For the first time in recent years, Lawrence won't ask the Kansas Legislature to keep its hands off "demand transfer" financial aid to cities.
It's already too late.
"They took the money away," Assistant City Manager Dave Corliss said Friday, noting the city lost $1.38 million in expected state aid in 2003. "They're not giving it back. We're not going to harangue our legislators about that."
Now, Corliss said, the battle is to make sure the state doesn't restrict the city's ability to tax or spend. It will be the city's top issue during the 2004 session, according to a legislative priority statement expected to receive approval Tuesday from the Lawrence City Commission.
"The city of Lawrence opposes state-imposed spending or taxation controls or lids," says a draft of the statement, which will be signed by Mayor David Dunfield and shared with Douglas County's legislative delegation. "Local tax and spending decisions should be made by locally elected officials."
Other items on the city's priority list:
- Additional funding for public schools.
- Opportunities to extend city sales taxes to Internet and catalog purchases.
- Removal of state controls on city programs, including youth recreation, legal advertising and investments.
- Support of state efforts to encourage recycling and conservation -- but opposition to efforts to reduce the city's water rights at Clinton Lake.
Commissioners are expected to approve the priority list during their next meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets. They will meet with local legislators at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 6 during a breakfast at the Eldridge Hotel.