Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday July 11, 2011


TIF in Louisiana. Randal O’Toole recently examined the use of tax increment financing in Louisiana. He finds this: “Property tax TIFs are limited to that portion of property taxes that are not already obligated to some specific purpose — and most property taxes are so obligated, so most if not all Louisiana TIFs rely on sales and hotel taxes instead.” This is different from Kansas, where all the property tax, except for the usually small base, benefits the TIF district exclusively. … He describes sales-tax TIFs, which we in Kansas call community improvement districts or CID. While describing them as the least objectionable form of TIF, he notes problems: Why don’t stores just raise their prices? Stores that charge extra sales tax don’t have warning signage. And: “In the end, TIF is still just a way for elected officials to hand out favors to selected developers and other special interests. There is no reason to think that cities in Louisiana that use TIF grow any faster than ones that do not. Instead, all the TIFs do is shuffle new developments around, favoring certain property owners in the TIF districts over owners outside of the TIF districts. TIF may even reduce growth as developers who don’t get TIF subsidies may decide to build elsewhere where they won’t have to compete against subsidized developments.” … All these warnings have been raised before the Wichita City Council. … California has new legislation designed to kill redevelopment districts there, which are like TID districts in Kansas. … The full article is A Different Kind of TIF.

Overland Park may see tax hike. Ben Hodge reports that Overland Park, the second largest city in Kansas and the largest in Johnson County, may increase its property tax rates. Hodge quotes a Kansas City Star editorial: “One plan from [Overland Park City Manager Bill] Ebel would boost the city’s mill levy by 46 percent and bring in more than $10 million a year in new revenue. The other option, a 41 percent increase, would create an extra $9 million annually.” To which Hodge replies: “So, those are the innovative ideas of today’s Overland Park Council: either a 41% increase, or else a 46% tax increase.” … The Overland Park Chamber of Commerce supports the proposal, which is simply more evidence of the decline of local chambers of commerce. … Hodge’s article is Between a Rock and a Tax Hike.

Medicinal cannibis to be topic. This Friday’s (July 15th) meeting of the Wichita Pachyderm Club features Dr. Jon Hauxwell, a physician from Hays, speaking on “Medicinal Cannabis.” The public is welcome and encouraged to attend Wichita Pachyderm meetings. For more information click on Wichita Pachyderm Club. Upcoming speakers: On July 22, Steve Anderson, Director of the Budget for Kansas. On July 29, Dennis Taylor, Secretary, Kansas Department of Administration and “The Repealer” on “An Overview of the Office of the Repealer.”

Employment on a long slow, slide. Wichita’s Malcolm Harris takes a look at the dismal employment numbers from last week. But, there is some better news for Wichita regarding airplane orders.

We already know it’s hot in Wichita. But now here’s proof. The Weather Channel ranks Wichita as fourth hottest city in the nation — and that’s based on weather, not economic growth or something really desirable. Wichita is also ranked as “Midwest” hottest city.

Pursuing happiness, not politics. That’s the title of the prologue to the recently-published book The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, both of Reason, the libertarian magazine of “Free Minds and Free Markets.” So far, the prologue is all I’ve read, but I can tell — okay, I already knew — that these guys get it. Here’s what I mean: “In 2011, we do not equate happiness with politics; the mere juxtaposition of the words feels obscene. And for good reason: Politics, John Adams’s great-grandson Henry famously observed, ‘has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.’ Every election cycle — and we are always in an election cycle — we are urged to remember that deep down inside we really despise the opposing gang of crooks. We hate their elite (or Podunk) ways, their socialist (or fascist) economics, their reliance on shadowy billionaires with suspect agendas. In a world where mutual gains from trade have lifted a half billion people out of poverty in just the past half decade, politics is one of the last remaining zero-sum games of I win, you lose, where the victor gets to spend everyone else’s money in ways that appall the vanquished, until they switch places again after the next election. We instinctively know that our tax dollars aren’t being spent efficiently; the proof is in the post office, or the permitting offices at city hall, or the neighborhood school. We roll our eyes when President Barack Obama announces a new national competitiveness initiative in his State of the Union address just five years after George W. Bush announced a new American Competitiveness Initiative in his, or when each and every president since Richard Milhous Nixon swears chat this time we’re gonna kick that foreign-oil habit once and for all. And yet, the political status quo keeps steering the Winnebago of state further and further into the ditch.”

More ‘Economics in One Lesson.’ Tonight (Monday July 11th) Americans For Prosperity Foundation is sponsoring a continuation of the DVD presentation of videos based on Henry Hazlitt’s classic work Economics in One Lesson. The event is Monday from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Lionel D. Alford Library located at 3447 S. Meridian in Wichita. The library is just north of the I-235 exit on Meridian. The event’s sponsor is Americans for Prosperity, Kansas. For more information on this event contact John Todd at john@johntodd.net or 316-312-7335, or Susan Estes, AFP Field Director at sestes@afphq.org or 316-681-4415.


2 responses to “Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday July 11, 2011”

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