Wichita Eagle opinion watch

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2019 nears $5 million

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2019 nears $5 million

A truthful accounting of the finances of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita shows a large loss. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters cite a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and it hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing is depreciation expense. There are at least two ways of looking at the finance of the arena. Nearly all attention…
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The finances of Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita

The finances of Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita

A truthful accounting of the finances of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita shows a large loss. Despite hosting the NCAA basketball tournament, the arena's "net income" fell. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters cite a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and it hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing is depreciation expense. There are at least two ways…
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Wichita Eagle calls for a responsible plan for higher taxes

Wichita Eagle calls for a responsible plan for higher taxes

A Wichita Eagle editorial argues for higher property taxes to help the city grow. In a recent op-ed, the Wichita Eagle editorial board writes: "It’s hard to make the argument that Wichitans are overtaxed by their city government. It’s time for the community to look at how it helps the city grow. A responsible plan that asks Wichita families to chip in the cost of a family meal should be part of the conversation." [1. Wichita Eagle editorial board. Wichita, it’s time to consider a tax increase. It’s past time, actually. August 17, 2018. Available at https://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article216790960.html.] First, note that…
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Wichita Eagle argues for higher taxes

Wichita Eagle argues for higher taxes

The Wichita Eagle editorial board wants higher taxes. Relying on its data and arguments will lead citizens to misinformed and uninformed opinions. In a recent op-ed, the Wichita Eagle editorial board writes: "From the moment the budget was first proposed in July, city leaders made a point of emphasizing the city’s mill levy -- the rate by which property is taxed -- hasn’t been increased in 25 years. The 25-year figure wasn’t followed by exclamation points of pride or emojis of sadness. It’s just a fact: For one reason or another, the city’s mill levy hasn’t been increased." [1. Wichita…
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Wichita school spending, according to the Wichita Eagle

Wichita school spending, according to the Wichita Eagle

A recent editorial by the largest newspaper in Kansas misinforms its readers. "For too many years, the [Wichita public school] district was constrained by reduced state spending on public-school children. School systems across Kansas tightened belts to the point of being unable to breathe." [1. Wichita Eagle Editorial Board. *A well-funded Wichita school district. A sight this city’s children deserve." August 10, 2018. Available at https://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article216418710.html.] So says a recent editorial in the Wichita Eagle, the largest newspaper in Kansas. What does the data tell us? Data from the Kansas State Department of Education for the school year ending in…
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What is the real problem at Wichita Southeast?

What is the real problem at Wichita Southeast?

There is likely a different explanation for problems at a Wichita high schools from what we've been told by the school district and our newspaper. Recently the Wichita Eagle editorial board opined about problems with Wichita Southeast High School. That editorial was based on Eagle reporting in the article The new Southeast High is bigger and better. So why is its graduation rate dropping? Sociologist Chase Billingham offers commentary and insight in his piece Southeast’s grad rate more about discipline: The Wichita school district officials and The Eagle Editorial Board said the slipping graduation rate was partially attributable to the…
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Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2017 is $4,222,182

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2017 is $4,222,182

As in years past, a truthful accounting of the finances of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita shows a large loss. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters cite a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and it hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing is depreciation expense. There are at least two ways of looking at the finance of the…
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Project Wichita right to look ahead at city’s future

Project Wichita right to look ahead at city’s future

We can understand self-serving politicians and bureaucrats. It's what they do. But a city's newspaper editorial board ought to be concerned with the truth. In February the Wichita Eagle editorialized about Project Wichita, a ramping-up effort to do something about the future of Wichita. [1. Wichita Eagle Editorial Board. Project Wichita right to look ahead at city’s future. Available at http://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article198178899.html.] It's worthwhile to take a look at the op-ed, if only to learn something about the quality of Wichita Eagle editorial writing. I understand civic boosterism; the desire to paint a positive image of the future. But this rosy…
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Mayor Longwell’s pep talk

Mayor Longwell’s pep talk

A column written by Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell ignores the reality of Wichita's economy. This week Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell contributed a column to the Wichita Eagle that seems to defy economic reality. [1. Longwell, Jeff. All Wichitans have a part in pushing forward. Wichita Eagle, March 4, 2018. Available at http://www.kansas.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article203559924.html.] For example, he wrote how Wichita is a "thriving city in a brand new age of possibility." Construction and change is everywhere, he said. The problem is this: Even though there seems to be a lot of construction and change, Wichita isn't thriving. There are several ways to…
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Wichita, youthful and growing from the core

Wichita, youthful and growing from the core

A letter writer tells Wichitans that "We have an opportunity to show the country the future of Wichita is youthful and bright, and its growing from the core out." In support of replacing Century II with something "no less than absolutely spectacular in ambition," a letter in the Wichita Eagle states, "We have an opportunity to show the country the future of Wichita is youthful and bright, and its growing from the core out." [1. Think big on Century II. Wichita Eagle. Letters, September 14, 2017. Available at http://www.kansas.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article174129391.html.] Sadly, these observations are not true. Data from the U.S. Census…
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Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2016 is $4,293,901

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2016 is $4,293,901

As in years past, a truthful accounting of the finances of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita shows a large loss. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters cite a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing is depreciation expense. An example: In February 2015 the Wichita Eagle reported: "The arena’s net income for…
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Fake government spawns fake news

Fake government spawns fake news

Discussions of public policy need to start from a common base of facts and information. An episode shows that both our state government and news media are not helping. A recent Hutchinson News article[3. Clarkin, Mary. Department of Education’s Dennis: Shocking number when looking at funding gap. Hutchinson News. April 17, 2017. http://www.hutchnews.com/news/local_state_news/department-of-education-s-dennis-shocking-number-when-looking-at/article_4abe359e-8421-53f9-a8d7-1eaa56e95423.html.] started with this: Once you wake up to where Kansas was in 1992 at funding schools and what it needs to do to get caught up, said the Kansas Department of Education’s Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis, it’s a shocker. In 1992, base state aid per pupil was…
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For Wichita Eagle, no concern about relationships

For Wichita Eagle, no concern about relationships

Should the Wichita Eagle, a city's only daily newspaper and the state's largest, be concerned about the parties to its business relationships? It's a question that the Wichita Eagle should be considering. But the newspaper's top executives seem to have no concern. On February 14 I sent a message to the publisher and executive editor of the Wichita Eagle expressing my concerns about the newspaper's future landlords. That letter appears below. After several follow-up attempts by email and telephone, neither would respond. Sent I sent this message, I've found I was mistaken about the ownership of the building to where…
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Wrong direction for Wichita public schools

Wrong direction for Wichita public schools

A letter in the Wichita Eagle illustrates harmful attitudes and beliefs of the public school establishment. The letter is titled "Wrong direction." It was submitted by John H. Wilson, was published on February 26, 2017, and may be read here. What's wrong in this letter? Here's one thing: "First, the ill-founded assertion is that parents are well equipped to identify the best school for their children. Wrong." This is an incredibly bigoted assertion. This is one of the standard arguments against school choice, that parents -- particularly minority and low-income families -- don't have the ability to make wise choices…
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The Wichita Eagle on Kansas sales tax exemptions

The Wichita Eagle on Kansas sales tax exemptions

The Wichita Eagle editorial board writes an editorial that gives false hope to advocates of more taxation and more spending. Advocates of eliminating sales tax exemptions in Kansas point to the great amount of revenue that could be raised if Kansas eliminated these exemptions, given at about $6 billion per year, according to a recent Wichita Eagle editorial.[1. Eagle Editorial Board. Reduce sales-tax exemptions. Wichita Eagle, February 3, 2017. http://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article130438759.html.] Analysis of the nature of the exemptions and the amounts of money involved, however, leads us to realize that the additional tax revenue that could be raised is much less…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita and Kansas economics, and government investment

WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita and Kansas economics, and government investment

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita sells a hotel, more subsidy for downtown, Kansas newspaper editorialists fall for a lobbyist's tale, how Kansas can learn from Arizona schools, and government investment. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 131, broadcast October 30, 2016. Shownotes Article: Wichita, give back the Hyatt proceeds. Instead of spending the proceeds of the Hyatt hotel sale, the city should honor those who paid for the hotel -- the city’s taxpayers. Article: In Wichita, developer welfare under a cloud. A downtown Wichita project receives a small benefit from the city, with no mention…
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Kansas construction employment

Kansas construction employment

Tip to the Wichita Eagle editorial board: When a lobbying group feeds you statistics, try to learn what they really mean. When investigating the claims of a lobbying group, Kansas Policy Institute found that the statistics -- when examined closely -- do not support the narrative the group promotes. Unfortunately, the Wichita Eagle editorial board did not examine the group's claims closely enough to determine their validity. At issue is the claim that transfers from the Kansas highway fund have lead to the loss of highway construction jobs. It's repeated not only by the state's highway construction lobbyists, but also…
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Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2015 is $4.1 million

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2015 is $4.1 million

The depreciation expense of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita recognizes and accounts for the sacrifices of the people of Sedgwick County and its visitors to pay for the arena. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters cite a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing is depreciation expense. There hasn't been much talk…
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Wichita Eagle opinion watch

Another nonsensical editorial from the Wichita Eagle. This is contained in an editorial urging Sedgwick County government to "stop messing" with the zoo.[1. Holman, Rhonda. Stop messing with Sedgwick County Zoo. Wichita Eagle, July 20, 2016. Available at www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article90624332.html.] Nor is there any justification for a “non-disparagement clause” in the proposed operating agreement about the zoo director’s public statements, including a prohibition against doing anything to bring the county or society “unwanted or unfavorable publicity.” Even if the county is right -- and the society wrong -- about the constitutionality of such a gag rule on a public employee, it’s…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: News media, hollow Kansas government, ideology vs. pragmatism

WichitaLiberty.TV: News media, hollow Kansas government, ideology vs. pragmatism

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: New outlets for news, and criticism of the existing. Is Kansas government "hollowed out?" Ideology and pragmatism. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 124, broadcast July 17, 2016. Shownotes Kansas Memo on Facebook A short video on using Kansas Memo and other pages of Facebook The Honest Media on Facebook Renee Erickson's Facebook post Article: In Wichita, Meitzner, Clendenin sow seeds of distrust Article: Kansas government ‘hollowed-out’ Prager U: Free Courses for Free Minds
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