Corporate welfare

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday December 28, 2010

Hawker Beechcraft deal breaks new ground. When asked by KAKE Television's This Week in Kansas host Tim Brown if the Hawker Beechcraft deal was good for Kansas, Wichita State University professor H. Edward Flentje said that while the deal was "great news" in the short term, it raised policy questions in the long term. He said he didn't think the state has invested in a company that is downsizing, with Hawker shrinking by one-third over the past few years. He added that he believed this is the first time the state has a provision of state law to retain jobs,…
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Wichita Old Town TIF district illustrates cost and harm of subsidy

At this week's meeting of the Wichita City Council there was an item of good news: the closing of the Old Town tax increment financing, or TIF, district. But the expressed attitude of city council members towards TIF districts indicates that citizens must be concerned that the council will attempt to use this harmful form of developer and corporate welfare in the future. Citizens need to be made aware of the uninformed and misinformed views of council members, particularly Janet Miller, who was the primary speaker on this item Tuesday. Most of the other city council members, however, also share…
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Wichita Community Improvement District policy to be decided

Tomorrow the Wichita City Council is scheduled to decided the city's policy on Community Improvement Districts (CID). 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. One of the main issues to be decided is the issue of warning signage. Some have recommended that consumers be protected from unknowingly shopping in stores, restaurants, and hotels that will be adding extra sales tax to purchases. Developers who…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Sunday October 31, 2010

Wichita city council this week. The agenda for November 2 includes two instances of corporate welfare in the name of economic development (Approval of Forgivable Loan Agreement, Nex-Tech Processing and Approval of Economic Development Incentives, TECT Power, Inc.), an ordinance that cancels the Save-A-Lot TIF district, and revisions to Wichita's Community Improvement District policy. I'm told that the last item may be deferred at the request of some developers, which -- if I were a cynic -- might cause me to wonder who is really running things at city hall. When the city had a meeting to discuss the CID…
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Business can oppose incentives and use them

In the campaign for United States Congress from the fourth district of Kansas, Democrat Raj Goyle criticizes leading opponent Republican Mike Pompeo for accepting economic development incentives while opposing their existence. A Goyle press release reads: "Already a known outsourcer, Pompeo, in an act of hypocrisy, took government incentivized aid for three of his companies, including Sunflower, Thayer and Sentry. He did this despite repeatedly denouncing government assistance in the private sector." This criticism -- that those who oppose government programs nonetheless hypocritically take advantage of them -- is an important topic to examine, not only as a campaign issue,…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday October 27, 2010

Kansas politics in National Review. Today Denis Boyles takes on Kansas politics in National Review Online, starting with well-deserved criticism of Thomas Frank's book What's the Matter with Kansas? He also predicts that Republicans will sweep all the statewide election contests. But the real target of this article is the Kansas Supreme Court and our state's method of judicial selection. For those wishing to rely on the Kansas Commission on Judicial Performance as a source of reliable information about judges, Boyles describes it as a "Potemkin commission" that "spends $700,000 of taxpayers’ money annually running ads in support of retention…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday October 20, 2010

Poll: Republicans to win big. Wall Street Journal: "A vigorous post-Labor Day Democratic offensive has failed to diminish the resurgent Republicans' lead among likely voters, leaving the GOP poised for major gains in congressional elections two weeks away, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Among likely voters, Republicans hold a 50% to 43% edge, up from a three-percentage-point lead a month ago. ... 'It's hard to say Democrats are facing anything less than a category four hurricane,' said Peter Hart, the Democratic pollster who conducts the Journal poll with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. 'And it's unlikely the…
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In Wichita and Kansas, economic development is not working

The effort of Wichita and Kansas to retain Hawker Beechcraft, one of our leading employers and a Wichita institution, provides a lesson in the futility of corporate welfare as an economic development policy: Someone is usually willing to pay more. We would be much better off if we start transforming Kansas to a state where all companies are nurtured, not by bureaucratic and political oversight and handouts, but by a low taxing and spending environment, and a reasonable regulatory regime. Recently I was shown a listing of all the industrial revenue bonds (IRBs) that Hawker Beechcraft and its predecessors have…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Sunday October 17, 2010

Roots of tea party. Richard A. Vigeurie writing in Politico: "Asked about what stirred the tea party movement, [Former VU.S. Senator from Virginia George] Allen blamed President Barack Obama and the Democrats. 'It's what has happened in the last year,' he said. Allen is flat-out wrong. Americans didn’t elect Obama, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as much as they threw out Republicans in 2006 and 2008. Americans were angry about the GOP officials’ lack of discipline and courage, and their profligate spending and abandonment of small-government, Republican principles." Washington Examiner's Mark Tapscott reacts:…
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