Cronyism

In Wichita, spending semi-secret

In Wichita, spending semi-secret

The Wichita City Council authorized the spending of a lot of money without discussion. At its March 27, 2018 meeting, the Wichita City Council passed a resolution authorizing the spending of funds for the River Vista development on the west bank of the Arkansas River in downtown. The agenda packet for the meeting gave the details: "The overall project budget is $7,862,999 with STAR Bonds financing $4,750,000 of the costs and the City financing $1,050,000. The balance of the project costs will be assessed against the Improvement District." (STAR bonds are a mechanism whereby future sales tax revenue is routed…
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Naftzger Park private use plans unsettled

Naftzger Park private use plans unsettled

An important detail regarding Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita is unsettled, and Wichitans have reason to be wary. In the developer agreement regarding Naftzger Park passed on December 19, 2017, there was this: “The City and the Board will cooperate with Developers, upon Developers’ request, to create an Annual Master Calendar of private and public events for the Park, with the expectation that the Developers will have the use of the Park for certain private events.” [1. DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT between the CITY OF WICHITA, KANSAS, BOARD OF PARK COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF WICHITA, KANSAS, SENECA PROPERTY, LLC, and SUNFLOWER…
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Sedgwick County’s David Dennis on economic development

Sedgwick County’s David Dennis on economic development

Following the Wichita Mayor, the Chair of the Sedgwick County Commission speaks on economic development. Last week Sedgwick County Commissioner David Dennis penned a column for the Wichita Eagle praising the county's efforts in economic development. [1. David Dennis. Sedgwick County part of drive to strengthen area workforce. Wichita Eagle, March 5, 2018. Available at http://www.kansas.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article203559734.html.] Dennis is also chair of the commission this year. In his column, the commissioner wrote: "Economic development is a key topic for the Board of County Commissioners and for me in particular. Right now we have a lot of momentum to make our community…
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Naftzger Park concerts and parties?

Naftzger Park concerts and parties?

In Wichita, a space for outdoor concerts may be created across the street from where amplified concerts are banned. One of the City of Wichita's stated purposes for the redesign of Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita is to, "create a continuous flex space for multi-use; i.e. Tai Chai, as well as other passive use activities including but not limited to weddings, concerts, performances, films, special celebrations and parties as well as quiet contemplation." [1. Request for Qualifications No. -- FP740043. Available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B97azj3TSm9MQ1ZVcXVsNVQ2dkE/view.] There may be a problem, however. Directly across the street from Naftzger Park lies Gallery Alley. This…
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Wichita WaterWalk contract not followed, again

Wichita WaterWalk contract not followed, again

Wichita city hall failed to uphold the terms of a development agreement from five years ago, not monitoring contracts that protect the public interest. Two weeks ago a Wichita Eagle article reported on a 2002 public-private partnership that called for the private-sector company to submit an annual report to the city. But the company did not submit the reports, and the city didn't ask for them. The city did after the Eagle inquired. [1. Lefler, Dion. WaterWalk profit-sharing: 15 years, zero dollars for Wichita. Wichita Eagle, July 8, 2017. Available at http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article160147944.html.] Much of the Eagle article described why current…
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Wichita WaterWalk agreement not followed

Wichita WaterWalk agreement not followed

Does the City of Wichita enforce its public-private partnership agreements? In some cases the city doesn't even ask for the information that is needed for enforcement. A Wichita Eagle article reports on a 2002 public-private partnership that called for the private-sector company to submit an annual report to the city. But the company did not submit the reports, and the city didn't ask for them. The city did after the Eagle inquired. [1. Lefler, Dion. WaterWalk profit-sharing: 15 years, zero dollars for Wichita. Wichita Eagle, July 8, 2017. Available at http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article160147944.html.] The deal involves the city leasing land to a…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Dr. James Otteson on capitalism

WichitaLiberty.TV: Dr. James Otteson on capitalism

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Dr. James Otteson is executive director of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism, the Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics, and Professor of Economics at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was in Wichita to speak at the Bastiat Society and stopped by the WichitaLiberty.TV studios to discuss capitalism. Thank you to Raul Brito and the Bastiat Society for making him available. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 140, broadcast February 26, 2017. Shownotes James Otteson personal website James Otteson author page at Amazon BB&T…
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Year in Review: 2016

Year in Review: 2016

Here are highlights from Voice for Liberty for 2016. Was it a good year for the principles of individual liberty, limited government, economic freedom, and free markets in Wichita and Kansas? Also be sure to view the programs on WichitaLiberty.TV for guests like journalist, novelist, and blogger Bud Norman; Radio talk show host Joseph Ashby; David Bobb, President of Bill of Rights Institute; Heritage Foundation trade expert Bryan Riley; Radio talk show host Andy Hooser; Keen Umbehr; John Chisholm on entrepreneurship; James Rosebush, author of "True Reagan," Jonathan Williams of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC); Gidget Southway, or Danedri Herbert;…
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State pension cronyism

State pension cronyism

A new report details the way state pension funds harm workers and taxpayers through cronyism. Updated to accurately reflect the time period of the targeted investments. American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has released a report detailing the various ways state employee pension funds are harmed by cronyism. The report may be read at Keeping the Promise: Getting Politics Out of Pensions. The problem, ALEC reports, is: "Unfortunately, many lawmakers and pension plan officials have other priorities besides doing what is best for workers. They see the billions of pension fund dollars they manage as an opportunity to advance their own…
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Wichita to grant property and sales tax relief

Wichita to grant property and sales tax relief

Several large employers in Wichita ask to avoid paying millions in taxes, which increases the cost of government for everyone else, including young companies struggling to break through. This week the Wichita City Council will hold public hearings concerning the issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds to Spirit AeroSystems, Inc and other companies.[1. City of Wichita. City Council agenda packet for December 6, 2016.] In the IRB program, government is not lending money, and Wichita taxpayers are not at risk if the bonds are not repaid. In fact, in the case of Spirit, the applicant company plans to purchase the bonds…
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