Those jobs and salary numbers are according to what a legislator told KSDK Channel 5 News in Saint Louis last night; the station’s story is below. So how exactly will the state of Missouri make back up to $111 million each year under this plan?
On March 30, the Kansas City Star reported that according to Aviation Department Administrator Mark VanLoh,
Building a new terminal would not require general taxpayer funds. Instead, bonds would be paid by airport passengers, airlines and other users of the facility.
Now we learn from the Kansas City Business Journal that general taxpayer funds will be used after all. On Nov. 19, Austin Alonzo reported on the latest airport advisory group meeting:
During the meeting, Fowler announced that the board will “engage” New York-based transportation consultancy firm Frasca & Associates LLC as its independent consultant.
After the meeting, Fowler said Kansas City will handle the consultant’s contract, which could be worth as much as $100,000. More information on that choice and what the firm will do for the KCI Advisory Board will be revealed at the group’s next meeting.
Why are general taxpayer funds being used instead of airport funds? Apparently VanLoh cried poverty, saying the Aviation Department does not have the money. Mind you, the airport had the $117,000 to pay public relations firm Global Prairie to tell us how great an idea the new terminal is. The Aviation Department found the money to conduct the multi-year study that is now being considered. They even had the cash to loan Kansas City $10 million (at a modest rate of interest).
The CATO Institute recently released a report, “Cracking the Books: How Well Do State Education Departments Report Public School Spending.” Researchers at CATO scoured the websites of each state’s department of education. They did not judge how much money each state spent, rather how well each state reported those expenditures. Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) did not fare well in the report, receiving an “F-” and a ranking of 42nd.
Among other things, DESE was marked down because the website is “somewhat difficult for the layperson to navigate.” Heck, I would say it is somewhat difficult for someone immersed in education policy to navigate. As the report notes, “There is a link to ‘School Finance’ under the ‘Financial & Admin. Services’ dropdown box on the main menu, but the expenditure data is not located there, nor at the ‘Financial Reports’ or ‘Data & Reports’ links on the menu bar.” That is certainly confusing.
The CATO report brings to light several other areas that could be improved:
Allow per-pupil expenditures over time to be adjusted for inflation.
Provide data on capital expenditures.
Provide data on total salary expenditures.
Provide data on pension contributions.
Provide data on employee benefits.
I think the CATO suggestions are reasonable. If implemented, they would be of tremendous help to Missourians who want to track where our tax dollars are going. Government agencies don’t always respond well to criticism. Nevertheless, I hope the folks at DESE will take this criticism seriously and look for ways to improve their presentation of data.
Stay above the line and you gained jobs; drop below the line and you’ve lost them. And to be clear, the Kansas City, Kan./Kansas City, Mo., designations here are references to the Metropolitan Statistical Areas that compose the Kansas City metropolitan area; indeed, the data used here is appropriately broad and provides a fuller picture of Kansas City’s regional economic picture by including other large Kansas and Missouri cities along and around the border — from Overland Park to Platte City and beyond.
WASHINGTON — Racing to meet an October deadline, Obama administration officials said Thursday that they had awarded a contract worth as much as $1.2 billion to a British company to help them sift applications for health insurance and tax credits under the new health care law.
The company, Serco, has extensive experience as a government contractor with the Defense Department and intelligence agencies, and it also manages air traffic control towers in 11 states and reviews visa applications for the State Department. But it has little experience with the Department of Health and Human Services or the insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, where individuals and small businesses are supposed to be able to shop for insurance.
A billion dollar contract to a foreign company with limited experience in the health care industry? What could go wrong?
The IRS both delayed the imposition of penalties and “suspend[ed] reporting for 2014.” As the American Enterprise Institute’s Tom Miller observes, without that information on employers’ health benefits offerings, the federal government simply cannot determine who will be eligible for credits and subsidies. Without the credits and subsidies, the “rate shock” that workers experience will be much greater and/or many more workers will qualify for the unaffordability exemption from the individual mandate. …
All of these tax credit details matter to Missouri taxpayers. According to Daniel Kessler, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, insurance rates for many Missourians could rise a whopping 89% in 2014 because of the Affordable Care Act. To make matters worse, the question of whether tax credits can even be issued in Missouri and many other states is already unclear. Under the text of the law, tax credits flow through state exchanges only; Missouri, as well as a majority of the country, will have federal exchanges. The Affordable Care Act not only raises costs for most, but indeed, the law may be written in such a way that even its cost-mitigating provisions won’t apply to most of the country, Missouri included. Assuming Serco could determine whether tax credits can be issued to anyone, it may end up that only a fraction of the country would qualify for the tax credits outlined in the law.
It’s pretty cynical of the government to dump news of its health law outsourcing on a holiday — and of all holidays, a patently American holiday — to ensure fewer people found out about it. And it’s a sad commentary not only on the unpopularity of the law itself, but of the kind of political leadership slowly and sneakily implementing it. What a massive mess.
When I met with Michael Allen, founder of the Preservation Research Office (a private historic preservation and architectural research organization) he remarked at how little advertising the LRA does for its properties. Compared to real estate agencies, LRA advertisement is practically non-existent.
Shouldn’t the LRA function in the same way as real estate agents if its goal is to sell property?
According to Janet McAfee Real Estate’s Marketing Director Chuck Roper, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is the primary source of real estate listing information for approved brokers in Saint Louis. LRA-owned properties, however, are very rarely listed in the MLS.
Besides the MLS, there are a variety of other ways to make information available about properties. Newspaper and magazine ads, online ads, listings on real estate websites, social media, direct mail…you get the picture. The LRA does none of these things. You could drive by an LRA property that is for sale and have absolutely no idea. Two LRA staff members gave me different replies about whether they post “For Sale” signs. One said they are put up on “selected properties.” But the other simply said, “Nope, we don’t do that.”
With the LRA, the onus is all on you, the potential buyer, to figure out the entire process to purchase a home. You have to know that the LRA exists, what it does, find its list of properties, set up your own inspection of the house, and then begin the application process.
Every year that goes by, the city pays more and more to maintain these properties. They sit vacant, collecting no property tax. With 8,000 vacant properties, the LRA cannot afford to have the attitude that these properties can sell themselves. Any real estate agent will tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth.
According to the News-Leader, there are numerous opponents of grading schools, including superintendents, school district personnel, and the Missouri PTA president. In fact, the PTA president states that A–F grading “doesn’t address any problems at all. It’s just another way of identifying the problems that we know are there.”
The fact is, A–F grading does help address problems. The first problem it addresses is transparency. Currently, it is very difficult to see how an individual school is performing in comparison to other schools or a benchmark level of performance. A letter grade will solve this problem in a way that is easy for the average parent to understand.
In sum, we find that schools receiving an “F” grade are more likely to focus on low performing students, lengthen the amount of time devoted to instruction, adopt different ways to organize the day and learning environment of the students and teachers, increase resources available to teachers, and decrease principal control, as was expected given the increased oversight built into the A+ Plan.
Assigning A–F grades is not just a way to single out or label low-performing schools. It is a way to motivate schools to improve instructional practice and to strive for excellence.
Crowds of parents and students rallied at Union Station in Kansas City to celebrate school choice, as part of the National School Choice Week Whistle Stop Train Tour. Students sang, danced, and cheered as speakers drove home the message that students are all different — but they share one thing in common. They all deserve a quality education.
On a previous blog post, I explained why many teachers join a teachers’ union. In my estimation, the biggest reason is to get the liability insurance in case of a lawsuit. What many teachers do not realize is how many teachers’ unions are blatantly partisan.
On Dec. 4, the California Teacher’s Union released a video titled “Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale.”
The cartoon, which smacks of indoctrination of children, attacks rich people as the villains of most of our society’s ills. The greedy rich decided they did not want to pay taxes. So they bought politicians, paid for private schools, and private security. They basically stole all of their money from the 99 percent.
It is natural to want some liability coverage, but there must be a way to get it without supporting an organization that seeks to indoctrinate children with anti-rich propaganda, opposes school choice, balks at performance pay, and protects low-performing teachers.
“Parents must have the choice of where to educate their individual child. And as educators we must recognize the possibilities for advancement and positive growth in the profession through school choice.”
“Teachers in a modern workforce do not necessarily need one-size-fits-all salary and benefits packages that do little to recognize teachers who go above and beyond in their schools. “
“Further, AAE is against the ‘last hired, first fired’ policy by which newer teachers, regardless of performance are let go first to meet lay-off requirements.”
As a former public school teacher, I know there are many liberty-loving individuals in the classroom and there are probably more organizations that support those values and teachers.
If you are a teacher who supports free-market ideals, I would love to hear from you. Or if you know of other organizations that Missouri teachers should know about, please let me know.
On November 7, I was invited to present my paper — The Salary Straitjacket — to the Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition in Jefferson City, Missouri. Now you can listen to the audio of the presentation and see my slides:
About the paper: Imagine a school in which the highest prize for academic achievement went to the student who had been there the longest. Though it seems ridiculous to reward students in this manner, this is exactly how school districts reward teachers — by longevity. Teachers by and large are paid on a single salary schedule. These schedules not only fail to reward teachers based on their quality, but they fail to recognize that teaching different subjects and grade levels requires different skill sets and that those particular skill sets are in varying demand in the marketplace. For instance, there are reportedly 3.1 jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for every one unemployed person in Missouri. In comparison, there is only 1 non-STEM job for every 3.7 unemployed people. This means teachers with strong backgrounds in math and science may have more, higher-paying options outside of teaching. This is a reality we must address.
Hunting season is in full swing, and for many Missourians it’s a family affair. As one hunter put it in the Kansas City Star on Sunday, “For me, it’s a lot more than just the hunting….I get to see people that I only see a couple times a year. Deer season is always a big deal for our family.” From learning how to safely handle rifles and bows to enjoying time with family outdoors, today thousands of young Missourians participate in an enduring — and growing — tradition of hunting in the state.
In fact, the Missouri Department of Conservation announced last week that hunters had eclipsed the mark set in 2011 for deer harvested during the annual youth hunting season — over 19,000 deer, and a more-than three-fold increase above the state’s first youth hunt, instituted in 2001. Growing awareness of the hunt has no doubt increased participation in it over the years, but permit fees imposed by the state could easily have tamped down the season’s growth, if the costs were fixed high enough. Fortunately, Missouri’s hunting permit costs are generally quite low — and that’s a fact the Department of Conservation readily promotes on its website.
Low permit cost is another reason Missouri is a great place to hunt. Missouri’s $17 Resident Firearms Any-Deer Permit is a bargain compared to the average of $46.63 for equivalent privileges in surrounding states. Missouri charges only $8.50 for a resident any-deer permit for kids under age 16. Resident youths pay just $3.50 for antlerless-deer permits.
Missouri has kept the state-imposed costs of joining the hunt relatively minimal, and it’s reasonable to believe that participation in the youth hunt has risen at least partially because the barriers to engaging in it are so low.
Shouldn’t the state apply this lesson to other areas of policy? The lower the fees and taxes, the more likely it is that you’ll get more of an activity — here, hunting, but the idea applies elsewhere, too. Imagine: What would happen to Missouri’s economy from the perspectives of growth and competitiveness if the state got rid of its taxes on corporations and pass-through income?
Kansas opened the season for economic innovations earlier this year by dumping its tax on pass-throughs and reducing its income tax, but there’s no telling which state in the region is going to take down the big, long-term economic prizes in this highly competitive tax environment. Suffice to say, Missouri should join that hunt, and very, very soon.