Subsidy

Say no to special tax treatment, again

Say no to special tax treatment, again

In Kansas, a company seeks to avoid paying property taxes, again. In a bill presented in the Kansas Legislature, the owner of health clubs seeks to avoid paying property taxes. The same company and its owner have tried this before. In 2014, I explained how granting this exemption was a bad idea. What has changed since then? This exemption is still a bad idea for reasons of public policy. Additionally, Brandon Steven, the owner of the health clubs, plead guilty to a gambling charge and forfeited one million dollars in earnings. The companies also owe a lot of the tax…
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Swamp refilling itself

Swamp refilling itself

Although there has been progress, cronyism and the swamp may be renewed in Washington. Right under the nose of a president who promised to drain the swamp, one of the government’s shadiest handouts to large banks and big companies looks like it will be renewed for another 25 years. It will not get adequate oversight and congressional review. All it will take is the approval of two out of three U.S. Export-Import Bank directors, who are political appointees. That entity is called the Private Export Funding Corporation, or PEFCO. Veronique de Rugy is a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus…
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Economic development incentive to be canceled

Economic development incentive to be canceled

The City of Wichita will consider canceling an economic development incentive for a firm that no longer meets policy requirements. Two years ago the Wichita City Council granted an economic development incentive for a freestanding emergency department in northeast Wichita. The incentive was in the form of property tax relief. The firm would be exempt from paying 88 percent of its property taxes for five years, with the possibility of renewal for another five years. [1. Weeks, Bob. Free standing emergency department about to open in Wichita. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-government/free-standing-emergency-department-room-open-in-wichita/.] At the time, the city estimated the first-year property tax…
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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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Wichita considers a new stadium

Wichita considers a new stadium

The City of Wichita plans subsidized development of a sports facility as an economic driver. Originally published in July 2017. This week the Wichita City Council will consider a project plan for a redevelopment district near Downtown Wichita. It is largely financed by Tax Increment Financing and STAR bonds. Both divert future incremental tax revenue to pay for various things within the district.[1. Weeks, Bob. STAR bonds in Kansas. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/star-bonds-kansas/.] [1. Weeks, Bob. Wichita TIF projects: some background. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-government/wichita-tif-projects-background/.] City documents promise this: "The City plans to substantially rehabilitate or replace Lawrence-Dumont Stadium into a multi-sport…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Economic development incentives

WichitaLiberty.TV: Economic development incentives

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: A look at some economic development incentive programs in Wichita and Kansas. Second in a series. Tax increment financing (TIF) is prominent in this episode. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 219, broadcast November 25, 2018. Shownotes Wichita TIF projects: some background. Tax increment financing disrupts the usual flow of tax dollars, routing funds away from cash-strapped cities, counties, and schools back to the TIF-financed development. TIF creates distortions in the way cities develop, and researchers find that the use of TIF means lower economic growth. Industrial revenue bonds in Kansas:…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Economic development incentives

WichitaLiberty.TV: Economic development incentives

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: A look at some economic development incentive programs in Wichita and Kansas. First in a series. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 218, broadcast November 18, 2018. Shownotes 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. From Pachyderm: Economic development incentives Growing the Wichita economy. Wichita leaders are proud of our region’s economic growth. Here are the numbers. Sedgwick County’s David Dennis on economic development. Following the Wichita Mayor, the Chair of…
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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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More TIF spending in Wichita

More TIF spending in Wichita

The Wichita City Council will consider approval of a redevelopment plan in a tax increment financing (TIF) district. This week the Wichita City Council will hold a public hearing considering approval of more tax increment financing (TIF) spending in downtown Wichita. The spending is for the second phase of redevelopment of the Union Station property on East Douglas. According to city documents, the total cost of this phase is $31,000,000, with TIF paying for $2,954,734. [1. Wichita city council agenda packet for September 11, 2018.] This is a pay-as-you-go form of TIF, which means the city does not borrow funds…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Sedgwick County and Wichita issues

WichitaLiberty.TV: Sedgwick County and Wichita issues

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: The end of a Sedgwick County Commission election, the Wichita Eagle editorializes on school spending and more taxes, and Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell seems misinformed on the Wichita economy. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 207, broadcast August 26, 2018. Shownotes The Wichita Eagle reports there will be a recount: Ranzau and Nicks commission race headed to a recount as Ranzau clings to narrow lead. The Wichita Eagle reports on the result of the recount: (cue sound of crickets) Article: Wichita school spending, according to the Wichita Eagle: A recent editorial…
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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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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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In Wichita, spending semi-secret

In Wichita, spending semi-secret

The Wichita City Council authorized the spending of a lot of money without discussion. At its March 27, 2018 meeting, the Wichita City Council passed a resolution authorizing the spending of funds for the River Vista development on the west bank of the Arkansas River in downtown. The agenda packet for the meeting gave the details: "The overall project budget is $7,862,999 with STAR Bonds financing $4,750,000 of the costs and the City financing $1,050,000. The balance of the project costs will be assessed against the Improvement District." (STAR bonds are a mechanism whereby future sales tax revenue is routed…
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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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In Wichita, three Community Improvement Districts to be considered

In Wichita, three Community Improvement Districts to be considered

In Community Improvement Districts (CID), merchants charge additional sales tax for the benefit of the property owners, instead of the general public. Wichita may have an additional three, contributing to the problem of CID sprawl. This week the Wichita City Council will hold public hearings considering the formation of three Community Improvement Districts. In Kansas Community Improvement Districts, 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/.] Each of these CIDs will charge customers additional sales tax, with a cap on…
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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 Aerosystems incentives reported

Spirit Aerosystems incentives reported

Opinions vary on economic development incentives, but we ought to expect to be told the truth of the details. The Wichita Business Journal has reported on the economic development incentives used to cement the Spirit AeroSystems expansion announced last week. Following are some quotes from its article How Wichita won the battle for Spirit AeroSystems’ expansion. Background on the aspects of the deal can be found at Spirit expands in Wichita. Wichita Business Journal: "And many aren’t shy about bringing cash to the table as an incentive. In Wichita, in the wake of the defeat at the polls in 2014…
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Briefs

Briefs

He didn't participate Wichita Eagle Opinion Line, November 24, 2017: "The kindest word that can be ascribed to State Senator Susan Wagle, when she criticizes the Kansas Supreme Court? Disingenuous. She never mentions Brownback appointee, Justice Caleb Stegall; he has repeatedly agreed with his colleagues on school finance." The likely reason Senator Wagle doesn't mention Justice Stegall when criticizing the Court on school finance matters is that he, along with another judge, hasn't participated. The recent opinions are signed "BEIER and STEGALL, JJ., not participating. MICHAEL J. MALONE and DAVID L. STUTZMAN, Senior Judges, assigned." Why? "Justices Carol Beier and…
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PEAK, or Promoting Employment Across Kansas

PEAK, or Promoting Employment Across Kansas

PEAK, a Kansas economic development incentive program, redirects employee income taxes back to the employing company. An economic development incentive program in Kansas is PEAK, or Promoting Employment Across Kansas. This program allows companies to retain 95 percent of the payroll withholding tax of employees. PEAK incentive payments can be a substantial sum. Tables available at the Kansas Department of Revenue indicate that for a single person with no exemptions who earns $40,000 annually, the withholding would be $27 per week (for weekly payroll), or $1,404 annually. For a married person with two children earning the same salary, withholding would…
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Sales tax incentives yes, but no relief on grocery sales tax

Sales tax incentives yes, but no relief on grocery sales tax

Is it equitable for business firms to pay no sales tax, while low-income families pay sales tax on groceries? Last week I wondered if the city's agenda packet for economic development incentives proposed for BG Products was complete. [1. Weeks, Bob. Wichita Business Journal grants city council excess power. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-government/wichita-business-journal-grants-city-council-excess-power/.] Since the city's narrative had no mention of a sales tax exemption, but the accompanying ordinance that was passed authorized a sales tax exemption, I wondered if the analysis performed by the Wichita State University Center for Economic Development and Business Research was correct. Now that I've received…
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