By
"One final thought: the measure of the success or failure of these tax cuts shouldn’t just be the effect they have on the bottom line of the Kansas state budget. The measure should be the effect they have on the budgets of the individuals, families, and businesses that are residents of Kansas. In the end it’s money that belongs to them."

http://reason.com/archives/2014/07/28/are-tax-cuts-working-in-kansas


Are Tax Cuts Working in Kansas?
reason.com
Don't believe the hype you read in The New York Times.
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:41:13 +0000
By
An event to define the scope and possible solutions to Wichita's long-term water challenges.


Examining Wichita's Water Future
An event to define the scope and possible solutions to Wichita's long-term water challenges.
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:07:44 +0000
By
“'We’re just trying to get all of these different perspectives in the same room and not in a debate format. We want to talk about if there is a problem, what is the scope of the problem and what are some possible solutions,'” said James Franko, vice president and policy director for KPI."

http://www.kansas.com/2014/07/15/3553660/community-forum-planned-on-future.html#storylink=cpy

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER: http://kansaspolicy.org/events/118507.aspx?view=c


Community forum planned on future of Wichita’s water | Wichita Eagle
www.kansas.com
The Kansas Policy Institute, a conservative Wichita nonprofit organization, is hosting a community forum about Wichita’s water future from 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday at the Wichita State Metropolitan Complex, Room 132, according to a news release.
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 16:00:24 +0000
Last Refreshed 7/29/2014 12:47:40 PM
Press Releases

7-29-14
State Budget Guide Outlines Principles for Better Service at Lower Costs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

Regardless of opinions on Kansas' recent tax cuts, Kansas is like every other state is that it must answer citizen demands to use tax money well and deliver better quality service. "A Legislator's Guide to Delivering Better Service at a Better Price," was released today by Kansas Policy Institute to highlight the principles by which a state government could achieve both ends at the same time. Lead author Steve Anderson, Kansas' former state budget director, uses Kansas-specific data to provide a road map to guide other states, or local governments, towards better government service at a better price to taxpayers; Patrick Parkes a fiscal policy analyst at Kansas Policy Institute is the co-author. Read the full release here.

7-16-14
Kansas budget deficit claims are complete fabrications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

New research from Kansas Policy Institute quotes Kansas Legislative Research Department (KLRD) in refuting claims that Kansas will have a $1.2 billion deficit for FY 2019.  Some legislators have been telling media and citizens that KLRD is predicting large deficits, but in reality, the numbers being cited were prepared "at the request and direction" of a legislator. Read the full release here.

7-1-14
3rd Annual Kansas Freedom Index ReleasedFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

Kansas Policy Institute released a new scorecard tracking votes from the 2014 legislative session. The third annual Kansas Freedom Index takes a broad look at voting records and establishes how supportive state legislators are regarding economic freedom, student-focused education, limited government, and individual liberty. Read the full release here.

6-10-14
House Speaker Ray Merrick announces appointments to Kansas K-12 Study Commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

House Speaker Ray Merrick recently announced his two choices to serve on the K-12 Student Performance and Efficiency Commission: Kansas Policy Institute president Dave Trabert and Mike O'Neal, President / CEO of The Kansas Chamber.  "It's an honor to be appointed by Speaker Merrick to serve with Mike O'Neal on the study commission," said Trabert.  "Public education costs a lot of money but a large body of research shows that student outcomes are impacted by how money is spent rather than 'how much'. Read the full release here.

5-20-14
KPERS payouts for 2013 include new pension 'millionaires'
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

Wichita - May 20, 2014 - Payout data obtained from the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System shows there are 1,229 state and local government retirees who will collect more than $1 million in taxpayer-funded pension benefits in their first twenty years of retirement.  Kansas Policy Institute collects the data annually and makes it available to the public at KansasOpenGov.org. Read the full release here.

5-2-14
Scientific Poll: Wichitans Don't Want Sales Tax Increase
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

May 2, 2014 - Wichita - According to a newly released poll from Kansas Policy Institute, Wichitans may want more jobs and a secure water source but they certainly don't support a sales tax increase as the means to get either.  A scientific survey of 502 registered Wichita voters, conducted by SurveyUSA, shows strong opposition to a  sales tax increase, as well as a possible explanation for their opposition. Read the full release here.

3-7-14
KPI on Gannon: Still, no one knows how much needed for K-12
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

March 7, 2014 - Wichita - Below is a statement from Dave Trabert, the president of Kansas Policy Institute, in response to Gannon v. State of Kansas:


"We're encouraged that the Court ruled that total spending cannot be used to measure adequacy.  This is especially important because spending is currently based on deliberately-inflated numbers in the old Augenblick & Myers report.  To this day, no one knows what it costs for schools to achieve required outcomes while also making efficient use of taxpayer money. Read the full release here.

2-17-14
KPI Brings Education "Insider" To Board of Scholars
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

February 17, 2014 - Wichita - Kansas Policy Institute announced today the hiring of David Dorsey as an adjunct education policy fellow. He will join a board of scholars that includes a Ph.D. and sitting member of the Social Security Advisory Board, Kansas' former state budget director, and two other Ph.D. economists. Mr. Dorsey brings 15 years of experience with local and state government in Arizona and 20 years of public school classroom teaching experience to his new role. "Bringing in-classroom experience to the data collection and analysis we currently undertake is a wonderful opportunity to enhance our efforts to improve public education and close achievement gaps," said KPI President Dave Trabert. "David has spent a career helping students succeed in the classroom and will be continuing that work statewide as KPI works to put the focus on individual students, not institutions." Read the full release here.

9-6-13
High-level Experience and New Talent Join Kansas Think Tank
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,  Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

September 6, 2013 - Wichita - After opening a new office in Overland Park earlier this year, Kansas Policy Institute's reputation and reach continue to grow as Steve Anderson officially joined their list of scholars today as a senior adjunct fiscal policy fellow. Anderson brings experience with state fiscal policy from his time in the administration of Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and most recently with a three year stint serving as Kansas' budget director. KPI also welcomed Patrick Parkes to the team as a fiscal policy analyst; Patrick is a recent Masters graduate from the University of Illinois and will work out of KPI's Overland Park office. Read the full release here.

7-24-13
Kansans Told Property Taxes "Steady" While Reality Suggests "Honesty Gap"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

July 22, 2013 - Wichita - Property tax collection in Kansas topped last year's record-breaking amount by 1.8 percent, resulting in $3,988,051,976.58 being taken out of the Kansas economy via taxes on personal and business property. Taxes were increased in 89 counties in 2012 and were reduced in 16 counties; all county totals include all taxing jurisdictions therein (cities, school districts, etc.). An online database of historic property tax information available at KansasOpenGov.Org, a government transparency using only official government data operated by Kansas Policy Institute, includes new property tax data between 1997 and 2012. Of the 105 Kansas counties, 56 decreased the mill rate, 48 increased it, and one left it unchanged. The mill rate for each all taxing jurisdictions within a county is calculated by the Kansas Department of Revenue. Read the full release here.

5-15-13
Economic Freedom Tracker For Kansas Legislature Expands To Include Education Freedom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

May 15, 2013 - Wichita - In the continuation of a project started last year, Kansas Policy Institute released a new scorecard tracking votes from the 2013 legislative session. This year's Kansas Freedom Index is operated solely by KPI and adds "education freedom" to the bills being tracked. The Kansas Freedom Index takes a broad look at voting records and establishes how supportive state legislators are regarding economic and education freedom, limited government and individual liberty in the 2013 session. Read the full release here.

5-8-13
New Accounting Standards Deepen KPERS Pension Hole
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

May 8, 2013 - Wichita - Despite legislative efforts to reform the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) in 2011, the plan's funding status remains seriously low.   A new paper from Kansas Policy Institute scholar Barry Poulson, Ph.D., makes clear that the reforms undertaken thus far were not enough to address the structural deficiencies in KPERS.  In fact, new Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) standards will make the current deficiencies much worse. Read the full release here.

4-15-13
Legislative Debate of Higher Ed Warrants Historical Analysis
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

April 15, 2013 - Wichita - Competing plans in the legislature on Kansas' six taxpayer-supported universities have brought higher education spending to the forefront in Topeka. A new analysis from Kansas Policy Institute looks at the previous ten fiscal years to provide context to Gov. Brownback's plan to hold funding steady, the Board of Regents' (KBOR) request for a $47.1 million increase, and plans in the House and Senate to cut spending, four and two percent respectively. Tuition, fees, spending, and enrollment are offered in total and broken down by institution. Also included are areas in which the legislature and the universities can find common ground to save taxpayers and students money while, ultimately, deliver better service. Read the full release here.

3.25.13
State Gov't Payroll Dips $2 Million, $1.9 Billion Total Paid to Employees
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

March 25, 2013 - Wichita - As the Kansas Legislature continues to debate the budget, new data gives a better picture of how much the state spends on payroll. 2012 calendar year payroll data for all state employees is now available at KansasOpenGov.Org and updates a fully searchable database that stretches back to 2007. Read the full release here.

3.1.13
Medicaid Expansion and ACA Set to Cost Kansans $4.7 Billion in Next Decade
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

March 1, 2013 - Wichita - Leaders in Topeka are considering whether to expand Kansas' Medicaid program now that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been partially ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. In doing so, they are presented with cost estimates from a variety of sources across the state and the country. Kansas Policy Institute's estimate from 2011 said that the "Mandate Effect" of the ACA would cost the state $4.1 billion over ten years while an expansion of Medicaid eligibility would cost an additional $625 million, over the same time period. That analysis was written before Medicaid expansion was a choice and a continuation of that analysis was released today by the same author and KPI. Read the full release here.

1.30.13
Kansans' Views on the Role of Government
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

January 30, 2013 - Wichita - A new statewide public opinion survey shows strong support for having K-12 funding decisions based on efficient and effective use of taxpayer funds.  This is especially noteworthy in light of the fact that no study has ever been conducted in Kansas to determine what it costs to achieve required student outcomes and have schools organized and operating in a cost-effective manner.  The survey was conducted by SurveyUSA on behalf Kansas Policy Institute between January 24 and January 27; 500 adults were surveyed with a ±4.5% margin of error. The complete survey and interactive crosstabulations are available here.
Read the full release here.

1.25.13
Privatization Key To Government Efficiency and Better Service, Better Price
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

January 25, 2013 - Wichita - As the 2013 Legislature begins its work the discussion remains focused on implementing last year's tax reform package. A new study from Kansas Policy Institute makes clear a good deal of the dollars necessary to implement reform without raising taxes, an 8.5 percent efficiency savings, can be achieved via a slate of reforms commonly referred to as privatization. "Better Service, Better Price," goes through best practices and case studies to arrive at standard cost savings of between five and 20 percent - a good step toward realizing the benefits of HB 2117. Read the full release here.

1.16.13
KPI on Brownback Budget: Good In Places, Could Go Further in Others
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

January 16, 2013 - Wichita - Kansas Policy Institute president Dave Trabert offered the following statement today regarding the release of Gov. Brownback's FY 2014 budget proposal. Read the full release here.

1.11.13
KPI on Gannon: Extremely Unfortunate $600 Million Annual Tax Hike
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,  Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

January 11, 2013 - Wichita - Today, Kansas Policy Institute president Dave Trabert issued the following statement in regards to the release of the Gannon v. State of Kansas lawsuit from the Shawnee District Court.

"It is extremely unfortunate for citizens of Kansas that the court has effectively ordered an annual $594 million tax hike. This is even more shocking given that there is no evidence that the billions in increased spending have raised student achievement on independent national exams. Read the full release here.

12.14.12
Think Tank Supporting Economic Freedom Opens Office in Overland Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

December 14, 2012 - Wichita - Kansas Policy Institute officially opened a new office in Overland Park today that will be led by Dave Trabert, KPI’s president. The office is located at 130th and Metcalf and will allow KPI to expand its footprint to beyond the largest city in Kansas, Wichita, to the largest population center in the state, metro Kansas City. In addition to opening a new office in Overland Park, James Franko has been promoted to Vice President and Policy Director to lead the office in Wichita. Read the full release here.

11.9.12
KPI Statement: Good work on rejecting health insurance exchanges
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

November 9, 2012 - Wichita - Today, Kansas Policy Institute president Dave Trabert issued the following statement in response to Gov. Brownback announcing that Kansas will not establish a state-based health insurance exchange. Read the full release here.

10.30.12
Kansans Support Lower Taxes, Lower Spending, More Gov't Efficiency
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

October 30, 2012 - Wichita - Kansas Policy Institute released the results of a statewide public-opinion survey conducted by SurveyUSA, showing that Kansans' responses to basic questions about taxes and spending vary greatly depending upon how well informed they are of the underlying facts. . The survey asked 500 adults questions on state and local taxes, general and education-specific government spending, and government efficiency, with a margin of error of 4.5 percent. SurveyUSA is a national polling firm that is also utilized by KWCH-TV in Wichita and KSHB-TV in Kansas City and conducted this poll between October 23-25, 2012. Read the full release here.

10.26.12
Check Registers for 16 Kansas School District Now Online
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

October 26, 2012 - Wichita - A database of school district expenses has been updated with 2012 school year data from 16 Kansas districts at KansasOpenGov.Org, a government transparency site operated by Kansas Policy Institute. Taxpayers in the Andover, Blue Valley (USD 229), Coffeyville, Colby, Emporia, Great Bend, Hays, Haysville, Hutchinson, Lawrence, Manhattan-Ogden, Olathe, Salina, Shawnee Mission, Topeka, and Wichita school districts can track how their money is being spent down to check date, amount, and payee. Read the full release here.

10.5.12
2012 Spending Data For All Kansas School Districts In One Place
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

October 5, 2012 - Wichita - In 2012, state spending on public schools increased by $195,247,583, a 3.5 percent increase over the previous year. This data was posted to KansasOpenGov.Org, a government transparency site, earlier today, and was compiled from the "Budget At a Glance" document available through the Kansas Department of Education. KansasOpenGov.Org is a project of Kansas Policy Institute and all of the data available on the site reflects official government records, much of it obtained via open records requests. Read the full release here.

10.2.12
Updated School Payroll Data Available Online
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

October 2, 2012 - Wichita - More data has been posted to government transparency site, KansasOpenGov.Org, a project of Kansas Policy Institute. Payroll listings for 11 school districts are now available for taxpayers to search how their dollars are being spent. Andover, Blue Valley, Colby, Dodge City, Great Bend, Hays, Kansas City, Lawrence, Salina, Topeka, and Wichita all released the information is response to an open records request filed by KPI under the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA). This latest update to KansasOpenGov reflects official records from each governmental entity, as does all information on the website. Read the full release here.

10.1.12
KPI: Hats off to KSDE for putting info before public
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

October 1, 2012 - Wichita - Upon learning that the Kansas Department of Education (KSDE) re-released 2011-2012 student achievement data, Kansas Policy Institute issued the following statement from president Dave Trabert; earlier today KSDE corrected a calculation error made with their original data release. Read the full release here.

9.11.12
Open Records Complaint Filed Against Wichita School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

September 11, 2012 - Wichita - Kansas Policy Institute (KPI) filed a formal complaint today with Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Folston, stating that USD 259 Wichita is in violation of the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA).  KPI requested the preliminary student achievement data that districts involved in the Gannon school lawsuit provided and discussed in court.  Hutchinson and Kansas City are processing the information, and Dodge City already complied; only Wichita has refused to provide the information. Read the full press release here.

8.28.12
Complaint filed with Douglas County DA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

August 28, 2012 - Wichita - Kansas Policy Institute filed a formal complaint with the Douglas County District Attorney today as a result of USD 497 in Lawrence refusing to comply with the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA). KPI requested payroll and checkbook data for the 2012 school year in Excel format but USD 497 will only provide it in a more cumbersome PDF format, even though they fulfilled an identical request last year with no objections. Read the full press release here.

7.24.12
Tax Reform Leads To More Jobs, Higher Wages
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

July 24, 2012 -
Wichita - Answers to many of the policy and political questions regarding the tax reform package that Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law in May are in a new analysis from Kansas Policy Institute. "Tax Reform Gears Kansas for Growth" shows that at least 33,000 new jobs will be created and Kansans will have at least $1.6 billion more in disposable income. The study also shows that a one-time spending adjustment of about 8.5% is all that is needed to have balanced budgets with healthy ending balances. Read the full press release here.

7.16.12
Renewable Energy Mandates Have Negative Economic Consequences for Citizens
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

July 16, 2012 - Wichita - As a result of renewable energy mandates created by a 2009 Kansas law, electricity prices are predicted to jump 45 percent by 2020. This is just one of the negative economic effects Kansans can expect according to a new study, "The Economic Impact of the Kansas Renewable Portfolio Standard," issued by Kansas Policy Institute. A renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandates that utility companies purchase certain amounts of their energy from renewable sources. In Kansas, that primarily means wind energy. Reading the full press release here.

7.12.12
Coalition Grades KS Legislators' Support of Economic Freedom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

Wichita - July 12, 2012 - A new scorecard released today takes a broad look at voting records and establishes how supportive state legislators were of economic freedom, limited government and individual liberty in the 2012 legislative session. The 2012 Kansas Economic Freedom Index is produced by Americans for Prosperity - Kansas, Voice for Liberty in Wichita, and Kansas Policy Institute. Read the full press release here.

6.28.12
KPI On SCOTUS Ruling: Federal Power Expands and Medicaid Presents $4.7 Billion Question to State
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316)634-0218

June 28, 2012 - Wichita - Americans are only beginning to digest the impact the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on federal health care reform will have on their lives. Regardless of the practical impact this ruling ultimately has on every-day Kansans, America has a health care problem that needs to be addressed. Kansas Policy Institute argues that the reforms needed should focus on the patient and less government involvement between Kansans and their doctor. Read the full press release here.

6.18.12
School Lawsuit Could Increase Property Taxes by 55%
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

June 18, 2012 - Wichita - If the school districts suing for more funding get their wish, taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $2 billion.  A recent article in the Wichita Eagle said district lawyers have studies showing that Base State Aid Per Pupil (BSAPP) should be $6,142; current BSAPP is $3,780.   If approved, it would cost the State of Kansas $1.59 billion more and local property taxes would automatically rise by $555 million in accordance with districts' Local Option Budgets (LOB). Read the full press release here.

6.7.12
"Suitable" Funding of K-12 Should Not be Based on Montoy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

June 7, 2012 - Wichita - The attorneys representing Kansas school districts suing taxpayers for additional funding in Gannon v. State of Kansas are trying to prove that the State is not making suitable provision for K-12 funding.  Their definition of "suitable" is based on a formula that the legislature implemented after the Kansas Supreme Court ordered nearly a billion dollar increase in the 2005 Montoy decision.  But the Montoy decision was based on a seriously flawed study. Read the full press release here.

6.6.12
Expanded Local And County Payroll Data Readily Available To Kansans
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

June 6, 2012 - Wichita - Five of the seven cities for which payroll data was recently published on a government transparency site spent less on payroll in 2011 than 2010. Topeka and Lawrence actually increased payroll spending and along with five other cities (Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park, Shawnee, and Wichita) spent $410 million in total pay. Read the full press release here.

5.31.12
KPI On K-12 Lawsuit: Basis For Funding Needed Before Rushing To Court
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

May 31, 2012 - Wichita - Today, Kansas Policy Institute president Dave Trabert issued the following statement regarding the beginning of the Gannon v. State of Kansas school finance lawsuit; the trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, June 4th.

"It will be interesting to see what basis will be used by the plaintiffs and the State of Kansas for determining adequate funding levels of schools, as no study has ever been done in Kansas that looks specifically at what it costs to achieve required outcomes and have schools organized and operating in a cost-effective manner," said Trabert. Read the full press release here.

5.24.12
Tax Reform Doesn't Result in Long-Term Budget Holes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

May 24, 2012 - Wichita - Today, Kansas Policy Institute released an analysis of the tax reform package, HB 2117, that Gov. Sam Brownback recently signed into law which shows that the billions of dollars in predicted deficits will not necessarily occur. A previous analysis from the Kansas Legislative Research Department (KLRD) that predicted large budget deficits used a standard methodology where only one variable changes. That methodology also makes no allowance for Kansas' constitutional requirement for a balanced budget, so the long-term implications of spending adjustments in the early years are not considered. Read the full press release here.

5.11.12
KSDE Numbers Indicate Need For Remedial Education At Regents Institutions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

May 11, 2012 - Wichita - The Kansas Department of Education (KSDE) recently released revised data on the number of Kansas high school grads enrolled in remedial coursework in a Board of Regents institution.  The information, available at www.KansasOpenGov.Org, shows that 21.1% of Kansas' 2009 high school graduates who enrolled at a public postsecondary educational institution, within the state, also enrolled in remedial coursework; previously, KSDE information showed that number to be 24.6%.  As with all data available at KansasOpenGov.org, this information is obtained directly from an official government source and is available to the general public.  Read the full press release here.

3.27.12
Legislators Deny Low Income Students Freedom Available To Wealthier Peers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

March 27, 2012 - Wichita - Yesterday, the Kansas House of Representatives failed to pass HB 2767 and in so doing prevented low-income students from potentially receiving a scholarship to attend a different school.  This bill, introduced by Rep. Clay Aurand would have allowed taxpayers to receive a 90% tax credit when they donated to non-profit organizations that give out scholarships to students in schools with at least 50% of their students qualifying for free meals under the federal school lunch program.  Read the full press release here.

3.2.12
KansasWatchdog.Org and KansasReporter.Org Now Fully Independent
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

Today, Kansas Policy Institute announces that KansasReporter.org and KansasWatchdog.org will now operate completely independent of  Kansas Policy Institute.  Both outlets will now be solely operated by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.  

"We are proud to have been a founding sponsor of both KansasWatchdog and KansasReporter in 2009.  Their success and growth over the past several years have made it possible to achieve our mutual, long-term goal of having them function as completely independent operations.  Their ability to function on their own allows KPI to devote more attention to our core mission.  We look forward to their continued contribution to Kansas news media with regular coverage of state government and investigative reports," said KPI president Dave Trabert.  Read the full press release here.

3.1.12
Updated KPERS Pension Data Available At KansasOpenGov.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

While much of the debate thus far in the 2012 legislative session has centered around whether to modify the government employees' retirement plans to address billions of dollars in pension debt, recently released data shows that 2011 pension payouts set a number of new records.  A retiree from USD 233 Olathe is collecting a record-high annual pension of $170,551 for life, or roughly $3.4 million over the first 20 years.  Retirees can elect to receive reduced annual pensions and collect a large one-time payment upon retirement.  A new record one-time payment was also set by a retiree from the City of Shawnee, who collected $681,981.  Individual payments are posted online at KansasOpenGov.org; all data was obtained from Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) via Open Records requests.  Read the full press release here.

2.17.12
State Payrolls Up Slightly Despite Streamlining
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

Even though much has been made of efforts to streamline state government and some claim dramatic downsizing of government, state payroll data on KansasOpenGov.org demonstrates that total state pay increased by $16,555,995.38 between the 2010 and 2011 calendar years.  KansasOpenGov.org contains only official government reporting data obtained via Kansas Open Records Act requests and is operated by Kansas Policy Institute.  Read the full press release here.

2.8.12
KPI At Tax Press Conference:  Need to Reduce Taxes For All Kansans
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

Today, Kansas Policy Institute participated in a coalition press conference focusing on the need for tax reform.  Below are excerpts from the remarks delivered by KPI President Dave Trabert.  Read the full Press Release here.

2.8.12
Student Achievement is Lower than Parents May Believe
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

There is no question that some students get an excellent public education in Kansas.  However, a new analysis from Kansas Policy Institute demonstrates that an examination of all the facts shows that that is not true for a large number of students.  "Removing Barriers to Better Public Education," finds that a more complete analysis of available data indicates that far too many Kansas children are being left behind.  Read the full Press Release here.

1.25.12
Online Learning "Vital Component" Of 21st Century Education
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

Last week, the Kansas House Education Committee heard from Susan Patrick of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), as she discussed the tremendous potential online learning has to increase student achievement.  A new study from Kansas Policy Institute was released today that makes the same point.  "Expanding Educational Opportunities in Kansas through Online Learning," is a soup to nuts look at the fundamentals of online learning, how it is being applied around the country, and the impact this form of K-12 education could have on students and the classroom.  Read the full press release here.

1.11.12
KPI Statement On Gov. Brownback's 2012 State of the State Address
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

This evening, Kansas Policy Institute president Dave Trabert offered the following statement in response to Governor Sam Brownback's annual State Of The State Address.

Overall Thoughts: "I'm glad Gov. Brownback has identified the things that too many previous administrations and members of the legislature willfully chose to ignore; KPERS, Medicaid, K-12 finance and taxes.  While it is nice to see these crises finally get some attention, the state is not moving aggressively enough to save itself from driving off a cliff..." Read the full Press Release here.

12.14.11
KPI Statement On Finance Plan, "Incomplete"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

Today, Dave Trabert, the president of Kansas Policy Institute offered the following statement in response to Gov. Sam Brownback's K-12 finance plan.

"All things considered, we have to give Governor Brownback's proposed School Finance Reform Plan an 'Incomplete'.  It's good to give districts more flexibility in deciding how to spend aid dollars and the formula may be easier to understand, but there is nothing in this plan to substantively address his laudable goals of raising student achievement.  Excellence in Education requires laser-like focus on outcomes and those elements are missing from this plan.  Hopefully, there is still a lot more to come."  Read the full Press Release here.

12.6.11
KPERS and Medicaid Poised to Drive Kansas Budget Off a Cliff
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

It's no secret that KPERS and Medicaid costs have been growing, but many Kansans may be shocked to learn that those two items could soon consume nearly half of all Kansas State General Fund (SGF) revenue.  In 1998, Medicaid and employee pension costs consumed 5.9% of SGF revenue and are budgeted at 24.2% of 2012 revenue.  But, even if SGF revenue grows at a slightly-above-average annual rate of 3.5%, KPERS and Medicaid will account for somewhere between 34% and 45.1% of SGF revenue by 2023.

A new study from Kansas Policy Institute, "Major Structural Deficits Looming In Kansas," projects General Fund spending under four spending scenarios and three revenue growth assumptions.  Read the full Press Release here.

11.7.11
More Payroll Data Added To Transparency Site
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

Residents of seven counties representing 56% of the state's population  can now see how much their county officials are paid.  Complete 2010 payroll listings for the five largest counties (Douglas, Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee, and Wyandotte) plus Butler and Cowley counties are now available on KansasOpenGov.org, with links to additional analysis at KansasWatchdog.org.  Read the full Press Release here.

10.20.11
Higher Student Achievement Obtainable Through More Parental Choice 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

A close look at the Kansas Department of Education 2011 Report Card contains some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Kansas students are showing improvement; the, bad news is that achievement levels for many students remain unacceptably low and that achievement gaps for minorities and low income students persist.  Read the full Press Release here.

10.11.11
Look At Whole Picture On Student Achievement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact 
James Franko (316) 634-0218

Today's release of the 2010-2011 state report card from the Kansas Department of Education (KSDE) shows some improvement, which is good news.  Still, student achievement is much lower than most parents might suspect.  According to KSDE, only 63% of Kansas students are able to read grade-appropriate material with full comprehension and only 53% of 11th graders meet that standard.  Read the full Press Release
here

9.29.11

Kansas Schools Start The New Year With Even More In The Bank - New Authority To Spend Now Exists
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

September 29, 2011 - Wichita -
New data from the Kansas Department of Education show that Kansas public schools increased their operating carryover cash reserves by $93.7 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011. Operating cash reserves (not including capital, debt or federal funds) increased from $774.6 million to a record-high $868.3 million. The increase in operating reserves includes a first-time disclosure of $8 million in school activity funds, which are primarily used for school athletics.  Read the full Press Release here.

8.24.11
Kansas Property Taxes Increased Again in 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

While appraised values softened in many Kansas counties last year, property tax collections rose to a new high of $3.8 billion, an increase of 0.4 percent, and the average mill rate increased by 3.3 percent. Since 1997, property taxes have gone up by 93.7 percent. At the same time, inflation rose 32.7 percent and population increased by 10 percent. According to new data compiled by Kansas Policy Institute and posted on KansasOpenGov.org, property tax collections and mill rate changes are as varied as the 105 counties in Kansas. From 1997 to 2010, Leavenworth County increased property tax revenue by 174 percent while property tax collections increased by four percent in Coffey County. The same goes for mill rates, as Stanton County increased from 76.976 to 144.595 mills, an 88 percent increase, while Shawnee County decreased their mill rate by one percent, from 138.630 to 137.565 mills.  Read the full Press Release here.

8.12.11
KPI Expands, Adds Experience With New Hires
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

As Kansas Policy Institute's influence continues to grow, our staff is growing to match. Earlier this summer Laurie Gregory began as KPI's development director and Todd Davidson started as a fiscal policy analyst earlier this month. Gregory represented Kansas' 33rd Senate District from 1997 - 2001 and Todd Davidson recently earned his M.A. in Economics from the University of Kansas. Full biographies for each new staff member can be found below and on the KPI website here.  Read the full Press Release here.

7.27.11
Employment Outpaces Enrollment Gains In Kansas Public Schools
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

Despite a small (2.4%) decline last year, school district employment has still grown much faster than enrollment over recent years.   Enrollment increased 3.1% between 2005 and 2011, according to the Kansas Department of Education (KSDE).  At the same time, school districts increased teacher employment by 4.6% and non-teacher jobs jumped 8.6%.    Statewide, there are now 13.3 students per teacher; counting all employees, the average school district has one employee for every 6.7 students.  Results for individual districts vary dramatically and are now available in a newly posted database at www.kansasopengov.orgKansas Policy Institute maintains the site and uses data obtained from the Kansas Department of Education.  Read the full Press Release here.

7.14.11
Legal Authority Exists to Adjust KPERS Benefits
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

There is a mounting realization that the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System (KPERS) is facing a crisis and there is a need for immediate reform.  "
Legal Authority to Adjust State Pension Plans," a paper released earlier this week by KPI, outlines the legal history of modifying public pension benefits.  Ralph Benko, a senior economic policy advisor to American Principles in Action, authored the paper and participated in a media conference call on July 12 announcing the paper's release.  An audio recording of that conference call is available here.  It will be mailed to members of the Brownback Administration, the Kansas Legislature, and the KPERS Study Commission later this week.  KPI released a paper earlier this year outlining the staggering unfunded liabilities facing KPERS that can be viewed here.  Read the full Press Release here.

6.28.11

Medicaid Spending Set to Crowd Out Education And Other Gov't Functions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

Full implementation of federal health care 'reform', commonly referred to as ObamaCare, would cost an extra $4.7 billion from the Kansas General Fund budget between 2014 and 2023 - the first ten year period when all of the law's provisions are in effect.  Total General Fund spending on Medicaid over that ten-year period is projected to be $20.8 billion, which is 29 percent more than would be spent without ObamaCare.  Jagadeesh Gokhale, Ph.D., a member of the Social Security Advisory Board and former senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, writes in a
new paper from Kansas Policy Institute that the mandates will balloon Kansas spending and crowd out the resources available for other government functions such as education and transportation.  Read the full Press Release here.

5.20.11

Budget Stabilization Plan Prevents Major Cuts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

This budget year would have gone much differently if, instead of starting out with a $27 million deficit, it began with a $1.0 billion surplus and another $6.8 billion set aside for tax relief or capital projects.  That could have been the reality if Kansas had followed the budget guidelines in a new study from Kansas Policy Institute. "A Budget Stabilization Plan for Kansas," would solve many of the problems that face the Legislature and Governor with each new session.  In fact, if the rules-based plan proposed in the study were in place since 1994, state spending would have been within 3 percent of actual general fund spending in 2010 and Kansas would have nearly $8 billion in funds ready for stabilization, emergencies, investment, and tax cuts.  Read the full Press Release here.

5.16.11
Education Initiative Asks "Why Not?" Provide Effective Learning Opportunities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

A new statewide initiative to inform parents about opportunities to raise student achievement launched earlier this month.  A joint effort of Kansas Policy Institute and The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, "Why Not Kansas?" lays out the facts about student achievement and school spending and informs Kansans about learning opportunities that are bearing fruit in other states.  Read the full Press Release here.

3.24.11

K-State #1 in Cell Phone Spending

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

An examination of the state checkbook reveals that agencies spent $89 million last year on several categories that often contain large amounts of unnecessary expenditures. 
Kansas Policy Institute (KPI) conducted the examination and made the results available today on KansasOpenGov.org.  Spending on overtime, advertising, cell phones, and dues, memberships and subscriptions totaled $50 million; $39 million in travel and entertainment spending was posted earlier this week.  Read the full Press Release here.

3.22.11

State Agencies Claim Confidentiality on Travel Spending
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

State agencies, boards and universities in Kansas claimed they did not have to disclose details on $21.4 million in spending on various forms of travel and entertainment in FY 2010, according to a
Kansas Policy Institute (KPI) analysis of the state's checkbook.  Complete details on travel and the entire state checkbook are available online at KansasOpenGov.org.  Read the full Press Release here.

3.7.11

KPERS (at least) $9.3 Billion In The Red
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

A family of four would have to write a check for $13,200 to pay off their pro-rata share of the unfunded liabilities in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.


Kansas taxpayers are on the hook for $9.3 billion according to a
new study from Kansas Policy Institute and retired University of Colorado professor Dr. Barry Poulson, an Adjunct Fiscal Policy Fellow at KPI.  Reports of a $7.6 billion unfunded liability do not account for $1.7 billion in losses that have already occurred - loses largely driven by the recession and acknowledged by KPERS.  Read the full Press Release here.

2.22.11
Transparency Website - Kansas Payroll Expenditures Remain Stubbornly Flat
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

KansasOpenGov.org, a project of Kansas Policy Institute, now has state payroll data for the 2010 calendar year.  Overtime, total payroll by agency, state employees earnings over $100,000, and a fully searchable database are all available to the public. Total pay declined by 0.8% from 2009 but is still 4.4% higher than in 2007.   State agencies paid out $10.2 million in overtime last year, up 10.4% over 2009.   All data on KansasOpenGov.org comes directly from government agencies.  Read the full Press Release here.

2.7.11
More Districts Added - Taxpayers Have New Tools
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact 
James Franko (316) 634-0218

Continuing on a previous effortKansasOpenGov.org has added five additional school districts checkbook and payroll registers. Fully searchable data is available for school districts in Topeka, Wichita, Great Bend, Colby, and Pittsburg.  As some school districts continue with their lawsuit against the state, legislators, parents and others searching for ways to operate schools more efficiently can use this newly available information to make better decisions. Read the full Press Release here.

1.10.11
Transparency Spreads To Local School Districts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

In a continuing effort to make data accessible to Kansas taxpayers,
KansasOpenGov.org now hosts district checkbooks, payroll listings, and employment agreements for five districts from across the state.  Fully searchable data is available for school districts in Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Garden City, Hutchinson, and Emporia.  As many districts discuss potentially dramatic cuts that would impact the classroom, it is important to have a clear understanding of how schools spend taxpayer money. Read the full Press Release here.

12.16.10
K-12 Employment Growing Faster Than Enrollment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

A
new study from Kansas Policy Institute shows that current K-12 employment in Kansas is 6.3% higher than in 2000, while enrollment increased just 1.9% over the same time period.  State Department of Education data also indicate that Kansas school districts increased non-teaching jobs at a much greater rate than teachers; the number of teachers increased by 4.9% while all other employees increased 7.8%.  “Profile and Comparison of Kansas K-12 Employment Levels” was written by Dr. Art Hall of the Center for Applied Economics at the University of Kansas, using publically available data to help give context to K-12 policy discussions in Kansas.  Read the full Press Release here.

11.11.10
Website Shines New Light On Government Spending In Kansas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

Questions about how much each school district receives in per-pupil aid are eliminated with a new School District section on KansasOpenGov.org, a website that puts the facts of government spending at Kansans' fingertips.  The new School District section shows per-pupil spending and revenue for every Kansas district by school year, from 2005 through 2009; data for the 2010 school year will be added when released by the state next month. Read the full Press Release here.

9.23.10
New Study:  No Evidence That Spending Raises Proficiency
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

A
new study from Kansas Policy Institute  shows that while per-pupil spending has jumped 42% since 2003, the percentage of students scoring 'Proficient' on national assessment tests has barely changed.  Only about one-third of students are considered proficient in Reading and a little more than half are 'Proficient' in Math. Read the full Press Release here.  

7.27.10
County Budget Analysis Study Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

A new study, "Kansas County Budget Analysis - In Search of Efficient Government," from Kansas Policy Institute compares 2009 per-resident spending across all 105 counties and creates a benchmarking tool for county officials and Kansas citizens.  The findings suggest hundreds of millions of dollars in potential savings from improved efficiency and transparency.  The full study can be found here, with complete data set here.  Read the full press release here.

4.30.2010
Schools districts use carryover reserves to spend more this year
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko
(316) 634-0218
 
Analysis of K-12 spending projections for FY 2010 shows that total spending is up about $320 million over last year, with about $220 million of the increase in current operating costs and the rest is in Capital and Debt Service.  174 districts are predicting higher operating expenditures this year; 77 districts have reductions of less than 5% and 42 districts have reductions greater than 5%.  Read the full press release here
.

4.15.2010
Budget Proposal Delivered to Governor Mark Parkinson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

Kansas Policy Institute is pleased to accept the invitation Governor Mark Parkinson issued, in a video posted by the Wichita Eagle, for Kansas Policy Institute (KPI) to show him our plan to balance the 2011 budget by funding state programs at 2010 levels without a tax increase.  KPI delivered the budget proposal April 14, 2010 to the office of the Governor. Read the full press release here
.

4.14.2010
Taxpayer Survey and Balancing the Budget Without Tax Increases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko(316) 634-0218
 
KansasReporter will hold a press conference to release the results of a statewide survey on school funding in Kansas.  The survey was conducted by The Research Partnership of Wichita to establish a baseline of public perception on K-12 funding and to determine Kansans' willingness to pay higher taxes to provide more money to schools.  Details: Thursday, 4/15/2010 at 11:00AM, State Capitol, Room 144-S. Read the full press release here

4.7.2010
Kansans Unwilling to Pay Higher Taxes for Schools under Current Conditions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218 

A new statewide public opinion survey conducted by The Research Partnership on behalf of Kansas Reporter shows that Kansans are strongly opposed to paying higher taxes for schools because total aid per-pupil is 26% higher now than five years ago, which is the baseline for school aid being increased under the Montoy decision. Read the full press release here

4.1.2010
Controversial Valuation Method Reduces Property Tax Collections
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218

The Kansas Constitution calls for a "uniform and equal basis of valuation and rate of taxation of all property subject to taxation." So why does the system for determining taxable value change at a county line?

Finney County appraiser Mark Low says he's been asked many times to adopt the system used by another county appraiser, Tom Fuhrmann, to determine taxable values for gas wells in five neighboring counties over major gas fields in southwest Kansas.

Read the full press release here.

3.24.2010
New Study Promotes Competitive Tax Policies
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko (316) 634-0218
 
"Positioning Kansas for Economic Growth with Competitive Tax Policies" shows how Kansas' tax policies compare with neighboring states and recommends how tax policy can be used to position the state to be more competitive for job creation and retention. The study is published by Kansas Policy Institute (KPI) and is authored by Jonathan Williams, adjunct fiscal policy fellow with KPI and director of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Read the full press release here.

3.23.2010
School Spending Study Finds $717 Million in Potential Savings
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact James Franko
(316) 634-0218

A new study on K-12 spending in Kansas concludes that schools statewide are spending as much as $717 million more than is necessary, and that implementing the 'best practices' of more efficient districts could eliminate the need to raise taxes or cut spending on other essential services. Read the full press release here.

 

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