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Archive for Thursday, January 7, 1999

OPINION CLARIFIED

January 7, 1999

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To the editor:

I want to thank the Lawrence Journal-World for publishing my comments on growth in Lawrence. I would like to correct one misconception regarding my viewpoints on growth. In the introduction to the interview the following paragraph was included:

"Kipp would rather see Lawrence and Douglas County experience zero population growth into the next millennium, so that pressures on roads, schools and other community resources would be less severe."

This interpretation is not correct. What I stated was: "The very best thing that could happen is for the COUNTRY to reach zero-population growth, or ZPG." (Emphasis added). I went on to state how unlikely this was; I never stated that I would like to see ZPG for Lawrence or Douglas County. It is likely that Lawrence and Douglas County would continue to attract newcomers even if the country were to achieve ZPG. This is borne by the fact that we are, now, growing at a considerably faster rate that the country as a whole.

At the same time, I am concerned that population in Lawrence is at present growing too fast for our own good. We are experiencing substantial stress from increases in traffic, water run-off, and new demands for schools, roads, water and sewer facilities, and other infrastructure. The burdens and costs of these changes are now being borne largely by existing residents of Lawrence. In other words, growth is not paying for itself.

In that context, it is very important to distinguish between growth that is led by new industry versus growth that is led by new population and new households. New industry tends to reduce the tax rate, because industry generally pays more in taxes than it demands in new services. New industry also tends to reduce the unemployment rate and increase the wage rate. New households, on the other hand, tend to have the opposite effects. At present, households are growing faster than industry in Lawrence, a trend which we should try to reverse.

Larry Kipp,

1029 N. 1750 Rd.

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