Sue Schlapp

Education gap on Wichita City Council

Education gap on Wichita City Council

Currently there is discussion in Wichita on whether higher education is valued by residents. Following, from April 2011, a look at the educational achievement of the Wichita City Council. The members of the council cited below were Lavonta Williams, Sue Schlapp, Jim Skelton, Paul Gray, Jeff Longwell, and Janet Miller. Carl Brewer was mayor. Before Jim Skelton left the council in January, none of the four men serving on the Wichita City Council had completed a college degree. The three women serving on the council set a better example, with all three holding college degrees. Of the candidates running in…
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Wichita being sued, alleging improper handling of bond repayment savings

Wichita being sued, alleging improper handling of bond repayment savings

A lawsuit claims that when the City of Wichita refinanced its special assessment bonds, it should have passed on the savings to the affected taxpayers, and it did not do that. A lawsuit filed in Sedgwick County District Court charges that the City of Wichita improperly handled the savings realized when it refinanced special assessment bonds at a lower interest rate. The case is 2018-CV-001567-CF, filed on July 13, 2018, and available here. The suit names David L. Snodgrass and Leslie J. Snodgrass as plaintiffs, and a long list of defendants, namely: The City of Wichita, Kansas Wichita City Manager…
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In Wichita, three Community Improvement Districts to be considered

In Wichita, three Community Improvement Districts to be considered

In Community Improvement Districts (CID), merchants charge additional sales tax for the benefit of the property owners, instead of the general public. Wichita may have an additional three, contributing to the problem of CID sprawl. This week the Wichita City Council will hold public hearings considering the formation of three Community Improvement Districts. In Kansas Community Improvement Districts, merchants charge additional sales tax for the benefit of the property owners, instead of the general public. [1. Weeks, Bob. Community improvement districts in Kansas. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/community-improvement-districts-kansas/.] Each of these CIDs will charge customers additional sales tax, with a cap on…
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Wichita City Council fails to support informing the taxed

Wichita City Council fails to support informing the taxed

It's enlightening to look back at some examples of discussion at the Wichita City Council so that we remember the attitudes of council members and city bureaucrats towards citizens. In the following example, the council was considering whether Wichitans and visitors should be notified of the amount of extra sales tax -- or even the existence of extra tax -- they will pay when shopping at merchants located within Community Improvement Districts (CIDs). Did the council side with special interests or citizens? At its December 7, 2010 meeting, the Wichita City Council considered whether stores in CIDs should be required…
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CID signs missing at some Wichita merchants

Not all merchants located in Wichita's Community Improvement District program are displaying the required signage. CIDs are a creation of the Kansas Legislature from the 2009 session. They allow merchants in a district to collect additional sales tax of up to two cents per dollar. At the time CIDs started forming, I and others suggested that the city require signage notifying shoppers that they would be paying an additional sales tax, and at what rate. Not everyone thought that would be wise, according to discussion at a Wichita city council meeting. Informing shoppers as to the actual rate of extra…
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Open records again an issue in Kansas

Responses to records requests made by Kansas Policy Institute are bringing attention to shortcomings in the Kansas Open Records Act. Those who have made records requests in Kansas are probably not surprised that KPI has had difficulty in having its records requests respected and filled. In 2007 Better Government Association and National Freedom of Information Coalition gave Kansas a letter grade of "F" for its open records law. Last year State Integrity Investigation looked at the states, and Kansas did not rank well there, either. See Kansas rates low in access to records. This week KPI president Dave Trabert appeared…
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Wichita’s political class

From June. The discussion at yesterday's Wichita City Council meeting provided an opportunity for citizens to discover the difference in the thinking of the political class and those who value limited government and capitalism. At issue was Mid-Continent Instruments, Inc., which asked the city for a forgivable loan of $10,000. It received the same last week from Sedgwick County. According to city documents, the State of Kansas through its Department of Commerce is also contributing $503,055 in forgivable loans, sales tax exemptions, training grants, and tax credits. At the city council meeting Clinton Coen, a young man who ran for…
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Wichita City Council campaign contributions and Douglas Place/Ambassador Hotel

Many people make campaign contributions to candidates whose ideals and goals they share. This is an important part of our political process. But when reading campaign finance reports for members of the Wichita City Council, one sees the same names appearing over and over, often making the maximum allowed contribution to candidates. Their spouses also contribute. Looking at the candidates these people contribute to, we find that often there‚Äôs no commonality to the political goals and ideals of the candidates. Some contribute equally to liberal and conservative council members. At first glance, it's puzzling. But then, when these people appear…
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In Wichita, private tax policy on the rise

In a free society with a limited government, taxation should be restricted to being a way for government to raise funds to pay for services that all people benefit from. An example is police and fire protection. Even people who are opposed to taxation rationalize paying taxes that way. But in the city of Wichita, private tax policy is overtaking our city. The Douglas Place project, a downtown hotel to be considered tomorrow by the Wichita City Council, makes use of several of these private tax policy strategies. By private tax policy, I mean that the proceeds of a tax…
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Wichita City Council bows to special interests

Yesterday's meeting of the Wichita City Council revealed a council -- except for one member -- totally captured by special interests, to the point where the council, aided by city staff, used a narrow legal interpretation in order to circumvent a statutorily required public hearing process. The issue was a downtown hotel to be developed by a team lead by David Burk of Marketplace Properties. The subsidies Burk wants, specifically tax increment financing (TIF), require a public hearing to be held. The city scheduled the hearing for September 13th. That schedule, however, didn't suit Burk. In order to provide him…
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