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Raising Wichitans’ Taxes in a Recession is Not A Good Idea

“Democrat Barack Obama says he would delay rescinding President Bush’s tax cuts on wealthy Americans if he becomes the next president and the economy is in a recession, suggesting such an increase would further hurt the economy.” (Associated Press, September 7, 2008)

Contrary to assertions by Wichita school interim superintendent Martin Libhart and school board president Lynn Rogers, Wichita can’t tax and spend its way out of a recession that may or may not be forthcoming. Not even Barack Obama believes that, as shown in the news story quoted above.

Still, bond issue supporters say that’s what happened after the last school bond issue. There’s even a Wichita State University study to prove it.

(There’s no doubt that some individuals and firms did well after the last bond issue. No doubt Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture, one of the firms most prominently pushing for the current bond issue, fared very well.)

But what they don’t tell you is that the WSU study doesn’t account for the payment of the bond issue. All it looks at is the spending. Spending, of course, drives economic activity. If government spends money, economic activity happens. But without mentioning the cost, the study is meaningless.

In fact, it’s worse than meaningless. It’s dangerously misleading. It leads citizens to believe that government spending can save us from harm. If that’s true, why don’t we go for a bigger bond issue? Why stop at $370 million? Why not go for the full $550 million in needs that was identified?

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