Subsidy

Wichita Business Journal grants city council excess power

Wichita Business Journal grants city council excess power

The Wichita Business Journal and the City of Wichita team to provide incorrect coverage and missing analysis. Today the Wichita Business Journal reported: "An $11.5 million expansion of the Wichita operations of BG Products has been given the go-ahead. The Wichita City Council on Tuesday approved the expansion plan and issued industrial revenue bonds for the project." [1. Heck, Josh. Council green-lights company's $11.5M expansion. Wichita Business Journal, September 12, 2017. Available at https://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/news/2017/09/12/council-green-lights-companys-11-5m-expansion.html.] The problem with this reporting is that BG Products was not asking for the city's permission to expand its operations, as the first sentence implies. Nor…
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Wichita WaterWalk contract not followed, again

Wichita WaterWalk contract not followed, again

Wichita city hall failed to uphold the terms of a development agreement from five years ago, not monitoring contracts that protect the public interest. Two weeks ago a Wichita Eagle article reported on a 2002 public-private partnership that called for the private-sector company to submit an annual report to the city. But the company did not submit the reports, and the city didn't ask for them. The city did after the Eagle inquired. [1. Lefler, Dion. WaterWalk profit-sharing: 15 years, zero dollars for Wichita. Wichita Eagle, July 8, 2017. Available at http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article160147944.html.] Much of the Eagle article described why current…
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In Wichita, new stadium to be considered

In Wichita, new stadium to be considered

The City of Wichita plans subsidized development of a sports facility as an economic driver. This week the Wichita City Council will consider a project plan for a redevelopment district near Downtown Wichita. It is largely financed by Tax Increment Financing and STAR bonds. Both divert future incremental tax revenue to pay for various things within the district.[1. Weeks, Bob. STAR bonds in Kansas. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/star-bonds-kansas/.] [1. Weeks, Bob. Wichita TIF projects: some background. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-government/wichita-tif-projects-background/.] City documents promise this: "The City plans to substantially rehabilitate or replace Lawrence-Dumont Stadium into a multi-sport athletic complex. The TIF project…
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More Cargill incentives from Wichita detailed

More, but likely not all, of the Cargill incentives will be before the Wichita City Council this week. A division of Cargill, Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, is moving from an office on North Main Street in downtown Wichita to the site of the former Wichita Eagle building, also in downtown Wichita. Last year it was widely reported that Cargill was considering moving this division to another city. Reports of incentives offers to Cargill from other cities spurred the City of Wichita to offer its own incentives if Cargill would remain in Wichita. This week the city council will consider additional…
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Wichita WaterWalk agreement not followed

Wichita WaterWalk agreement not followed

Does the City of Wichita enforce its public-private partnership agreements? In some cases the city doesn't even ask for the information that is needed for enforcement. A Wichita Eagle article reports on a 2002 public-private partnership that called for the private-sector company to submit an annual report to the city. But the company did not submit the reports, and the city didn't ask for them. The city did after the Eagle inquired. [1. Lefler, Dion. WaterWalk profit-sharing: 15 years, zero dollars for Wichita. Wichita Eagle, July 8, 2017. Available at http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article160147944.html.] The deal involves the city leasing land to a…
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Metro Monitor for the Wichita economy

Metro Monitor for the Wichita economy

A research project by The Brookings Institution illustrates the performance of the Wichita-area economy. Metro Monitor from The Brookings Institution rates metropolitan areas on several indicators. For this year's report, the most recent data included is from 2015. For this year's report, the news for the Wichita area is mixed. For the period 2010 to 2015, Wichita ranks 88th in growth, 69th in prosperity, and 44th in inclusion. (The 100 largest metro areas were ranked.) Looking at just the most recent years, 2014 to 2015, Wichita ranks 73rd in growth, 42nd in prosperity, and 9th in inclusion. That's moving in…
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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://wichitaliberty.org/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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Downtown Wichita’s Block One, a beneficiary of tax increment financing

Downtown Wichita’s Block One, a beneficiary of tax increment financing

Before forming new tax increment financing districts, Wichita taxpayers ought to ask for progress on current districts. I'll not bore you with the mechanism of tax increment financing (TIF). But if you're curious, please read Wichita TIF projects: some background and Tax increment financing district (TIF) resources. Whatever the mechanism, tax increment financing is meant to spur economic growth. But in one of Wichita's largest TIF districts, economic activity, much less growth, is difficult to find. In particular, "Block One" -- a square block bounded by Douglas and William, Broadway and Topeka -- has benefited from TIF money, but has…
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Cargill subsides start forming

Cargill subsides start forming

Details of the subsidy programs used to keep Cargill in Wichita are starting to take shape. This week the Wichita City Council will consider one of the (potentially many) subsidy programs offered to keep Cargill in Wichita. Cargill Protein Group is currently located at 151 N. Main. The plan is for Cargill to purchase and demolish the Wichita Eagle building at 825 E. Douglas, then build a new office building in its place. The subsidy program to be considered this week is the Industrial Revenue Bond program[1. Weeks, Bob. Industrial revenue bonds in Kansas. http://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/industrial-revenue-bonds-kansas/.]. The city won't be lending…
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Cash incentives in Wichita, again

Cash incentives in Wichita, again

The City of Wichita says it does not want to use cash incentives for economic development. But a proposal contains just that. Update: The council did not approve this project, by a vote of four to three. This week the Wichita City Council will consider a package of incentives for the developer of a large downtown building, the Finney State Office Center. While the city has said that it does not want to use cash incentives, they are proposed for this project.[1. Wichita City Council agenda packet for April 11, 2017.] Elements of the proposal are these: The Wichita Public…
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