Visioneering

In Wichita, the case for business welfare

On Tuesday the Wichita City Council will consider granting an exemption from paying property and sales tax for High Touch Technologies, a company located in downtown Wichita. Let's take a look at some of the aspects of this company's application and the city's agenda packet material (available here). In its application letter, High Touch argues as follows (emphasis added): To demonstrate our commitment to Wichita, as well as accommodate our expected growth plans, High Touch Technologies would like to purchase a 106,000 sq. ft. building in Downtown Wichita. At this time, High Touch Technologies is requesting your support for the…
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Spirit Aerosystems applies for tax relief

The Wichita City Council will consider excusing a large company from property and sales taxation. Is this action wise for the city's economy? Tomorrow the Wichita City Council will consider granting Industrial Revenue Bonds to Spirit Aerosystems, the city's largest employer. The amount of the proposed bond issue is $49,000,000. The purpose of the IRBs is to allow the recipient to escape the payment of property taxes, and often sales taxes too. This action by the council may exempt up to $49,000,000 of property from taxation, both ad valorem (property) and sales. A 100 percent exemption is proposed for five…
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WichitaLiberty.TV October 6, 2013

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: The City of Wichita owns a parking garage with retail space in a highly desirable downtown location. How is the city faring as landlord? Host Bob Weeks takes viewers on a video tour. Amanda BillyRock illustrates another chapter of “Economics in One Lesson” titled “The Curse of Machinery.” Then, Bob has gathered data about the growth of the Wichita economy compared to the nation and our Visioneering peers, and presents an interactive visualization. Episode 15, broadcast October 6, 2013. View below, or click here to view on YouTube.
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A learning opportunity for Wichita

Next month the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce brings a speaker to town who might be able to offer Wichita helpful advice. As reported in the Wichita Business Journal, "Jim Clifton, the chairman and CEO of Gallup Inc., says cities that create a culture of entrepreneurial development are the ones succeeding today." Clifton is the author of The Coming Jobs War. Here's material from the inside flap of this 2011 book: WHAT EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WANTS IS A GOOD JOB In a provocative book for business and government leaders, Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton describes how this undeniable fact will…
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Wichita and Visioneering peers job growth

Visioneering Wichita and other planning agencies take responsibility for growing the Wichita-area economy. What is the record so far? In the following video, the record of job growth for Wichita, the nation, and our Visioneering peers (Kansas City, Omaha, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa) is presented. Data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. Visualization created using Tableau Public. Click here to use the visualization yourself, or watch the video below. (Click here to watch the video on YouTube, which may work best.)
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It hasn’t worked, but Wichita will do it again

Tomorrow the Wichita City Council will, in all likelihood, issue more business welfare in an effort to create jobs in Wichita. The applicant company is asking for relief from paying property taxes under the city's Economic Development Exemption (EDX). The city's economic development policy has a formula that determines how much tax can be excused, based on job creation and capital investment. In this case, according to city documents, "WSM Industries qualifies for a 59%, five-plus-five year tax exemption." Not 50 percent, and not 60 percent. Precisely 59 percent is what the city judges. Here's how the tax savings breaks…
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Wichita income is not keeping up

Visioneering Wichita uses per capita income growth as one benchmark of economic progress. What do the numbers say about the city's progress? The following video illustrates. View below, or click here to view in higher resolution at YouTube, which may work better for some people. For more in this, and to access the interactive visualization, see Wichita personal income growth benchmark.
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Wichita job growth under the Visioneering/Brewer regime

Wichita has set ambitious goals in job growth, but it doesn't seem that the Visioneering program has produced results. But apparently Wichita government officials are satisfied. One of the benchmarks of Visioneering is "Exceed the highest of the annual percentage job growth rate of the U.S., Omaha, Tulsa, Kansas City and Oklahoma City." In May, Suzie Ahlstrand of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce presented Wichita City Council members with the benchmark documents, but didn't elaborate on these in her presentation. I can understand her reluctance to focus on these numbers. They're not good. Tremendous opportunities have been lost and wasted,…
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Wichita airport statistics: the visualization

In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them. -- Frederic Bastiat While the program to reduce airfares in Wichita has probably met that goal, there have been consequences. In particular, the availability of air travel in Wichita is lower than it has been, and the trend is in the wrong direction. In…
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Visioneering asks for money. Let’s ask these questions.

When Visioneering Wichita asks the Sedgwick County Commission for funds this week, commissioners may want to ask a few questions about how well the Wichita-area economy has performed, compared to the peers that Visioneering has selected. Here's some data that merits consideration and begs a few questions: Compensation paid. In the nearby chart (click on it for a larger version) I present this data divided into four data series: Wichita vs. its peers as selected by Visioneering, and private sector vs. government. (Data is from U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Visualization created by myself using Tableau Public.) What conclusions should…
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