Comment history

School board cooling on consolidation plan

The building at East Heights is not large enough to house an elementary school for various reasons. However, i can't imagine why the district would ever build an entire new building on the southeast corner (forcibly taking properties from very unwilling owners) instead of expanding their existing building. They could get basically the same area by taking a single property to the north of the existing building.
Regardless, it is ludicrous to propose spending millions on school construction while closing buildings in order to save thousands on operating costs.

February 16, 2012 at 1:44 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Democrats, Republicans express concerns over popping the cap on local property taxes for schools

As long as the state refuses to properly fund education, i would prefer that local communities have the power to do so themselves. Proper funding from the state would be better but that doesn't seem likely any time soon. "Skyrocketing property taxes" can be prevented by paying attention to who we elect to the school board.

February 16, 2012 at 1:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

No closings

The truly twisted part of this whole debate is that most of the proposals include spending millions on construction (either for expanding existing schools or building an entire new one) in order to save thousands on operating costs. And no, even over the long run the savings wouldn't pay off. The reason is that state law caps the property tax that can be raised for operating expenses but doesn't have the same limit for paying off construction bonds.
Not that i'm a fan of Brownback but his proposal to lift the cap on local education funding is the only sane solution. If we can't convince the rest of this right-wing anti-tax state to properly fund education, at least let us support our own schools the way we want.

February 16, 2012 at 12:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Westar ratepayers oppose proposed $91 million increase

Actually it's less dramatic than the 20+% average ROI over the last 2 years. Westar is the one putting that number out there so it's better for them. Also ROI is unknown if you don't know what the stock price will be in a year. Return on equity is forecast net income divided by current market valuation of the company.
But the whole approach to setting profits thru setting rates is entirely backwards. Stock value should be based on expected profits, not the other way around. If they set a high target return and receive a rate increase to support it, that will push the stock price up, which then reduces the return on equity (it increases the market valuation in the above formula). Does that mean they get another rate increase to increase profits and push the return back up.....resulting in another rise in the stock price thereby pulling the return on equity back down... which means..... you get the picture.

November 30, 2011 at 9:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Westar ratepayers oppose proposed $91 million increase

Can anyone tell me why this article doesn't appear when i search the LJWorld website for "Westar"? Is it just too new?

November 30, 2011 at 11:28 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Westar ratepayers oppose proposed $91 million increase

Return on equity is from the corporation's perspective, based on net income. It can be paid out as dividends or reinvested (with the expectation of growth and higher stock prices). Return on investment is from the shareholder's perspective, stock price gains plus dividends paid. It should all come out about the same over time.

November 30, 2011 at 11:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Westar ratepayers oppose proposed $91 million increase

ok. I stand corrected. The words really didn't match his mouth... must have been YouTube lag.
I doubt this is his position anymore. There are things that can be done to cut carbon emissions at a reasonable price. Besides, the changes he was talking about in this interview haven't been passed by Congress so they can't be blamed for Westar's rate request.

November 30, 2011 at 11:16 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Westar ratepayers oppose proposed $91 million increase

BTW, the 10.6% return on equity number is also a sham. The average yearly return over the last two years including share price change and dividends is already 21.5%. On an industry with prices guaranteed by the government. And they want more, in this economy.

Over the last 4 years their profits have increased 18.5% while inflation totaled only 8.6%. That wasn't by running the corporation more efficiently, it was by extracting rate increases from the KCC. This one needs to be stopped.

November 29, 2011 at 10:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Westar ratepayers oppose proposed $91 million increase

Anyone remember this:

Kansas City Business Journal
Date: Friday, August 5, 2011, 10:14am CDT

David Wittig will receive approximately $39.1 million from the Topeka-based utility as part of a settlement.

Leonard Allen, a spokesman for Westar, confirmed the settlement. Allen had no further comment on the settlement, other than to point out that stockholders would foot the bill for the Wittig settlement, not ratepayers.

In May, the company said it would pay Lake $26.3 million.

That's $65.4 million out of shareholder dividends. On 117 million outstanding shares that's about 56 cents per share. The total deducted so far? 0. None. Not one penny. 2009 dividends: 30 cents every quarter. 2010 dividends: 31 cents every quarter. 2011 dividends: 32 cents every quarter.

So I say not one penny in rate increases until the shareholders take their hit.

November 29, 2011 at 10:06 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Westar ratepayers oppose proposed $91 million increase

LIES!!! The audio is obviously doctored. It doesn't match his mouth. He said WOULDN'T necessarily make rates skyrocket

November 29, 2011 at 9:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )