Media’s hypocritical tizzy over fake news

Dave TrabertEducation, Tax & Spending

Fake news stories on the presidential election outperformed real news on Facebook according to a story recently published by online news site BuzzFeed and mainstream media, including CBS News, jumped all over it.  Even President Obama chimed in, saying that fake news “threatens democracy;” apparently saying “you can keep your doctor if you want” doesn’t count as ‘fake news.’  The Washington … Read More

KC Biz Journal misleads on Johnson County property tax

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

We routinely see media sharing false information and if it appears to be an innocent mistake, we first give them an opportunity to correct their own mistake.  Last month, the Kansas City Business Journal inaccurately stated that Johnson County accounted for 34 percent of the property tax paid in Kansas, with Sedgwick County in second place and paying 17 percent … Read More

Olathe’s real spending increase is higher than explained

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

The City of Olathe is proposing another big spending increase on pay and benefits, but you’d never know it from media reports.  According to the Kansas City Star, the city is only increasing spending by 4 percent, from $325.8 million to $339.3 million, but that isn’t exactly the case.  Those figures are inflated by fund transfers, which is just money … Read More

Olathe and Johnson County misrepresent pending property tax increases

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Misleading responses from the City of Olathe and Johnson County to a citizen’s inquiry about pending property tax increases are perfect examples of why the Legislature is allowing citizens to vote on property tax increases next year.  KPI’s report on pending property tax increases prompted a resident to ask Johnson County Commissioners, “I am interested to know how you plan … Read More

Property tax hikes in the works

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

City Council members and County Commissioners across Kansas are deciding how much more to tax and spend next year, and the preliminary numbers are not encouraging across most of the larger population areas.  With inflation at 1.4 percent (June 2016 compared to December 2015), the smallest increase we found was 1.6 percent in Kansas City, which is part of the … Read More

Students and Taxpayers Bear the Costs of Generous Pay Packages at Johnson County Community College

adminEducation, Tax & Spending

This post has been updated to correct a typo and clarify a calculation made within the body of the post. Johnson County Community College (JCCC) payroll records—now available on KansasOpenGov.Org for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years —may raise eyebrows among students and taxpayers alike, as some JCCC staff members earn salaries that appear to be well above market averages. … Read More

Public radio distorts school funding proposal, covers for Senator’s false claim

Dave TrabertEducation

Kansas City public radio station KCUR ran a story recently about a group of Democrats and moderate Republicans developing a new school funding formula, which included a false statement by Senator Laura Kelly (D-Topeka) about school property tax.  Property tax would not increase statewide as stated in the story, but would actually decrease under the plan developed by Senator Steve … Read More

Senator Kelly misleads on school property taxes

Dave TrabertEducation

A proposal to drive student achievement AND lower property taxes statewide was deemed “dead on arrival” by a state legislator who seems uninterested in the plight of low income children who are two to three years’  worth of learning behind their more affluent peers. Senator Laura Kelly (D-Topeka) told KCUR Radio that she and other legislators are working on a … Read More

Yellow journalism defines KC Star’s Steve Rose

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Yellow journalism originally referred to a style of journalism that used melodrama, romance, and hyperbole to sell newspapers and influence public opinion.  Over time, it has become synonymous with unethical behavior, ignoring facts and fabricating claims in pursuit of an agenda.  It is also an apt description of Steve Rose’s attacks on Kansas Policy Institute in particular and fiscal conservatives … Read More

Why are property taxes so high?

adminTax & Spending

Wichita taxpayers are footing the bill for a city-employed tennis professional to the tune of $102,000 annually. Topeka residents pay for two construction foremen fetching annual pay of $137,000 and $102,000. These are just two of the many head-scratching uses of citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars one can find at, our government transparency portal. The portal now includes over $1 … Read More