Downtown Wichita arena

On Wichita’s STAR bond promise, we’ve heard it before

On Wichita’s STAR bond promise, we’ve heard it before

Are the City of Wichita's projections regarding subsidized development as an economic driver believable? This week the Wichita City Council will consider a project plan for a STAR bonds district near Downtown Wichita. These bonds divert future incremental sales tax revenue to pay for various things within the district.[1. Weeks, Bob. STAR bonds in Kansas. Available at https://bobw7.sg-host.com/kansas-government/star-bonds-kansas/.] City documents promise this: "The City plans to substantially rehabilitate or replace Lawrence Dumont Stadium as a modern multi-sport stadium as part of a larger project to develop the river and stadium areas. ... Combined, the museum, pedestrian bridge, waterfront improvements and…
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Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2015 is $4.1 million

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2015 is $4.1 million

The depreciation expense of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita recognizes and accounts for the sacrifices of the people of Sedgwick County and its visitors to pay for the arena. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters cite a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing is depreciation expense. There hasn't been much talk…
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Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2014 is $5 million

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2014 is $5 million

The depreciation expense of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita recognizes and accounts for the sacrifices of the people of Sedgwick County and its visitors to pay for the arena. But no one wants to talk about this. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters promote a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing…
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WichitaLiberty.TV September 15, 2013

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV, host Bob Weeks reviews chapter 4 of "Economics in One Lesson," about how public works mean taxes, and efforts to create jobs through spending on public works do more ham than good, if the public asset is not truly needed. The tax used to build the Instrust Bank Arena in Wichita is analyzed in this light. Then on to chapter 5, "Taxes Discourage Production." Amanda BillyRock illustrates, and Bob explains that notwithstanding inventions like the powdered orange drink Tang, innovation and progress comes primarily from the private sector, not from government programs. Episode 13, broadcast…
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Touring a Wichita-owned downtown retail development

I have often wondered why economists, with these absurdities all around them, so easily adopt the view that men act rationally. This may be because they study an economic system in which the discipline of the market ensures that, in a business setting, decisions are more or less rational. The employee of a corporation who buys something for $10 and sells it for $8 is not likely to do so for long. ... A politician who wastes his country’s resources on a grand scale may have a successful career. -- Ronald Coase At one time it was thought that the…
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Intrust Bank Arena finances: The worst news is hidden

The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters promote a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and hides the true economics of the arena. There are two ways of looking at the finance of the arena. Most attention is given to the "profit" (or loss) earned by the arena for the county according to an operating and management agreement between the county and SMG,…
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Wichita Intrust Bank Arena profit, in perspective

Last week the Sedgwick County Commission heard a report from county managers regarding the financial performance of the Intrust Bank Arena. The arena, located in downtown Wichita, is owned by the county. The main facts are that revenue and profits are down. A Wichita Eagle article holds more details about the numbers. What citizens need to know is this: The honeymoon is over. The promised boost to downtown that arena backers promised has yet to materialize in any broad sense. When it does poke through -- an example being the Ambassador Hotel -- it requires many millions of taxpayer subsidy.…
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Wichita city council: substance and process

Today the Wichita City Council will conduct a public hearing for the second time. The reason the council must hold the hearing again is that a mistake was made in the official notice of the hearing. While I commend the city for realizing the mistake and following the letter of the law in conducting the hearing again, we must contrast this behavior, which is following the process according to the law, with the council's past behavior, which has shown no regard for the spirit and substance of the law regarding public hearings. The most recent example is when the city…
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Intrust Bank Arena depreciation expense ignored

Reports that income earned by the Intrust Bank Arena is down sharply has brought the arena's finances back into the news. The arena, located in downtown Wichita and owned by Sedgwick County, is deemed to be a success by the county and arena boosters based on "profit" figures generated during its first year of operations. But these numbers are not an honest assessment of the arena's financial performance. When the numbers were presented to Sedgwick County commissioners this week, commission chair Dave Unruh said that he is "pleased that we we still are showing black ink." He then made remarks…
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Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena shrouded in mystery

Okay, maybe that's a little over-hyped, but when arena cheerleader Rhonda Holman of the Wichita Eagle starts to question the operations of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita, there must be something going on. Holman's column of yesterday complained of lack of transparency in the arena's operations: "But with hindsight, and with the Intrust Bank Arena open three months and generating revenue, it's more clear all the time that county leaders gave away too much oversight authority to SMG, leaving citizens in the strange and frustrating position of having too little hard information about how their $206 million investment is…
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