• Commentary

Is JCERT Sales Tax Revenue Going to Waste?

Kansas State University’s Olathe campus opened in 2011. Henceforth, it has served the Greater Kansas City community. Now, some in the community are questioning if they are getting a valuable return on their sales tax dollars.

Surprisingly, that investment is steep. In fact, Johnson County Education Research Triangle (JCERT) sales tax provides nearly 85% of the K-State Olathe budget. Conversely, Kansas State University, student tuition and fees, and interest fund the remaining amount.

ISEG Executive Director Ted Bolema responds to questions about lack of transparency on JCERT sales tax 

Patrick Richardson released the article “K-State Olathe Spends $122,000 per student,” on December 19 in The Sentinel. Richardson quotes Dr. Ted Bolema, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Growth (ISEG), as an economics expert.


“Questions remain about the cost [and] benefit of the JCERT tax, which advocates promised would deliver $1.4 billion in economic impact over its first two decades and significantly expand higher education degrees.

Voters approved the $0.125 sales tax in 2008 for JCERT[. At] least one economist finds the goals noted above unrealistic. Ted Bolema, an economics professor at Wichita State University, told The Sentinel in an October story that he doubts the taxing authority’s ability to create $1.4 billion in benefits in 20 years.

“That would be impressive,” he said at the time. “By my calculation that would be a 14.2 percent rate of return[. That] far exceeds what almost any professional fund manager will do in the stock and bond markets over the same 20-year time period. If they really can do that[…] I’d like to put them in charge of my investments as well as the pension funds for the state of Kansas”

Patrick Richardson
The Sentinel

Read the whole article at The Sentinel