Wichita Chamber of Commerce

Beechcraft incentives a teachable moment for Wichita

Beechcraft incentives a teachable moment for Wichita

The case of Beechcraft and economic development incentives holds several lessons as Wichita considers a new tax with a portion devoted to incentives. In December 2010 Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson announced a deal whereby the state would pay millions to Hawker Beechcraft to keep the company in Kansas. The company had been considering a purported deal to move to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Since then the company underwent bankruptcy, emerged as Beechcraft, and has been acquired by Textron.) The money from the state was to be supplanted by grants from the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County. At the time, the…
Read More
For Wichita city hall, an educational opportunity

For Wichita city hall, an educational opportunity

Will Wichita city officials and sales tax boosters attend an educational event produced by a leading Kansas public policy institute? It will be an opportunity for city officials to demonstrate their commitment to soliciting input from the community. Wichita voters will face a choice in November -- whether to vote for or against a proposed sales tax of one cent per dollar. Wichita city council members and city hall bureaucrats say they have spent great effort educating Wichitans on issues relevant to the sales tax. Members of the "Yes Wichita" group are holding events to educate the public on why…
Read More
Before spending on new infrastructure, Wichita voters should ask why so much deferred maintenance

Before spending on new infrastructure, Wichita voters should ask why so much deferred maintenance

As the City of Wichita asks for more tax money for infrastructure, Wichita voters need to be aware of the projected costs of the city's deferred maintenance. When the Wichita City Council voted to increase water rates in November 2013, meeting minutes reported these remarks from the city manager explaining that Wichita has not adequately maintained its infrastructure: Bob Layton City Manager stated the Council told staff last year that they wanted staff to continue to look at operation efficiencies to reduce the operating costs, which they are doing. Stated the rate recommendation does reflect the three percent efficiency increase.…
Read More

Who does the proposed Wichita sales tax harm?

In this excerpt from WichitaLiberty.TV: Analysis of household expenditure data shows that a proposed sales tax in Wichita affects low income families in greatest proportion, confirming the regressive nature of sales taxes. View below, or click here to view on YouTube. For more on this, see Wichita sales tax hike would hit low income families hardest.
Read More

For Wichita’s Williams, $1.33 per month is too much

Wichita city council member Lavonta Williams (district 1, northeast Wichita) is a supporter of the proposed one cent per dollar Wichita sales tax. She has also spoken of her concern for Wichita's low-income families, as she did in November 2013 when the Wichita City Council voted to increase water rates. City documents indicated that the average residential bill would rise by $1.33 per month for those who use modest amounts of water. According to the meeting minutes, Williams said this: Council Member Williams stated she realizes that some may think that $1.33 is not that big of an increase, but…
Read More
For Wichita sales tax, concern over conflicts of interest

For Wichita sales tax, concern over conflicts of interest

Supporters of a proposed sales tax in Wichita promise there will be no conflicts of interest when making spending decisions. That would be a welcome departure from present city practice. In November Wichita voters will decide on a new one cent per dollar sales tax, part to be used for economic development, specifically job creation. "Yes Wichita" is a group that supports the sales tax. Language on its website reads: "Conflict-of-interest policies will prohibit anyone from participating in decisions in which there is any self-interest." The page is addressing the economic development portion of the proposed sales tax. It's part…
Read More
Claims of future transparency of Wichita tax money spending

Claims of future transparency of Wichita tax money spending

Claims by boosters of a proposed Wichita sales tax that the city will be transparent in how money is spent must be examined in light of the city's attitude towards citizens' right to know. When a city council member apologizes to bureaucrats because they have to defend why their agencies won't disclose how taxpayer money is spent, we have a problem. When the mayor and most other council members agree, the problem is compounded. Carl Brewer won't be mayor past April, but the city council member that apologized to bureaucrats -- Pete Meitzner (district 2, east Wichita) -- may continue…
Read More
What Boeing received from Wichita was better than cash

What Boeing received from Wichita was better than cash

Supporters of the proposed Wichita sales tax contend that the millions in incentives Boeing received were not cash. That's true -- they were more valuable than cash. At a forum on the proposed Wichita sales tax on September 9, 2014, "Yes Wichita" co-chair Jon Rolph told the audience "The Boeing incentive thing? The city never gave Boeing incentives. They didn't take our incentive money and run." As explained at Fact-checking Yes Wichita: Boeing incentives, the claim that the “city never gave Boeing incentives” must be astonishing news to the Wichita city officials who dished out over $600 million in subsidies…
Read More
To pay for a Wichita water supply, there are alternatives

To pay for a Wichita water supply, there are alternatives

Supporters of a proposed Wichita sales tax contend there is only one alternative for paying for a new water supply, and it is presented as unwise. The major component of the proposed Wichita one cent per dollar sales tax is to pay for a new water supply. Controversy surrounds how the water should be supplied (ASR? El Dorado? New reservoir?) and its urgency. But according to sales tax boosters, there is no controversy about how to pay for a new water supply. The City of Wichita and the "Yes Wichita" group present two alternatives to Wichita voters: Either (a) approve…
Read More
Fact-checking Yes Wichita: Sales tax cost per household

Fact-checking Yes Wichita: Sales tax cost per household

The cost of the proposed Wichita sales tax to households is a matter of dispute. I present my figures, and suggest that "Yes Wichita" do the same. At a forum on the proposed Wichita sales tax on September 9, 2014, Jennifer Baysinger told the audience that "the average family bringing in about $50,000 a year would pay about $240 a year tax." She was speaking on behalf of Coalition for a Better Wichita, a group that opposes the one cent per dollar sales tax that Wichita voters will see on their November ballots. In his rebuttal, "Yes Wichita" co-chair Jon…
Read More