Tag: Sue Schlapp

Education gap on Wichita City Council
Education

Education gap on Wichita City Council

Currently there is discussion in Wichita on whether higher education is valued by residents. Following, from April 2011, a look at the educational achievement of the Wichita City Council. The members of the council cited below were Lavonta Williams, Sue Schlapp, Jim Skelton, Paul Gray, Jeff Longwell, and Janet Miller. Carl Brewer was mayor. Before Jim Skelton left the council in January, none of the four men serving on the Wichita City Council had completed a college degree. The three women serving on the council set a better example, with all three holding college degrees. Of the candidates running in next week's election for four council seats and the office of mayor, less than half hold college degrees. Is it necessary to complete college in order to serve in an office like mayor or ...
Wichita being sued, alleging improper handling of bond repayment savings
Wichita city government

Wichita being sued, alleging improper handling of bond repayment savings

A lawsuit claims that when the City of Wichita refinanced its special assessment bonds, it should have passed on the savings to the affected taxpayers, and it did not do that. A lawsuit filed in Sedgwick County District Court charges that the City of Wichita improperly handled the savings realized when it refinanced special assessment bonds at a lower interest rate. The case is 2018-CV-001567-CF, filed on July 13, 2018, and available here. The suit names David L. Snodgrass and Leslie J. Snodgrass as plaintiffs, and a long list of defendants, namely: The City of Wichita, Kansas Wichita City Manager Robert Layton Wichita Finance Director Shawn Henning and Former Wichita Finance Director Kelly Carpenter Wichita City Clerk Karen Sublett Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell and former Wichita Mayor ...
In Wichita, three Community Improvement Districts to be considered
Wichita city government

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 the amount that may be raised, and a separate cap...
Wichita City Council fails to support informing the taxed
Wichita city government

Wichita City Council fails to support informing the taxed

It's enlightening to look back at some examples of discussion at the Wichita City Council so that we remember the attitudes of council members and city bureaucrats towards citizens. In the following example, the council was considering whether Wichitans and visitors should be notified of the amount of extra sales tax -- or even the existence of extra tax -- they will pay when shopping at merchants located within Community Improvement Districts (CIDs). Did the council side with special interests or citizens? At its December 7, 2010 meeting, the Wichita City Council considered whether stores in CIDs should be required to post signs warning shoppers of the amount of extra tax being charged. Some, including myself, felt that shoppers should have this information before deciding to shop in ...
Wichita city government

CID signs missing at some Wichita merchants

Not all merchants located in Wichita's Community Improvement District program are displaying the required signage. CIDs are a creation of the Kansas Legislature from the 2009 session. They allow merchants in a district to collect additional sales tax of up to two cents per dollar. At the time CIDs started forming, I and others suggested that the city require signage notifying shoppers that they would be paying an additional sales tax, and at what rate. Not everyone thought that would be wise, according to discussion at a Wichita city council meeting. Informing shoppers as to the actual rate of extra tax would be, according to Council Member Jeff Longwell (district 5, west and northwest Wichita) confusing. Council Member Sue Schlapp said that transparency is vital for government,...
Open records

Open records again an issue in Kansas

Responses to records requests made by Kansas Policy Institute are bringing attention to shortcomings in the Kansas Open Records Act. Those who have made records requests in Kansas are probably not surprised that KPI has had difficulty in having its records requests respected and filled. In 2007 Better Government Association and National Freedom of Information Coalition gave Kansas a letter grade of "F" for its open records law. Last year State Integrity Investigation looked at the states, and Kansas did not rank well there, either. See Kansas rates low in access to records. This week KPI president Dave Trabert appeared before the Sedgwick County Commission to express his concerns regarding the failure of Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition to fulfill a records request made...
Free markets

Wichita’s political class

From June. The discussion at yesterday's Wichita City Council meeting provided an opportunity for citizens to discover the difference in the thinking of the political class and those who value limited government and capitalism. At issue was Mid-Continent Instruments, Inc., which asked the city for a forgivable loan of $10,000. It received the same last week from Sedgwick County. According to city documents, the State of Kansas through its Department of Commerce is also contributing $503,055 in forgivable loans, sales tax exemptions, training grants, and tax credits. At the city council meeting Clinton Coen, a young man who ran for city council earlier this year, spoke against this measure, which he called corporate welfare. In response to Coen, Council Member James Clendenin (d...
Wichita city government

Wichita City Council campaign contributions and Douglas Place/Ambassador Hotel

Many people make campaign contributions to candidates whose ideals and goals they share. This is an important part of our political process. But when reading campaign finance reports for members of the Wichita City Council, one sees the same names appearing over and over, often making the maximum allowed contribution to candidates. Their spouses also contribute. Looking at the candidates these people contribute to, we find that often there’s no commonality to the political goals and ideals of the candidates. Some contribute equally to liberal and conservative council members. At first glance, it's puzzling. But then, when these people appear in the news after having received money from the Wichita City Council, it snaps into place: These campaign donors are not donating to those whos...
Wichita city government

In Wichita, private tax policy on the rise

In a free society with a limited government, taxation should be restricted to being a way for government to raise funds to pay for services that all people benefit from. An example is police and fire protection. Even people who are opposed to taxation rationalize paying taxes that way. But in the city of Wichita, private tax policy is overtaking our city. The Douglas Place project, a downtown hotel to be considered tomorrow by the Wichita City Council, makes use of several of these private tax policy strategies. By private tax policy, I mean that the proceeds of a tax are used for the exclusive benefit of one person (or business firm), instead of used for the benefit of all. And in at least one case, private parties are being allowed to determine the city's tax policy at their discr...
Wichita city government

Wichita City Council bows to special interests

Yesterday's meeting of the Wichita City Council revealed a council -- except for one member -- totally captured by special interests, to the point where the council, aided by city staff, used a narrow legal interpretation in order to circumvent a statutorily required public hearing process. The issue was a downtown hotel to be developed by a team lead by David Burk of Marketplace Properties. The subsidies Burk wants, specifically tax increment financing (TIF), require a public hearing to be held. The city scheduled the hearing for September 13th. That schedule, however, didn't suit Burk. In order to provide him a certain comfort level, the council agreed to issue a letter of intent stating that the council intends to do the things that the public hearing is supposed to provide an opportu...
Wichita city government

Wichita and its political class

The discussion at yesterday's Wichita City Council meeting provided an opportunity for citizens to discover the difference in the thinking of the political class and those who value limited government and capitalism. At issue was Mid-Continent Instruments, Inc., which asked the city for a forgivable loan of $10,000. It received the same last week from Sedgwick County. According to city documents, the State of Kansas through its Department of Commerce is also contributing $503,055 in forgivable loans, sales tax exemptions, training grants, and tax credits. At the city council meeting Clinton Coen, a young man who ran for city council earlier this year, spoke against this measure, which he called corporate welfare. In response to Coen, Council Member James Clendenin (district 3, sou...
Quick takes

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Sunday April 10, 2011

Local elections, qualifications of Wichita's elected officials. On today's edition of the KAKE Television public affairs program This Week in Kansas, Wichita State University's Ken Ciboski, Chapman Rackaway of Fort Hays State University and myself join host Tim Brown to discuss local elections in Kansas. Mention was made of a recent article I wrote that was critical of the educational attainment of some Wichita City Council members. See Education gap on Wichita City Council. Steineger, Kansas senator, to address Pachyderms. This Friday (April 15) Kansas Senator Chris Steineger will speak to the members and guests of the Wichita Pachyderm Club on the topic "Using Business Principles to Restructure State and Local Government For Long-Term Efficiency." Steineger, of Kansas City, has se...
Quick takes

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday April 5, 2011

Law, liberty, and the market symposium this week. This Friday (April 8) a symposium titled "Freedom, Liberty, and the Human Spirit" is offered in Wichita. The event is from 8:30 am to noon, in Alumni Auditorium in the Davis Administration Building on the campus of Friends University. The presenter is John R. Hays, Jr of Austin, Texas. The three sessions are titled Freedom's not just another word for nothing left to lose; Who's directing the show, and how can it possibly work without a director; and Markets, liberty, and economic progress. The event is free and open to the public, and attendees should reserve a seat by calling 316-295-5526. The sponsor for the symposium is the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation. Junket for Wichita lame ducks: the costs. Kim Hynes of KWCH Television repo...
Quick takes

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Sunday March 13, 2011

Wichita city council this week. There is no meeting of the Wichita City Council this week, as most members will be attending a meeting of the National League of Cities in Washington, DC. These conferences are designed to help council members be more effective. But for three of the council members that will be attending, their future service on the council is measured in days, not years. These three lame duck members -- Sue Schlapp, Paul Gray, and Roger Smith -- will be leaving the council in April when their terms end. Their participation in this conference, at taxpayer expense, is nothing more than a junket -- for lame ducks. How attitudes can differ. At a recent forum of city council candidates, one candidate mentioned the five or six police officers conducting security screening of ...
Wichita city government

Cabela’s CID should not be approved in Wichita

This week outdoor retailer Cabela's will ask the Wichita City Council to create a Community Improvement District (CID) for its benefit. Creating the CID would allow Cabela's -- the only store in the proposed CID -- to collect tax of an additional 1.2 cents per dollar sales from customers. Proceeds of one cent per dollar, less a handling fee, will be given to Cabela's for its exclusive use, with 0.2 cents per dollar to be used for street and highway improvements near the proposed CID. CIDs should be opposed as they turn over tax policy to the private sector. We should look at taxation as a way for government to raise funds to pay for services that all people benefit from. An example is police and fire protection. Even people who are opposed to taxation rationalize paying taxes that way....
Quick takes

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Friday February 18, 2011

Wichita-area legislators to meet public. Tomorrow members of the South-Central Kansas Legislative Delegation will meet with the public. Tomorrow's meeting is in the Sunflower Room of the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center, 21st and Tyler Rd, at 9:00 am. Generally these meetings last for two hours. The first of these meetings, two weeks ago, was focused more on hearing the concerns of citizens rather than allowing legislators to speak a lot. ... Two other meetings have been scheduled. One is on March 19th -- right before the legislature adjourns for its break -- at Derby City Hall, 611 Mulberry Road. Then on April 23 -- right before the "wrap-up session" -- at the Wichita State University Hughes Metropolitan Complex, 5015 E. 29th Street (at Oliver). This Week in Kansas. On This ...
Quick takes

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday February 9, 2011

ACLU leader to speak in Wichita. On Friday (February 11) the speaker at the meeting of the Wichita Pachyderm Club will be Doug Bonney, who is Chief Council and Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri. His topic will be "150 Years of Kansas Liberty." This speaking invitation has caused a bit of controversy, with some Pachyderm Club members -- and non-members -- criticizing the selection of a speaker whose group is associated with liberal political causes. But the invitation is in line with the club's mission of political education, as stated on the national Pachyderm website: "To promote practical political education and the dissemination of information on our political system." Previous speakers who don't fit the club's Republican Party affinity...
Quick takes

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday January 18, 2011

Education reformer to speak in Kansas. Next week the Kansas Policy Institute hosts education reform expert Dr. Matthew Ladner at several events in Kansas. In Wichita, he will speak at a free breakfast event on Tuesday January 25th. Information on that event and those in Topeka and Overland Park can be found at Kansas Policy Institute Upcoming Events. Ladner, of the Goldwater Institute, will speak on the topic "Good to Great -- Lessons for Kansas from Florida's education revolution." Florida has been at the forefront of education reform in recent years, according to a study by EducationNext. Kansas, on the other hand, ranks very low in studies that look at education reform among the states. An invitation to the Wichita event is here. RSVPs are requested by January 20th. Wichita council c...
Wichita city government

In Wichita, two large community improvement districts proposed

On Tuesday (January 11) the Wichita City Council will decide whether to accept petitions calling for the formation of two Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) in Wichita. In both cases, city staff recommends that the council accept the petitions and set February first as the date for the public hearing. It is on that date that the council will accept public input and vote whether to form each of the CIDs. CIDs are a creation of the Kansas Legislature from the 2009 session. They allow merchants in a district to collect additional sales tax of up to two cents per dollar. The extra sales tax is used for the exclusive benefit of the CID. The districts proposed are two well-established Wichita shopping centers. Westway Shopping Center is at the southwest corner of West Pawnee Avenue an...
Free markets

Economic freedom at decline, across the U.S. and in Wichita

Earlier this year Robert Lawson appeared in Wichita to speak about economic freedom throughout the world. While the United States presently ranks well, that is changing. Writing this month in The Freeman, Lawson and his colleagues warn of dangerous trends -- particularly the Obama Administration's response to the recession -- that pose a threat to the economic freedom that powers growth and prosperity. While the article is focused primarily at the national economy, there are lessons to be learned locally, too. In particular, increasing intervention into the state and local economy leads to compounding the loss of economic freedom. As an example, the Wichita City Council has just approved a plan for the revitalization of downtown Wichita that calls for public investment to be made do...
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