Government spending

Kansas school salaries

Kansas school salaries

An interactive visualization of Kansas school salaries by district and category. This visualization holds salaries of Kansas school superintendents, principals, and teachers. The visualization shows the average for each of these categories for each school district. The values are adjusted for inflation to the most current year values. Some data is presented on a per-pupil basis using full-time equivalent student counts. The visualization includes both tables and charts. The source of the data is Kansas State Department of Education for salaries and enrollments, United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for price levels, and author's calculations. Click here to access the…
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Kansans voted for growth, not stagnation

Kansans voted for growth, not stagnation

Kansans voted for growth, not stagnation By Michael Austin Director, Sandlian Center for Entrepreneurial Government With a new Kansas Governor-elect and State Legislature, Kansans voted to make a change. Despite many elections however, the Kansas economy has been slowing for the past 40 years. While the new administration cites government as the solution to this problem, history shows that government is primarily the cause. Kansans need of a new way of thinking. They won't get that from a Democrat or Republican as governor. Kansas has had a storied life in celebrating freedom and improving its quality of life. Through our…
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Kansas highway pavement conditions

Kansas highway pavement conditions

What is the condition of Kansas highways? Each year the Kansas Department of Transportation surveys the condition of highway pavement and issues a report called the Network Optimization System (NOS) Survey. [1. Kansas Department of Transportation. Pavement Management Information System (PMIS). Available at https://www.ksdot.org/bureaus/matreslab/pmis/reports.asp.] Of the condition of highways, the report notes: "Since the data was first collected in 1983, the percentage of pavement surface in good condition has appreciably increased while the percentage of poor pavement has significantly decreased." Here's a chart of the conditions of Kansas roads and highways. [3. Kansas Department of Transportation. 2017 Kansas NOS Condition…
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Kansas highway spending

Kansas highway spending

A look at actual spending on Kansas highways, apart from transfers. When we look at actual spending on Kansas roads and highways, we see something different from what is commonly portrayed. Kansas Department of Transportation publishes a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report that details spending in four categories. These figures represent actual spending on roads and highways, independent of transfers to or from the highway fund. For fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30, 2018, spending on two categories (Maintenance and Modernization) rose slightly from the year before, while spending on the categories Preservation and Expansion and Enhancement fell. For these…
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State government employees in Kansas

State government employees in Kansas

Kansas has more state government employees per resident than most states, and the trend is rising. Each year the United States Census Bureau surveys federal, state, and local government civilian employees. [1. United States Census Bureau. Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll (ASPEP). Available at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/apes.html.] The amount of payroll for a single month (March) is also recorded. In this case, I've made the data for state government employees available in an interactive visualization. For 2016, Kansas had 17.90 full-time equivalent state government employees per thousand residents. This ranked 15th among the states. These employees resulted in payroll cost…
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Wichita checkbook updated

Wichita checkbook updated

Wichita spending data presented as a summary, and as a list. As part of an ongoing transparency project, I asked the City of Wichita for check register data. I’ve made the data available in a visualization using Tableau Public. This visualization is updated with data through August 31, 2018. To learn more about this data and use the visualization, click here.
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Local government employment in Kansas

Local government employment in Kansas

Kansas has nearly the highest number of local government employees per resident, compared to other states. For all local government employees, Kansas had 50.59 per thousand residents in 2016, higher than all states (and areas) but the District of Columbia and Wyoming. These employees had an annual payroll of $2,141.16 per resident. Ten states were higher. Considering elementary and secondary education, Kansas had 30.03 such employees per thousand residents. This was higher than all states but Vermont and Wyoming. The payroll for these employees was $1,150.85 per resident, with eleven states above Kansas. Kansas is a small state in terms…
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Wichita Eagle calls for a responsible plan for higher taxes

Wichita Eagle calls for a responsible plan for higher taxes

A Wichita Eagle editorial argues for higher property taxes to help the city grow. In a recent op-ed, the Wichita Eagle editorial board writes: "It’s hard to make the argument that Wichitans are overtaxed by their city government. It’s time for the community to look at how it helps the city grow. A responsible plan that asks Wichita families to chip in the cost of a family meal should be part of the conversation." [1. Wichita Eagle editorial board. Wichita, it’s time to consider a tax increase. It’s past time, actually. August 17, 2018. Available at https://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article216790960.html.] First, note that…
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Hugh Nicks: Misinformed, or lying?

Hugh Nicks: Misinformed, or lying?

Analysis of criticism by Hugh Nicks, a candidate for Sedgwick County Commission, demonstrates that the candidate is either misinformed or lying. On his Facebook page, Sedgwick County Commission candidate Hugh Nicks accuses Richard Ranzau of "Voting against our community's children and babies." As evidence, Nicks supplies a link to an article in the Wichita Eagle. [1. Nicks For County Commission Facebook page, July 20, 2018. Available at https://www.facebook.com/NicksForCountyCommission/photos/a.1633354576739927.1073741832.1591968844211834/2011959645546083/.] What's notable about this claim is this paragraph from the article Nicks uses as evidence: In 2015, Ranzau and other commissioners voted to cut the federal Women, Infants and Children program grant…
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Is the pursuit of intergovernmental grants wise?

Is the pursuit of intergovernmental grants wise?

Is the pursuit of intergovernmental grants wise? Would local governments fund certain programs if the money was not seen as "free?" An eariler version of this article failed to distinguish Jim Howell's position from the majority of candidates. I regret the error. At a forum of candidates for Sedgwick County Commission, the subject of intergovernmental grants was discussed. All candidates except for current commissioners Richard Ranzau and Jim Howell were fully in favor -- enthusiastic, even -- of the grant system. Both Ranzau and Howell expressed skepticism of the wisdom and efficacy of the grant system. Other candidates participating in…
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