Government spending

Survey finds Kansans with little knowledge of school spending

Survey finds Kansans with little knowledge of school spending

As in years past, a survey finds that when Kansans are asked questions about the level of school spending, few have the correct information. From Kansas Policy Institute. Survey Finds Kansans Misled on School Spending December 14, 2015 -- Wichita -- Kansas Policy Institute released a new Survey USA Poll of 509 registered voters in Kansas showing a significant disconnect between voters' perception of Kansas school spending and true expenditures. The survey found 47% of Kansans believe per-pupil funding has dropped more than 5% in the last 5 years. Another 15% believe it has dropped less than 5%. In fact,…
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Kansas school reform

Kansas school reform

A Wichita economist and attorney offers advice to a committee of the Kansas Legislature on reforming Kansas schools for student achievement. This week saw the third meeting of the 2015 Special Committee on K-12 Student Success for the Kansas Legislature. Of special interest was the short testimony of Robert Litan, a Wichita economist and attorney. His testimony summarized some of the important problems with Kansas public schools and points to ways that Kansas can move forward in providing education to schoolchildren. His written testimony may be viewed here. In arguing for starting with a “clean sheet” instead of merely tweaking…
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Are we winning the war on poverty?

For about 50 years we've been fighting a war on poverty. Initially, the poverty rate declined, before the start of the war on poverty. But over the last four decades the poverty rate has gone up and down, but is largely unchanged over this period. Spending on welfare programs, however, has continually risen, and rapidly in the past few years. The accompanying chart shows the poverty rate and welfare spending. The spending is per person in the U.S., adjusted for inflation, and doesn't include spending on health care. For more on this topic, see: The American Welfare State: How We…
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Wichita checkbook register

Wichita checkbook register

A records request to the City of Wichita results in data as well as insight into the city’s attitude towards empowering citizens with data. I asked the City of Wichita for checkbook spending records and received data for 2015 through September 25, as I asked. I’ve made the data available in a visualization using Tableau Public. Click here to access the visualization. (A visual guide for using the visualization is at the end of this article.) Analyzing this data requires a bit of local knowledge. For example, there is a vendor named “Visit Wichita” that started to receive monthly payments…
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Cash grants still in use

Wichita is moving away from the use of cash incentives for economic development, except for this. We’ve been told that the city is not going to use cash incentives for economic development. But an item the Wichita City Council will consider this week includes a cash grant of $10,000. This grant is part of the city's facade improvement program. Under it, properties in certain parts of the city can apply to use special assessment financing to pay for the improvement of their outside appearance. The city borrows the funds and advances them to the property owner. The bonds are repaid…
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