Previously Wichita City Councilwoman Sue Schlapp was successful in giving a sweetheart deal to Todd Tiahrt's campaign manager's church. The selling of a piece of public land valued at $2.1 million was given away for a mere $400,000. Not content with one act of selling off the commons the Wichita City Council has moved forward with two other plans to rob the people.
The older plan is to destroy the wetlands in Maize in order to create a strip mall with a Lowe's department stores and expand the number of chain restaurants and cell phone stores in the area. In order to help the developers out the city will spend $1.7 million to create a new wetlands is a place that remains undisclosed.
The wetlands that is currently is place is a home for copious amounts of wildlife that will lose their habitat due to unnecessary urban sprawl. The land serves as a means of flood control and a natural means of water filtration. It's in the best interest of the developers to destroy the land because it's owned by the taxpayers (that means it's cheap) and if a flood isn't prevented then the developers get bailed out by the taxpayers and get brand new contracts to rebuild in an area that will be constantly threatened by floods. A new "wetlands" will probably be nothing more than a gravel pit on old farmland but I can't be sure because the city and developers have no plan for a new wetlands, just empty promises.
The other plan to screw the taxpayers is to increase the sales tax. Wichita just got their sales tax reduced after having it increased by 1% in order to build an unneeded arena in downtown Wichita. Naturally there were many promises made that the new arena would create jobs, increase tourism, bring in additional revenue, blah, blah, blah. Who is going to drive from Oklahoma City or Kansas City to see events in Wichita when those other cities are much bigger draws? Sure, the RV shows in Wichita are simply amazing. Arena jobs are low paying and part-time and fully dependent on those who want to shell out $30 to see Elmo on Ice. As for bringing in more tax revenue that's hogwash. People are on a budget. If they have $30 to spend when they go out they'll go to the arena and nowhere else. Previously they would have gone somewhere else but they won't suddenly start doubling their budget just because an arena is around unless the plan was for money to magically appear.
Anyway, that tax is over so the City Council thinks we are conditioned to accept a tax to replace it. The guise is that it is intended to prevent an increase in property tax. This is bollocks. Property taxes won't increase because property values are declining in this Bush economy. The sales tax is needed to replace lost revenues, it's just an extra tax, not a substitute tax. It is also a means to shift more tax burden upon the poor who are less likely to own property. Those with huge McMansions are seeing their mortgages increase and want tax relief so they can fill up their Hummers. So let's stick the poor saps that don't have political influence and live in apartments. The cost of living in a house will go down but the cost of living in apartments will go up because we won't see any decrease in rent.
No surprise the majority of people on the City Council are Republican. They work extra hard to find anyway to increase the amount of corporate welfare for the few (subsidies for AirTran and Gander Mountain) and pay for it with taxes on the many. It's corporatism folks, and that's how Mussolini defined fascism.