"No matter how you slice it, buying a home in Lawrence is more difficult than it is in many other Midwestern university cities." Lawrence Journal World, July 30, 2006.
On August 8, the City Commission will debate the 2007 City of Lawrence Budget. Part of that proposed budget is a property tax increase of .98 mills, which would cost a typical Lawrence homeowner about $50-$60 more per year in property taxes.
This increase may seem small, but the LBOR believes that Lawrence city leadership needs to hear from the real estate industry that now is not the time to raise property taxes. The Journal World quote above illustrates that Lawrence has housing opportunity challenges.
For starters, real estate is already burdened with an excessive share of the continually escalating cost of state and local government. It should be noted that we all pay a state and local property taxes to fund school finance. Additionally, even if the mill levy stays level from year to year, Lawrence residents will pay more each year in property taxes due to increased appraisals.
The LBOR believes that the conversation and debate should not be about how much to raise taxes, but how to expand housing opportunity in Lawrence. Expanding housing opportunity will help Lawrence grow in population and in tax base. A growing tax base both commercial and residential is the key to a healthy city budget for years to come.
Recently, Lawrence learned that after years of steady population growth, we are suffering a dip in population. The causes of such a decline are many, but we can be sure that a lack of housing opportunity played a role.
The LBOR looks forward to working with our City leaders on crafting policy initiatives that will grow Lawrence in the years to come.