Government planning

Sustainable planning: The agenda and details

Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau has produced a document that explains the dangers contained with the "sustainable development" movement that is spreading across the country. Recently both the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County voted to participate in a planning grant devoted to starting the implementation of this ideology that government can plan better than markets can. In the document Ranzau writes: "Proponents of these grants often speak in general terms that make it difficult to disagree. But as they say, the devil is in the details. It is very important for you to know what they are not telling…
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Crony capitalism and social engineering: The case against tax-increment financing

A report published earlier this year by urban planning expert Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute gives a good overview of tax increment financing (TIF) districts and the harm they cause. O'Toole discusses the research that shows that TIF has an overall negative effect on communities that use it. He also addresses the issue of crony capitalism, which is well documented in Wichita, with TIF developers handing out a continuous stream of campaign contributions to those politicians who vote their way. Following is the executive summary of O'Toole's report, followed by a link to the full document. Tax-increment financing (TIF)…
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‘Sustainable planning’ not so sustainable

By Randal O'Toole, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A version of this appeared in the Wichita Eagle. The vast majority of Americans, surveys say, aspire to live in a single-family home with a yard. The vast majority of American travel -- around 85 percent -- is by automobile. Yet the Obama administration thinks more Americans should live in apartments and travel on foot, bicycle, or mass transit. To promote this idea, the administration wants to give the south central Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP) the opportunity to apply for a $1.5 million grant to participate in "sustainable communities." Also…
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Sedgwick County considers a planning grant

This week the Sedgwick County Commission considered whether to participate in a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. A letter from Sedgwick County Manager Bill Buchanan to commissioners said that the grant will "consist of multi-jurisdictional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of economic prosperity, social equity, energy use and climate change, and public health and environmental impact." The budget of the grant is $2,141,177 to fund the three-year plan development process, with $1,370,000 from federal funds and $771,177 of…
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