunities to do just this. Three bills, each with this goal, were passed by the House of…
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In Kansas Legislature, opportunities for saving were lost

This year the Kansas Legislature lost three opportunities to improve the operations and reduce the cost of state government. Three bills, each with this goal, were passed by the House of Representatives, but each failed to make through the Senate, or had its contents stripped and replaced with different legislation. Each of these bills represents a lost opportunity for state government services to be streamlined, delivered more efficiently, or measured and managed. Kansas Streamlining Government Act HB 2120, according to its supplemental note, "would establish the Kansas Streamlining Government Act, which would have the purpose of improving the performance, efficiency,…
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