January 25, 2005
Dear Senator or Representative:
I am writing to express my opposition to the legislature granting Sedgwick County the authority to raise its county-wide sales tax in order to fund the proposed downtown Wichita arena.
I realize that the voters in Sedgwick County voted for the tax. Still, I believe there is ample reason why you should vote against the tax.
The primary reason is that the idea of the arena came about so fast in the summer that there was little thought given to the underlying issues. The Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University produced a study showing a large positive economic impact for a downtown arena. I found much academic research that showed otherwise, that taxpayer-funded facilities such as the proposed downtown Wichita arena rarely live up to their expectations, and instead become a burden on the taxpayers. I also uncovered the fact that the WSU study was flawed in that it omitted important factors such as depreciation, the accounting for which is now required by Government Accounting Standards Board Statement 34. Incredibly, the CEDBR at WSU was not aware of this requirement when they prepared the study that was used to promote the economic benefit of the proposed arena. They admitted this when I called it to their attention.
Thus, what is presented as an economic boon for all the people instead becomes the county as a whole subsidizing the interests of a few.
I presented my findings to many news outlets in Wichita, but there was little interest. Because I experienced such resistance to my message I started a website, the “Voice for Liberty in Wichita.” It is located at wichitaliberty.org. Much of the research I uncovered is posted there. As an example I am enclosing an article that I recently wrote. It is based on what was found to happen in Pulaski County, Arkansas (Little Rock), when they built an arena funded in part by taxpayers.
I would be happy to provide you with any additional information that I can.
Thanking you in advance for your time,