Intrust Bank arena

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce on the campaign trail

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce on the campaign trail

We want to believe that The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and its PAC are a force for good. Why does the PAC need to be deceptive and untruthful? In a mailing supporting David Dennis, the political arm of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce makes this statement about Karl Peterjohn: "The current county commissioner has spent his life making money from the government sector. When not working for the government, he worked as a registered lobbyist." If we look at reality, we find that the candidate who has been a government employee for his entire adult career, according to…
Read More
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…
Read More

Downtown Wichita deal shows some of the problems with the Wichita economy

In this script from a recent episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: A look at the Wichita city council’s action regarding a downtown Wichita development project and how it is harmful to Wichita taxpayers and the economy. This is from episode 77, originally broadcast March 8, 2015. View the episode here. This week a downtown Wichita project received many economic benefits such as free sales taxes and a bypass of Wichita’s code of conduct for city council members. The issue had to do with tax increment financing, or TIF. This is a method of economic development whereby property taxes are routed back to…
Read More
In Wichita, running government like a business

In Wichita, running government like a business

In Wichita and Sedgwick County, can we run government like a business? Should we even try? Do our leaders think there is a difference? As Wichita considers the future of its economy, a larger role for government is contemplated. The views of the people leading the effort to expand government management of the local economy are important to explore. Consider Gary Schmitt, who is an executive at Intrust Bank. Following is an excerpt from the minutes of the May 22, 2013 meeting of the Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners. The topic was a forgivable loan to Starwood Hotels and Resorts…
Read More

When should Wichita compare itself to peers?

In a Wichita Eagle article about the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita, we see Wichita public relations consultant Vera Bothner complain that Wichita is being unfairly compared to other cities in our region, in particular Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Kansas City. Wichita is smaller than these cities, she says, and we should not hold Wichita to a standard that it can't meet. But in public life, we find Wichita frequently compared to these cities. These three cities are part of the four metropolitan areas that Visioneering Wichita choose as peers. (The other is Omaha.) During the recent sales tax…
Read More
Wichita arena sales tax not a model of success

Wichita arena sales tax not a model of success

Supporters of a new sales tax in Wichita use the Intrust Bank Arena as an example of successful application of a sales tax. As Wichita debates the desirability of a sales tax, a former sales tax is used as a model of success. Let's take a look at a few of the issues. Ongoing vs. capital expenses A portion of the proposed sales tax will be used for operational expenses, and the demand for this spending will not end when the sales tax ends. The sales tax for the Intrust Bank Arena was used to build a capital asset and…
Read More
For Wichita’s new water supply, debt is suddenly bad

For Wichita’s new water supply, debt is suddenly bad

Wichita city leaders are telling us we need to spend a lot of money for a new water source. For some reason, debt has now become a dirty word. Details are not firm (that's a problem right there), but the amount needed is $250 million, city officials say. It could be less, they now speculate, maybe only $200 million. To raise these funds, here's the choice we're given: Either (a) endure a sales tax for five years, or (b) borrow money, raise water bills for 20 years, and pay a lot of interest. It's a similar argument made in favor…
Read More

In Wichita, no difference between business and government?

In this excerpt from WichitaLiberty.TV: Leaders in Wichita often liken government decision making to running a business, but there are important differences. That Wichita's leaders in both government and business do not understand this is problematic. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. For more on this, see In Wichita, no differentiation between business and government.
Read More
Would you rent space from this landlord?

Would you rent space from this landlord?

Commercial retail space owned by the City of Wichita in a desirable downtown location was built to be rented. But most is vacant, and maintenance issues go unresolved. At one time it was thought that the Wichita city-owned parking structure in the 400 block of East William Street would house retail shops along the street. But the present state of the property should cause us to be wary of government economic development efforts. As reported by the Wichita Eagle twenty years ago on Wednesday, October 20, 1993: The council also approved a plan to spend about $76 a square foot…
Read More