Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Sales tax proposal met with approval, opposition

City would have highest rate in state

July 27, 2006

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A new 1-cent sales tax being proposed by Mayor Mike Amyx would push Lawrence's citywide sales tax rate to the highest in the state.

But one day after Amyx floated the idea at a Lawrence City Commission meeting, several consumers and businesses were approaching it with an open mind Wednesday, in part because Amyx is promising it would produce property tax relief.

"I've been telling everybody that downtown is in real trouble right now because of the amount of property taxes that we're paying," said Bob Schumm, owner of Buffalo Bob's Smokehouse and Mass Street Deli, which have seen their property taxes double since 2001. "Any property tax relief would be appreciated. I just hope it is not too little, too late."

Projections call for the 1-cent sales tax - which would require voter approval and would sunset after 10 years - to raise about $120 million over 10 years. Amyx proposes $60 million be used to repair streets, sidewalks and undertake drainage projects in North Lawrence. The other $60 million would be used to set up a unique city endowment fund that would create interest income for the city to use for infrastructure and other needs. Amyx also is recommending the new money be used by the city to reduce the property tax rate, perhaps by five to six mills.

That was music to some residents' ears.

Kyle Devore, 3, rides on the back of a fire engine shopping cart while he and his mother, Lark Devore, shop for groceries Wednesday at Hy-Vee, 4000 W. Sixth St. At Tuesday's City Commission meeting, Mayor Mike Amyx suggested a 1-cent sales tax increase for Lawrence. The increase would be used to fund a unique city endowment fund and street repairs.

Kyle Devore, 3, rides on the back of a fire engine shopping cart while he and his mother, Lark Devore, shop for groceries Wednesday at Hy-Vee, 4000 W. Sixth St. At Tuesday's City Commission meeting, Mayor Mike Amyx suggested a 1-cent sales tax increase for Lawrence. The increase would be used to fund a unique city endowment fund and street repairs.

"As long as they don't put any more on my house, I'd be fine with it," said JoAnn Hoover, a Lawrence resident who was at the Douglas County Senior Center. "My house taxes already are too high. This way you'll at least get the KU students to help pay for everything."

Support for the sales tax, though, was far from unanimous. Galen Tarman, an owner of Blue Heron furniture store, said he was concerned the higher sales tax would give more incentive for buyers of big-ticket items to shop outside the city.

"I think it is just too much," Tarman said. "I mean that puts us above what they charge in Overland Park."

Tarman agreed that property taxes were putting severe strains on downtown businesses, but he said a 5 mill reduction in the property tax rate would do nothing to address the broader problem of rising property values, which cause taxes to go up regardless of what the mill levy does.

Bruce Donaldson, a rural Douglas County resident, said merchants should worry about shoppers going elsewhere.

"I don't buy where the taxes are high," Donaldson said. "I keep an eye on that sort of thing for big purchases."

Some merchants said they didn't support the proposed tax increase because they weren't yet convinced the city had done everything to cut expenses.

"I think we probably just need to manage our money better," said Jim Lewis, an owner of Checkers Foods, 2300 La. "And I don't like the sales tax because it seems to always hurt the poor person the most."

The 1 percent increase would push Lawrence's overall sales tax rate to 8.3 percent. That lags behind only a pair of special taxing districts that have been established in heavy shopping areas of Roeland Park and Olathe. The Roeland Park district charges a rate of 8.65 percent, while the Olathe district - which is along the 119th Street corridor - has an 8.525 percent rate. At 8.3 percent, Lawrence would have the highest citywide sales tax rate in the state, tied with Neodesha.

Tyler Rush, a service department employee at Crown Toyota, works Wednesday to put a shine on a 2006 Chevy Impala for display in the dealership lot. Several car dealers said they weren't too concerned about the tax proposal affecting sales because of how the state charges sales tax.

Tyler Rush, a service department employee at Crown Toyota, works Wednesday to put a shine on a 2006 Chevy Impala for display in the dealership lot. Several car dealers said they weren't too concerned about the tax proposal affecting sales because of how the state charges sales tax.

"I don't like the sound of those numbers," said Win Cady, a Lawrence resident who said he wants to support the tax but was wary about the state having a rate above 8 percent.

The city and the county already have 1 percent local sales taxes in addition to the statewide sales tax rate of 5.3 percent. The countywide 1-cent sales tax, approved by voters in 1994, was touted as a funding source for parks, a new health department building, a jail and property tax reduction. A citywide half-cent sales tax was established in 1971, and then an additional half percent was added in 1990 to help fund fire and police budgets. Unlike the tax Amyx is proposing, none of those sales taxes had a sunset provision. Amyx is proposing the new tax automatically end after 10 years, and it only could be renewed if it is put on a ballot and approved again by voters.

In the past, Lawrence auto dealerships have had serious concerns with new sales tax proposals because of fears a higher tax would encourage people to buy vehicles in cities with lower sales taxes. But several dealers on Wednesday said that was less a concern now that the state changed its sales tax law about two years ago.

The changes now require anybody who purchases a vehicle to pay the rate of where they live instead of the rate imposed. Any difference is paid when the car is registered with the county treasurer's office.

That change left some auto dealers with an open mind about the sales tax proposal.

"I understand the purpose of it," said John Ellena, an owner of Jack Ellena Honda. "We need to do some work on infrastructure. And the trade-off would be that we reduce the mill levy. That's good because property taxes are a big deal for businesses."
















Tax rate comparisons

Sales tax rates in selected Kansas communities: Baldwin: 7.3 percent De Soto: 8.15 percent Eudora: 6.8 percent Kansas City, Kan. 7.55 percent Kansas Speedway area: 8.15 percent Leavenworth: 7.3 percent Leawood: 7.525 percent Lenexa: 7.525 percent Manhattan citywide: 7.55 percent Manhattan Wal-Mart district: 8.05 percent Olathe: 7.525 percent Olathe 119th Street district: 8.525 Overland Park: 7.525 percent Tonganoxie: 7.3 percent Topeka: 7.45 percent

Comments

moveforward 8 years, 10 months ago

Keep property tax based on the property's burden to infrastructure.

Eliminate income tax and instead tax only on spending. That would create a much healthier economy in the US, but there are no politicians with the b*lls to propose it. Change is hard... even change for the good.

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 10 months ago

Not a chance, moveforward. If we all are paying equal sales tax, it places a burden on those with a lower income. I'm still waiting for the day when minimum wage times full time hours equals the poverty line. It never has, so those adults working for minimum wage don't even come close to the poverty line. I don't like paying taxes in any form any more than the next person, but I do it without complaining. If I were in one of the higher tax brackets, I'd be willing to pay higher taxes than someone in the lowest tax bracket. Yes, there are those who are poor b/c they are lazy, but there are still plenty of rich people out there who got there by screwing the poor. Some of them have even screwed their fellow rich.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 10 months ago

Both jayhawks71 and dviper inferred incorrectly from my prior post re: Exxon that I believe Exxon was not entitled to $10.4B in profits. Nothing could be further from the truth. My intent was to demonstrate that good business practices alone are insufficient to achieve that level of profitability. To legally and ethically profit--and I have no reason to believe that Exxon's achievement was both--to that degree, smart business practice must necessarily be combined with preparation to take advantage of opportunities and the luck to have those opportunities arise. Nothing more.

On the issue of direct democracy vs. representative republic, I happen to be one of the individuals who disagrees with those who believe they should personally have authority to vote for details rather than merely direction. Such a governmental structure risks much, specifically that the citizens may take from their representatives the tools necessary for those representatives to fulfill their obligations to the citizens. That would place accountability on those representatives without the authority to achieve the results for which they are being held accountable. Under the system as it exists today, we ask our representatives to achieve some results for us. We outline those results in various political articles and laws. We allow those representatives the authority to levy taxes so they have the funds necessary to achieve the results. The check against their authority is our ability to elect, recall, and turn out of office those who abuse their authority or are poor managers. The balance is that those representatives must meet their obligations to the sufficient satisfaction of the voting population to retain their office while, simultaneously, the voting population retains the (more powerful) right to turn them out for whatever reasons.

Finally, representative democracy has additional checks and balances that allow minority voices to express their ideas, desires, and add their input to policy directives. These checks become endangered in direct democracy--check out J.S.Mill's "On Liberty" for an exploration of what he called--with typical Millsian hyperbole--tyranny of the majority.

dviper 8 years, 10 months ago

Badger Good post on July 28 at 2:41pm. I don't have the time or inclination to spell everything out, and explain it at a 6th grade level for bozo. However, it will not make a bit of difference to bozo and his PLC pals. They hate anyone successful, especially anyone in the development & construction industry. Their goal is to stop all development that doesn't fit their very specific ideology and whims. However, when it's for their benefit and use, they want everyone else to pay for it. So not only are they hypocrites, they are parasites on the backs of every hard working American taxpayer.

Jayhawks71 Good post on July 28 at 11:51 pm. Why is it that as soon as people like Wilbur see a successful company making good profits, they want to get their greedy parasitic hands on the profits? I've never heard them complain about taxes being too high. I guess it's alright with them if the government makes 20% on a gallon of gas thru taxes, as compared to 8% profit for the oil companies.

Wilbur There is nothing wrong with changing government for the better and utilizing technology to do it. The majority of Americans believe, especially at state and local levels that certain issues like tax increases should come before the voting public to vote directly for or against it. Besides, maybe politicians could work 50% less and take a pay cut, since they would not be constantly inventing new schemes to create new taxes or increase existing taxes to pay for more government waste and corruption.

Reality_Check read Godot's post on July 28 at 1.59 pm, : as you may learn something. I'd strongly suggest educating yourself on what happens to your estate upon your death. Your spouse, and family will greatly appreciate you taking the appropriate actions to protect their financial well being, otherwise the government is going to rip your estate to shreds. The government can even force your spouse out of your home and sell your home at auction if your heirs can't pay the taxes due on your estate. But then again, your attitude is "dead people don't need money". I guess your surviving family members don't need your money either, but the government can sure use it / waste it to fund more entitlement programs.

Sigmund 8 years, 10 months ago

We're Number 1! We're Number 1!

Could someone, anyone, show me one example where increasing taxes ever led to more prosperity, more or better jobs, or a lower cost of living? I wonder if the voters in Lawrence will remember why we are in this position?

The problem, as you well know, is the City Kommission already spent OUR budget on THEIR pet projects. It's hard to sell $12 million of used roundabouts on eBbay, or so I have been told although used buses (near new condition, barely used) might bring in a pretty penny.

The chickens have come home to roost, the milk has been spilt, and the water has flowed under the bridge. NOW YOUR ASKING US TO SHUT THE BARN DOOR WITH THE HIGHEST SALES TAX IN THE STATE? Yeah, right.

Use your existing sales taxes and live within your budget. Quit doing stupid stuff like $1 million roundabouts, $2 millon subsidizing nearly empty buses, anything with "homeless" other than "more jail cells for", and quit hiring consultants to do your job. Then consider ("horror of horrors!!!!) lay offs of city personel. When was the last time the city reduced its workforce? Are you telling me a Lawrence couldn't afford a 3-5% reduction of middle level management?

Increase the sales tax and I'll just avoid paying it. Sure you may get a bit more out of me when I buy a coffee but for consumer goods Ill buy over the internet and my next car Ill buy out of town.

Election time is just around the corner and three of the five are up for re-election and those three are the worst offenders. But since they will have to face the voters they are unlikely to approve a tax hike. I can see the slogans now, *"Vote the PLC!! Born Again Fiscal Conservatives Every One of Them!!* Don't be fooled, you are only safe for just one year folks. This is a critical and pivotal election coming up Lawrence. It may be the last chance you have to free yourself from the Socialistic Fascist Lunacy that is the Lawrence City Kommission.

Higher taxes is not the answer. Prioritizing the budget is. I know its hard to tell people "no we can't afford it" and it may seem easier to raise everybody's taxes and then try and "buy" votes come election time by promising ever more goodies ($75 million Librarys, Free internet for everyone, chickens in every non-vegan's pot and pot for every vegan) BUT you're not fooling anyone.

In the mean time if you want to RASIE Tax Revenues how about LOWERING Sales Taxes Rates. Welcome to beautiful downtown Lawrence where we have lowest prices, I mean sales taxes, in the State! How many people would come to Lawrence from Topeka and Kansas City for their major purchases? The problem is, of course, you might have to finish the SLT.

nut_case 8 years, 10 months ago

Lemme see... take 30+% of what I make right off the top, take another 7-8% every time I buy anything, plus take several thousand dollars in real estate and property tax every year. I say no more freaking tax! Learn to budget the available money better.

sailorette 8 years, 10 months ago

For those who are saying it would finally cause the KU students to pay taxes: Who do you think has shouldered the tax burden on all the rental properties in this city? It's not the landlords, I can guarantee it.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

I am all for the commish getting everything they want, pet projects included. But only with this novel approach: pay as you go.

You can have your very expensive "library", just create a casino to pay for it. You can purchase the entire 2 million dollar spa for the homeless if that is your heart's desire, only if you can find a funding source other than taxpayer's pockets.

I'm sure it is difficult to run a city, but why are the city leaders under the impression that the only way to fund even basic services is through some sort of tax increase? Is their thinking so limited that they cannot even come up with ANY alternatives? Where is the talk of cutting ANYTHING? City staff is a good place to start, adding in a wage and hiring freeze. Also, a little more information is needed on this "endowment fund", and what it might be used for.

Remember this article from April?

Ed Mullins, the city's director of finance, told commissioners at a study session that the balance in the city's general fund would shrink from about $14 million to about $2 million by 2008 unless commissioners are willing to consider a spending slowdown or tax increase, or some other revenue growth occurs.

"In three to four years, it largely will be gone," Mullins told commissioners.

conservative 8 years, 10 months ago

monkeyhawk, don't worry the endowment fund is already spoken for. Remember the library you mentioned, now they have a way to pay for it. (well some of it, no way they'll stick to less than 60 million)

justthefacts 8 years, 10 months ago

Here is an idea: Why not skip raising taxes and start cutting down on government and government provided services? Do we need that many lawyers working for the city? Do we need to have an economic development director who makes about 2x the average salary of most Lawrence residents? Do we really really really need to continue spending money like there's no end to it?

Most people I speak to these days, in any income bracket, are concerned and stressed over their personal finances. The budgets are breaking, mine and the government's included. Adding more tax to the pile is only going to push me further towards the brink. The entire country, and all individuals who aren't hiding gold under their beds, may be heading for a bad end, and soon.

Slow down the spending. Save money. Cut out all the frills and extras. If you can't live on what you make, you need to stop spending as much money. That goes double and triple for government officials. I will not be voting for anyone who imposes more new tax. Period.

common_cents 8 years, 10 months ago

"Amyx also is recommending the new money be used by the city to reduce the property tax rate, perhaps by five to six mills."

Lower the mill levy first, make all mil levy increases subject to voter approval, bring property valuations in line with reality and I might consider voting for a sales tax increase AND actually buying things in this town.

FatTony 8 years, 10 months ago

I thought all the liberals in town love to tax and spend. Also with it being in excess of $2.50 a gallon for gas and a round trip to Overland Park is going to cost at least $5. That means if you are lucky enough to shop in the few areas in the KC metro that had a significantly lower tax you would have to spend about $1000 to see any savings. What idiot would drive 20 miles out of the way to save one dollar on a $100 purchase.

lunacydetector 8 years, 10 months ago

what's wrong with cutting the fat? hasn't our city government tripled in the past 16 years or so while our population has only increased 20-25,000?

cut city jobs. run this city like a business. if a business is short on cash they cut the fat - stop buying fancy new cars or trucks with the 4 wheel drive/quad cab for the single driver who never goes off road. stop building roundabouts that cost $900,000!

we live on an island of tax and spend liberals. it seems like every liberal community out there is on the brink of going teets up.

city commissioners, cut back on the government first, then talk to us about raising our taxes. yes, it will make your job harder, but do it for the overall benefit of the citizens - just like you say when you spend the crap outta our money on some frivolous pet project -for the overall benefit of the citizens.

betti81 8 years, 10 months ago

Sigmund- about buying your car eslewhere, if you register it in Douglas county with a Lawrence address, you still have to pay the sales tax that applies to those two places. Nice try though.

OTS:

It doesn't sound like alot, but for lawrence to have the highest in the state seems a bit much. i don't think this is a good idea because it does punish those who can't afford it the most. if the money is going to fix roads and sidewalks, tax gas and tennis shoes. no seriously gas is high enough already, would we really notice 1%?

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 10 months ago

Say goodbye to the car dealships in Lawrence. 1% is $100 on a $10k purchase, which would be $300 on a $30k purchase. I'd drive to Tongie or Topeka to save that much on my next car.

Nate Poell 8 years, 10 months ago

Everybody panic!

Look guys, I'm not completely sanguine on a sales tax increase myself. However, it's not going to stop me from buying stuff in Lawrence. The reason is that it'd be more for me in time, effort and possibly money to shop out of town. Driving 50 minutes to Olathe or 30 minutes to Topeka to buy a $1000 item just to save $10 doesn't pass the smell test to me. This is why. First, it's more time out of my day. Second, it's ten freakin' bucks -- I'll manage. Third, I'm burning gas to get back and forth -- spending $4 in gas to save $10 MINUS the time spent just doesn't cut it. Fourth, if the item should break down, it's even more time and money out of my pocket because I have to travel back to the place I bought it for service.

I am inclined to think that the city should slow down a bit with spending increases, but this sales tax increase will not spell doom for retail in Lawrence.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

"the balance in the city's general fund would shrink from about $14 million to about $2 million by 2008 unless commissioners are willing to consider a spending slowdown or tax increase, or some other revenue growth occurs." And, isn't this the gravy fund?

It is clear which option they selected. There is not even blue sky on the horizon when it comes to "other revenue growth", they don't want to slow down on spending, so guess what? They took the easy, sure thing.

It is time for some creative thinking to come to city hall, and I don't mean any more studies. Give us something that we can all embrace, not just the same old "throw money at it" remedies. It's time to be honest about why Lawrence can't attract businesses, and why Lawrence is losing businesses as well as population. If that is ultimately the great smart growth plan, (as some city appointees have implied,) you can at least claim success in that arena.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

The car dealerships seem to support this plan.

A grocery exemption would be VERY HELPFUL.

This sales tax might be so regressive considering the city is willing to cut back 5 mils on a property tax. It seems it would be easier to pay this out in small increments than to add more to a property tax in which lower income folks are forced to pay out in two large chunks.

High rollin/over inflated property taxes are hell on business and low income home owning families.

All we need now are a few new high salaried industries locating to Lawrence that pay for themselves not only through wages but ultimately in property taxes.

Too many new houses and not enough industry = inflated property taxes and not enough money to care for aging infrastructure. All a result of not good planning since 1987.

If anyone among the powers that be thinks Lawrence has not yet become a bedroom community....

SpeedRacer 8 years, 10 months ago

There is no such thing as a temporary tax...it always becomes permanent! I can't remember the last time that "earmarked" taxes actually went to what they were raised for. Now they are talking about blowing money on more crap art along the river!

FatTony 8 years, 10 months ago

Olathe 119th Street district: 8.525

Kansas Speedway area: 8.15 percent

Its amazing how many cars I see at these places not shopping. Maybe they are protesters against high sales taxes.

Stephen Prue 8 years, 10 months ago

If any person or if the city needs an immediate increase in cash try what has always worked for me, lower your standard of living. If you can't afford to dine out don't dine out, if cable TV or Internet or cell phone is beyond your means shut it off. You get the idea. Its amazing what a person or a city can live without if you have no other alternative. Life requires the wise use and conservation of resources its just that simple.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

luny said:

" it seems like every liberal community out there is on the brink of going teets up."

Speaking from the People's Republic of Hippie South Austin, we're going gangbusters, thanks. Every time someone buys a Dell, or a computer with an AMD chip, a copy of Guild Wars, a Motorola phone, some wheatgrass at the Whole Foods, or a big ol' slab of County Line ribs, the hippies do a little dance and buy themselves another pair of Birks. It was bad for a while, here, but according to the Statesman, AMD's got a billion-dollar huge new plan, Samsung's increasing its plant size by thousands of square feet, and people can't get enough hippie organic free-range Whole Foods grub. Far from going 'teets up', this hippie haven is in the middle of a pretty massive growth and recovery phase (after the crash five years ago), and getting more liberal every day.

This may have to do with the fact that we've got a man named Kinky running for Governor, or it may be because the VP shot the Last Republican In Austin in the face, but I'm afraid I just can't agree that all the liberal communities are in trouble.

Thanks for your concern. Let me know if you need any brisket.

common_cents 8 years, 10 months ago

Buffalo_star:

"If any person or if the city needs an immediate increase in cash try what has always worked for me, lower your standard of living. If you can't afford to dine out don't dine out, if cable TV or Internet or cell phone is beyond your means shut it off. You get the idea. Its amazing what a person or a city can live without if you have no other alternative. Life requires the wise use and conservation of resources its just that simple."

Here here!!! It's time for the city government do that very thing. Cut off the artsy stuff; cut off the preservation and historical projects; cut off the anti-xxxxxicide park projects... lower their standard of living... we all know we have so they could keep their illusion of "quality of life."

Rhoen 8 years, 10 months ago

There is nothing in any of the coverage of this proposed tax increase indicating the sales tax hike will come INSTEAD OF an increase in property taxes. Something to consider.

Another point to consider:

These decisions are being made by our ELECTED officials - put in office by a MINORITY of the population, since the MAJORITY of eligible voters in Douglas County do not go to the polls.

Staci Dark Simpson 8 years, 10 months ago

Seriously 1% won't hurt when buying small stuff. But I live in Tongie, Bonner and Leavenworth and KCK are just as close as Lawrence. For my big ticket purchases I will definitely not shop in Lawrence. I don't think it will make much of a diff for groceries and clothing, and it really won't affect me property tax wise as I live in LV county. I think our property taxes are high here, but what can you do?

common_cents 8 years, 10 months ago

badger:

"Speaking from the People's Republic of Hippie South Austin, we're going gangbusters, thanks. Every time someone buys a Dell, or a computer with an AMD chip, a copy of Guild Wars, a Motorola phone, some wheatgrass at the Whole Foods, or a big ol' slab of County Line ribs, the hippies do a little dance and buy themselves another pair of Birks. It was bad for a while, here, but according to the Statesman, AMD's got a billion-dollar huge new plan, Samsung's increasing its plant size by thousands of square feet, and people can't get enough hippie organic free-range Whole Foods grub. Far from going 'teets up', this hippie haven is in the middle of a pretty massive growth and recovery phase (after the crash five years ago), and getting more liberal every day."

Well this might have to do with a couple of solid facts and nothing to do with hippies:

Austin has several high-tech, high-dollar companies (IBM, Applied Materials, Advanced Micro Devices, Samsung, 3M, Freescale, Tokyo Electron ). Lawrenced does not.

Austin has a population of 700K. Lawrence definitely does not.

Income Taxes:

Texas has no personal income tax, nor does Texas have a corporate income tax.

Property Taxes:

http://www.austin-chamber.org/DoBusiness/TaxesAndIncentives/TxProperty.html

Sales Taxes:

8.25% - Natural gas and electricity are exempt from sales taxes when sold to commercial businesses that are "predominantly" manufacturing.

Groceries and over-the-counter drugs and medicines, as well as prescription drugs, are exempt from sales tax.

Notice anything here? The taxes as a whole in Austin are predominantly lower. In addition, the entire tax structure is pro-business.

Maybe the hippies in Austin do have their poo together. Our hippies should learn from their hippies.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

For all the belt-tightening suggestions here, the problem isn't roundabouts or arts programs. The problem is decades of growth that doesn't pay for itself, and sweeping that little fact under the rug by building roads and other infrastructure on the cheap and deferring basic maintenance-- till now.

As the saying goes-- you can pay now, or you can pay later. Later is now.

conservative 8 years, 10 months ago

Fat Tony, you're right about not driving there to save the 1%. However many of us are in other cities often to visit friends and family, not to mention many who work in other communities. Therefore we're not driving to save the money, but very well may decide to save money while we're already there.

Janet Lowther 8 years, 10 months ago

Students pay property taxes: If you don't think landlords pass along every penny of property tax to their renters, you are sorely mistaken! The only ones who don't are the few who live in university-owned student housing.

Further, property taxes are subsidized by the Feds: They are tax deductible, so a dollar of property tax only costs seventy five cents in my tax bracket and even less if you are in a higher bracket. A dollar of sales tax costs a dollar regardless of your tax bracket.

Yes it is a big pile of money all at once, but I get tired of keeping track of my selections and then getting hit for several dollars more at the checkout to pay for sales tax.

Property tax is kind of like having a tooth pulled. Sales tax is like being nibbled to death by mice.

clarkcoan 8 years, 10 months ago

At least they are proposing a Sunset clause. The existing 1 cent tax (supposedly for police and fire and parks) doesn't sunset. We're stuck with it forever.

Food should be exempted if this passes. Almost all states exempt food because it has a much more negative impact on low and moderate income people.

The ordinance should require an unanimous decision by the City Commission to tap into the principal of the endowment fund. A super majority is only 4 out of 5.

I like the idea of putting a 5 cent excise tax on gas to pay for road repairs but that would take special enabling legislation from the Kansas Legislature (not very likely). Maybe some other fee can be levied on cars.

Jayhawk226 8 years, 10 months ago

common_cents I love Austin man!! And it sounds like Austin is again, definitely the opposite of Chicago. Holy cripers, we pay a tax on everything:

  • Amusement Tax 4-8%
  • Anti-Litter Tax .005% on "carryout food items"
  • Chicago Gas Use Tax
  • Cigarette Tax (up to $7.00 a pack of cigs)
  • Fountain Soft Drink Tax (9% of syrup price)
  • Ground Transportation Tax ($1.50-2.50 on cab/taxi rides)
  • Hotel Accomodation Tax
  • Liquor Tax
  • MPEA Airport Departure Tax (livery services for rides from airport)
  • Motor Vehicle Tax
  • Parking Tax
  • Property Tax
  • Restaurant Tax
  • Telecommunications Tax
  • Tire Fee
  • Toll roads (and growing higher and higher)
  • Vehicle Fuel Tax
  • Wheel Tax

...and on and on and on and on.

Perhaps this could attribute to why Chicago moved up the list on the Global/World Cost of Living Rankings this year to #38, up from 52 last year.

Nonetheless, we're still "a city that works" and in the Olympic bid running for 2016. I think we can take LA or San Fran...and if so, bring your checkbooks and credit cards. We're gonna do some $$$$ collecting!

Jayhawk226 8 years, 10 months ago

clarkcoan--I wouldn't get too excited about seeing the "sun set."

Illinois has promised the elimination of the tollroads for decades, "as soon as it pays it all off."

If you've visted the Illinois tollroads, perhaps you've noticed the immediate doubling of fees collected if you're not an IPASS user. I'm sure visitors on I-88 coming from Des Moines love paying the $1.85 twice, before even reaching the outter suburbs...and then realize oh crum, I still have 50 miles of suburban tollroads to travel through just to make it to Chicago.

That 1% Lawrence tax increase proposed won't be setting within a 10-year window, and neither will the over-inflation of housing values within Lawrence proper.

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Confrontation 8 years, 10 months ago

The highest city tax rate in the state for a city with horribly low-paying jobs, overpriced housing, and love for all things "homeless." Lawrence, as brutish as you think.

Jamesaust 8 years, 10 months ago

Hmmmm.....but will there be money for the community recreation center? or for consultants to guestimate city carbon emissions back to 1999? or for more roundabouts? or more development studies? etc., etc., etc., etc. (ad nauseum)

The City of Lawrence has a serious spending problem. Providing more revenues to it will not effect a cure of that. The City also has failed to achieve an adequate development mix in Lawrence. There are, of course, no large employers except the U with adequate wages (compare, per other commenters, Austin, Texas). No mall exists (in 2006, Oak Park Mall in OP will pay JoCo over $7m in property taxes - and that's before remitting sales taxes at any rate!).

Unlike a property tax bill, the way the City collects its sales tax leaves taxpayers only vaguely aware of what the City takes from them. There's not exactly an itemized annual bill presented where the taxpayer can see the money flow out.

Needless to say, sales taxes are also very regressive. Poorer (and often younger) persons pay a higher percentage of their money in tax than others. I'm sorry but the poor must spend all of their money on life's necessities.

Finally, I would think the City would reflect that a significant portion of the population is outside Lawrence 2 or more days a week (Topeka, Olathe, OP, etc.). This sales tax idea will never produce the revenues projected because its quite easy for a commuter on their way home from, say, Topeka to stop and buy groceries before they hit the road. As to larger ticket items such as vehicles, the City shouldn't fool itself there either - have they ever heard that autos are sold in MISSOURI?

bige1030 8 years, 10 months ago

That's terrible...to raise the sales tax. If the voters do that, I'm not staying after I graduate. I once wanted to do so, but if it's going to cost more to live here...well, maybe not!

Jayhawk226 8 years, 10 months ago

bige1030-- I'm surprised you've stuck it out at KU this long, considering they have raised tuition and fees on your every year for the past 4 years. Not sure what year of studies you are entering...but expenses outta your pocket should be nothing new in Lawrence, whether a homeowner, business owner or student.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

"Say goodbye to the car dealships in Lawrence. 1% is $100 on a $10k purchase, which would be $300 on a $30k purchase. I'd drive to Tongie or Topeka to save that much on my next car."

Sorry, thanks to Governor Sebelius' brilliant sales tax revision her first year in office, your city sales tax follows you wherever you go in the state.

You can run, but you can't hide.

The only thing you can do to lower your tax rate, regardless of where you purchase your car, is to move to a city with a lower sales tax rate.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Actually, even if you purchase your vehicle out of state, you still have to pay the sales tax applicable for the city where the car will be garaged.

Again, you can run to Missouri to buy your car, but you still pay Lawrence sales tax.

Lucky for Lawrence.

lunacydetector 8 years, 10 months ago

why not cut taxes and grow our community? there is always a surplus when taxes get cut because people get to keep their money and spend it. it is a proven theory that creates surplus.

they still need to cut the fat, however. stop with the fancy quad cab 4X4's.

on another note: did you know that bicycle riding causes global warming? seems people who bicycle ride live longer thus creating more pollution during their lifetime than normal people and their longevity causes global warming.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

Common_cents:

I agree that Austin hippies do have their poo together. I moved from the People's Republic of Lawrence to the People's Republic of Austin a year ago and got "I thought I knew what liberal meant" whiplash. Their structure may be big-local-business-friendly, but that's an outgrowth of the fact that when it was about half this size, it was small-local-business-protectionist (my sister went to school here 20 years ago, when it was a sleepy little college city that also happened to be the state capitol), and those local businesses grew and took Austin with them (I remember coming here for shopping trips, when the UT tower and Dobie Hall stood out as 'really tall buildings'). Lawrence's problem is that it doesn't get the idea between being local-business-friendly and just business-friendly, so it goes back and forth between the "let's make it Johnson County West" crowd and the "Let's put up a moat" crowd.

My post was in response to luny's (predictably) incorrect blanket statement that 'liberal communities are going teets up(sic)'. I was pretty accustomed to the level of liberalism in Lawrence. Austin puts Lawrence in its upstart faux liberal place. In one district in Austin, for example, when there was a gay marriage vote, a ban on gay marriage got something like eight votes. Not eight percent of the vote. Eight votes out of thousands opposing the ban.

I think that establishes this city's credibility as pretty darn liberal. We have a higher tax rate than much of the state (though that whole 'no tax on groceries' thing totally rocks) and there's no shortage of social programming, public transportation, and environmental restriction. For example, for all the 'pro-business' structure, AMD's new plant had to be incredibly strictly designed and will have to have massively expensive controls in place, because it's in an aquifer recharge zone. It cost them years of legal battles to even be allowed to build it; they actually responded by putting in controls over and above those required, to demonstrate good faith to the community. Huge swaths of the city are closed to developers, because they're designated as green space.

Liberal governments can be incredibly effective, contrary to luny's (predictably incorrect) assertion, and I was just pointing out to him that the problem isn't that Lawrence has too many liberal sensibilities, it's that Lawrence has a split personality when it comes to managing its growth.

cutny 8 years, 10 months ago

Macon, nice post, though I think your water per gallon math might be off just a bit. Sigmund, I agree with you as well. To me, it's not the penny, it's the principle of the quick fix.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

ShockerWildcat:

Although I vehemently oppose a trafficway through the Haskell Wetlands, the trafficway is a state project, not a city project. And its completion will do next to nothing to relieve traffic on most city streets.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

"Liberal governments can be incredibly effective, contrary to luny's (predictably incorrect) assertion, and I was just pointing out to him that the problem isn't that Lawrence has too many liberal sensibilities, it's that Lawrence has a split personality when it comes to managing its growth."

No, it is that Lawrence has too many incompetents on the city commission and on its appointed boards.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

"Although I vehemently oppose a trafficway through the Haskell Wetlands, the trafficway is a state project, not a city project. "

It is a state project that the city commission opposes, officially, and is doing everything it can to obstruct.

lunacydetector 8 years, 10 months ago

badger, being in the state of Texas doesn't hurt matters for Austin.

From the Austin Texas website: Texas is one of only a handful of states with NO individual income tax. There is NO corporate income tax.

The State of Texas offers a variety of incentive programs designed to make capital more available for businesses looking to expand or locate in the state, as well as for companies already doing business in Texas. Committed to retaining its "business friendly" reputation, Texas stands ready to help businesses expand, and become globally competitive.

There is a reason why the Austin business community includes such famous names as IBM, Applied Materials, Advanced Micro Devices, Samsung, 3M, Freescale, Tokyo Electron and others. We worked hard to get them here. The city, the counties, the region and the state-government, community and business leaders-rallied to attract these businesses. We are ready to do so again and the incentives available for investment and job creation are competitive with peer regions anywhere in the nation.

like comparing apples to oranges. cut the sales taxes in lawrence. if it wasn't for the conservative texans, austin wouldn't be what it is today.

now tell me about new york city and bankruptcy. tax and spending doesn't work.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

Godot, if they'd make up their minds on a coherent plan with simple action items (read, 'action items that don't require lofty pie-in-the-sky redesigns of large chunks of the city'), then the crazy whiplash of 'give this company a huge tax break and then spend insane amounts of money fighting that one and then allocate millions of dollars for road improvements and then spend it on roundabouts and then set up a public transportation system and then organize it badly so that some buses are overcrowded (East Lawrence to E. Hills Bus Park at shift change) and all the other buses run around town mostly empty and then put money into new neighborhoods and then fight the roads needed to alleviate congestion going to those neighborhoods' might end.

If there were an actual 'this is where we want to be in ten years and the actual intelligent proactive steps we're going to take to get there' plan, then it would be fine. Instead, what happens is that they make a plan, and then when something like a tax increase, a new road, or a development faces some opposition, they scrap that part without thinking about the effect that will have on the plan as a whole, then get confused as to why their plan doesn't work. It's like they can't make up their minds whether to be slaves to public opinion or immune to it.

lunacydetector 8 years, 10 months ago

badger, being in the state of Texas doesn't hurt matters for Austin.

From the Austin Texas website: Texas is one of only a handful of states with NO individual income tax. There is NO corporate income tax.

The State of Texas offers a variety of incentive programs designed to make capital more available for businesses looking to expand or locate in the state, as well as for companies already doing business in Texas. Committed to retaining its "business friendly" reputation, Texas stands ready to help businesses expand, and become globally competitive.

There is a reason why the Austin business community includes such famous names as IBM, Applied Materials, Advanced Micro Devices, Samsung, 3M, Freescale, Tokyo Electron and others. We worked hard to get them here. The city, the counties, the region and the state-government, community and business leaders-rallied to attract these businesses. We are ready to do so again and the incentives available for investment and job creation are competitive with peer regions anywhere in the nation.

like comparing apples to oranges. cut the sales taxes in lawrence. if it wasn't for the conservative texans, austin wouldn't be what it is today.

now tell me about new york city and bankruptcy. tax and spending doesn't work.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 10 months ago

When there is to tax base, the only options available are to have high taxes or no services. Kansas is about to go the way of Mississippi. We need to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to bring emerging markets businesses to Kansas. If we had more commerce and better wages, we'd have the tax base we need to pay for our services.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

Hey, luny - if what you say is true, then why didn't AMD put its new plant in San Antonio instead of spending extra millions to design an environmentally friendly plant in a city with higher taxes? Why not Dallas, like TI?

Austin did work hard to get and keep those businesses. But it didn't sacrifice liberal ideals like social welfare, environmental protection, and good working conditions to do it. Do you deny Austin's cred as a liberal city? If it's just being in Texas, then why is Austin getting these companies instead of San Antonio (a very conservative pro-business city), Houston (also a very conservative pro-business city), or Dallas (need I even say it's a conservative pro-business city?)?

Your blanket assertion that liberal government can't be good for a city's growth is still just flat wrong. There were plenty of very pro-business conservative cities in Texas where Samsung could have expanded its operations and gotten all those benefits of being in Texas you credit with Austin's success. For some reason, they chose our little hippie heaven. I wonder why that's so? Perhaps because the quality of life in Austin, with its parks and its culture and its great downtown and its highly active community, is better than a city like Dallas that would have required fewer environmental restrictions and had lower taxes.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

Reality_Check:

You know, outside perspective can actually be handy. If Lawrence could do what Austin did, encourage high-tech, high-dollar industry to move there by providing a tech-friendly, geek-friendly environment, you'd get a freaking tax base and wouldn't have to pay insane property and sales taxes to support social and environmental programming.

I said this when I lived in Lawrence, and I'm saying it now from seven hundred miles away. I'll keep saying it, because OldEnuf is right: unless you all start working to get real growth industry businesses moving into Lawrence, you're doomed to be Mississippi.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Badger, Austin is a traffic nightmare, or at least it was a few months ago when I was there. I don't wish that on Lawrence.

BD711 8 years, 10 months ago

The hippies that help elect these idiots don't care. As long as they can still grow their grass and buy everything at the Farmers Market, they probably won't even realize it has happened.

Horatio Bfor 8 years, 10 months ago

If Lawrence increases the sales tax, businesses will move. My business is one of these that will move. Not right away, but it will happen. Many of my customers travel from outside of Lawrence. The increase may not be much, but the customers will pay attention to sales tax if it is the highest rate in the state.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

Things are not all roses in Texas-- this link is from a state government website, and it gives you an indication of what life is like with a government owned and operated by and for big business.

http://www.window.state.tx.us/comptrol/wwstand/wwstand.html

dviper 8 years, 10 months ago

NO new or increased taxes. Do not vote for anyone who supports new or increased taxes.

In reply to bozo posting at 10:20 am today.

As usual bozo is wrong again. Growth does pay for itself; it just doesn't pay for everything that Bozo wants. Developers already pay for all new streets and infrastructure, but Bozo thinks developers should pay for all new schools, fire stations, city parks, new water treatment plants, new sanitary sewer treatment plants, and the list goes on. With this type of mentality, we should just let the developers build private cities seeing that they would be paying for everything anyway. Oh:. but could you imagine the tantrum bozo and his PLC pals would go into over something like that.

The interesting thing is this private city would be managed and operated far better than any public city at probably half the cost. Therefore, taxes would be lower, the infrastructure would be maintained properly and the management and administration employees would be high caliber business people running an effective and efficient private city. No slackers, clowns or cronies would be allowed.

So to put things straight, decades of growth has paid for itself and generated several millions of dollars year after year in property taxes and sales taxes that have been squandered by too many politicians both past and present that have the same or similar ideology as the 3 PLC commissioners.

As far as bozo's claim that infrastructure is being built on the cheap is another falsehood. All roads and infrastructure projects are meticulously reviewed and approved by the city. The city inspects each stage of construction on the job site to ensure it is built to city approved codes. So, if bozo can prove his allegations I would like to know exactly where in the city this infrastructure is, so that we can fire the inspectors, supervisors, and managers who passed the inspections. More likely than not, the infrastructure is probably failing due to very poor or complete lack of maintenance by the city.

Of course bozo will not have any specifics, seeing that bozo just likes to make things up.

Deferring basic maintenance - That was your PLC pal's who came up with deferring money from street maintenance last year. I guess you just conveniently forgot that fact.

Finally, the majority of Lawrencians want the SLT built. It will save millions of dollars to the taxpayers in fuel (not being burned up sitting through 12+ stop lights), and our city street maintenance of 23rd. Building through the Baker damned up and flooded farmland is only opposed by a small vocal minority of people like bozo. They would rather waste hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a much more expensive SLT that goes south of the Wakarusa river and through a real wetland area.

As another saying goes, "Get out of the way, or get run over".

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

"but Bozo thinks developers should pay for all new schools, fire stations, city parks, new water treatment plants, new sanitary sewer treatment plants, and the list goes on. "

If they don't pay for the new infrastructure they require, then the developments don't pay for themselves. It's really that simple, your unsuppported assertions notwithstanding. Is the money for this infrastructure just supposed to appear out of nowhere otherwise?

In the article that described the condition of the city's roads, it was noted that it is only a recent development that new roads are built with heavy, concrete bases designed to last several decades.

conservative 8 years, 10 months ago

Bozo, you know even less about economics than you do about infrastructure. Please do us all a favor and follow your own advice, just write "filbert" when you want to post but are in over your head.

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 10 months ago

Since Lawrence already seems into naming or renaming streets after people, why not allow people to "buy" a street and have it named after them? Within reason, of course. Can't go all crazy and rename our state-named streets; they're part of Lawrence history. With all the development in Lawrence, people could pay a certain amount to have a new, unnamed street, cul-de-sac, etc. after themselves, a relative, whomever. Others could have extentions of roads named after them (such as 15th turning in Bob Billings). It's a form of the streets paying for the street upkeep.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

Jersey_Girl:

I'm behind that. I'd pay a good bit of money to have the creepy industrial stretch of North 2nd Street renamed Marauding Badger Parkway.

Right now, I live not terribly far from 'Oliver Loving Lane' and it makes me giggle every time I drive by it. Street names should exist to provide amusement and puns.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

"If they don't pay for the new infrastructure they require, then the developments don't pay for themselves. It's really that simple, your unsuppported assertions notwithstanding. Is the money for this infrastructure just supposed to appear out of nowhere otherwise?"

Then the developers should incorporate their own subdivisions, make their own separate governing entities.

For that matter, I think Lawrence should be split in two, anyway.

West Lawrence and Old Lawrence, split down the middle by Iowa.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

The majority of the CC may be opposed to old old obsolete trafficway plan that does not meet the needs of today the majority of the CC has never stated nor are they opposed to a bypass that will serve the needs of the future.

bige1030 8 years, 10 months ago

Jayhawk226 - I've stuck it out for 4 years and I'm going to enter my last semester of studies this fall. I'm graduating in December, and then who knows what...a hopefully high-paying dead-end job or what not in KC (no hope for that in Lawrence). I was thinking about commuting to/from Lawrence, but maybe not, especially if the taxes are raised here. Ten more dollars per thousand spent doesn't sound like a good thing.

Jayhawk226 8 years, 10 months ago

bige1030--From one alum to a soon-to-be alum...congrats and Rock Chalk!

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

bige1030 wrote: "Ten more dollars per thousand spent doesn't sound like a good thing."

And to have "ten more dollars" to spend on taxes, you have to earn nearly $12 or more, depending on your tax bracket.

This whole attitude of "its just 1% more" really baffles me.

7.65% social security 5% state tax anywhere from 0% to 37% federal tax

That is all taken out of your paycheck before you get to spend your money and pay your 8.3% sales tax.

Now we will also pay an additional tax on electricity, gas, phone and cable.

And higher water utitility rates.

And fees to use city and county property.

And, of course personal property tax on our cars and business property.

Then if you own a house or a business, you pay anywere from 11.5 to 23 per cent property tax.

If you feel like you can't make ends meet, don't blame the employers, blame your government for taking so much of your hard-earned money.

nbnozzy 8 years, 10 months ago

I think for the necessary infrastructure that raising the sales tax up to 8% is okay, so let's do a .7%

Now, let's NOT allow the rediculous $250,000 more for David Corliss and his wanting to double the size of his department. Talk about waste.

AND, NO to Boog and his cronies who want to be paid at least $10,000 per year. The job of city commisioner is one of service to the community, not a paid position.

If only we could have a re-incarnate of Bufford Watson. Remember when Lawrence was run like it was supposed to?

This is the worst city commision (as a whole) and city interim manager I've seen.

Please folks, in the next election, vote for business friendly candidates. The Progressive Regime needs to be booted.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

"If only we could have a re-incarnate of Bufford Watson. Remember when Lawrence was run like it was supposed to?"

How could we forget-- Amyx just proposed a new increase in sales taxes to pay for it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

"Bozo, you know even less about economics than you do about infrastructure."

I must admit I'm not a graduate of the Free Lunch School of Economics.

dviper 8 years, 10 months ago

Bozo,

You seem to have a fascination with money, especially other people's money.

You are always bitching and moaning about who is going to pay for something, except when it comes to your pet projects like roundabouts, land for green space, a new library, more bike lanes, flowers for downtown, wider sidewalks and pedestrian bridges. It's time for you and your PLC pals and supporters to pay (with non-public funds) for 100% of your pet projects and their on-going costs year to year.

Another thing you and your PLC pals are always complaining about is affordable housing. Yet at the same time you want to restrict development, raise development fees, raise taxes and create new taxes that only further increases new housing prices and raises appraised values of existing homes all over the city.

You PLC guys can't even get out of your own way:.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

I think we should turn waste collections over to private companies-- maybe Tony Soprano is interested?

Or maybe we should just have MTV make the department into a reality TeeVee show. We need a few hot babes on those trucks to improve the view, anyway.

lunacydetector 8 years, 10 months ago

was bufford watson REALLY that great? i thought he was belligerent then they named a park after him.....there are stories i've heard as well, but they are only stories....

anonimiss 8 years, 10 months ago

"Posted by just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) on July 27, 2006 at 10:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

For all the belt-tightening suggestions here, the problem isn't roundabouts or arts programs. The problem is decades of growth that doesn't pay for itself, and sweeping that little fact under the rug by building roads and other infrastructure on the cheap and deferring basic maintenance-- till now.

As the saying goes-- you can pay now, or you can pay later. Later is now."

Really? http://www.lawrenceks.org/policies/develop.htm

Developers pay: 100% of new streets 100% of street widening 75% of sidewalks 100% of sewers 100% of water mains 100% of fire hydrants 100% road signs Adopted 1994

Seems to me that the city has a blank check when the roads, sewers, and water lines are first built and messed up by not planning for growth.

lunacydetector 8 years, 10 months ago

this is JW classic: "The Lawrence law firm of Knox, Johnson, Rockwell & Babbit has added attorneys Mark Rockwell and Kevin Babbit."

dviper 8 years, 10 months ago

Logicsound04

Your logic is very un-sound. You said, "Do you remember when privatization was all the rage in the early part of this century? That got us monopolies of all kinds-"

I remember only a very very few large monopolies in the last 100 years of US history. The last one I remember to be broken up by the federal government was AT&T. So can you name the companies your ranting about, and explain how it was a blight? Even if you could, your points would be irrelevant, because we have a global economy today, instead of a largely national economy as in the early 1900's, and tremendous amounts of competition.

Something else you should be aware of:. Some of the very few monopolies that did exist in the early part of this century and were split up into several individual companies are being put back together again through M&A activity like AT&T and Exxon Mobil (old parts of Standard Oil).

There are numerous monopolies on locals level, like Sunflower Broadband which are supported and many times protected by local governments. So does your blight statement apply to them?

And lastly, why do liberal-types like you always reduce the debate to "public is always better than private?".

Who is the largest funders of charities? Answer: Private Sector Companies. Maybe you should re-think your snipy remark about altruism?

I'd rather private companies and individuals decide for themselves on funding chartiable organizations or social services than to have politicians squander hard earned taxpayer money, and then decide they need more so they raise taxes or create new taxes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

"Developers pay: 100% of new streets 100% of street widening 75% of sidewalks 100% of sewers 100% of water mains 100% of fire hydrants 100% road signs Adopted 1994"

But, of course, additional needs for fire and police protection, schools, additional capacity for sewer treatment, libraries, swimming pools, recreation, hospitals, etc and so on are all free-- that's what they teach in the Free Lunch School of Economics, anyway.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

But, bozo, the new residents will be paying the same property taxes as the existing residents, and thus providing funds to maintain the services that are required. A developer can't build a house if the neighborhood has no water or power. The water and power are required for him to do his business, so it makes sense that he should fund the infrastructure.

But once the house is occupied, it needs services, so it makes sense that the new owners will pay for those services out of the increase in their taxes. If a new neighborhood school or fire station is needed, wouldn't the proportional increase in sales and property taxes from the additional home sales be the place to look - getting the money directly from those who will benefit from the services?

I'm all for developers paying the costs necessary for them to build and sell houses in an area, but not for sticking them with the full funding of residence in that area. People want to move someplace, they need to understand that they'll be funding the services that exist for them.

We don't, for example, suggest that a developer should pay the water and power bills for the residents who move into the neighborhoods they build; the residents pay them because they use them.

dviper 8 years, 10 months ago

No Bozo - that's what you learned in the "How to be a new age Liberal / Communist", or in terms familiar to Lawrencians "How to be a PLC supporter".

lunacydetector 8 years, 10 months ago

when are WE going to stop subsidizing the downtown bozo? look at the infrastructure costs going on today down massachusetts street. who is paying for this very expensive upgrade? if there was more retail development in other parts of town, we wouldn't be jacking up the tax rate.

the downtown is one the biggest drains on this city. compare the sales taxes generated downtown to every other commercial part of lawrence. let's see who is paying for what? of course the downtown goes down in flames as a competitive comparison.

i notice that your example has everything in a plural form - like librar(ies), and pool(s), and hospital(s). we have one library with a proposed replacement costing $70 MILLION being located DOWNTOWN. we have one pool located DOWNTOWN, and we have one city owned hospital located damn close to the DOWNTOWN - the private hospital out west was run out of town by the city.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Bozo, the only "needs" you list are police protection, and sewer treatment. Those should easily be covered by the property tax and current sales tax.

Schools and libraries should be funded by the School District, not the city.

Recreation, parks, "(meaning arts center, low cost mental health services, golf course, the T, art downtown, free sewer hookups for downtown businesses, free advertising for downtown businesses, free internet (proposed) free homeless housing (proposed)providing low cost loans to help people purchase houses,) - those are all "wants." I invite others to list more "wants" to that list.

The "wants" are the services that "growth" does not pay for. Yet, when it comes to building a budget, the Commission funds the wants with existing tax dollars, and asks for additional money to fund the needs.

The Lawrence economy would be much healthier if the city government were not using tax dollars to undercut private enterprise in areas where government does not have to operate.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, hit "post" too soon. I left out "etc" just before "meaning arts center....)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

It would be more accurate for you to list those as "don't wants." Perhaps you would be more content living in a third-world country that provides no amenities for anybody but the few millionaires who run the country.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

"Schools and libraries should be funded by the School District, not the city."

They get funded from the same source as city services, so distinguishing between them is pointless.

tkmoore 8 years, 10 months ago

why does this town seem to be out of money all the time? let me think about this is it because we waste ALOT! or that the jobs we have are low paying no just give tax breaks to the 9.00 and hour job that will fix IT! GET A LIFE CITY HALL CUT THE BUGET AND LIVE WITH IT the services i see are not that good anyway. Keep the taxes going up and nobody will want to live here!

KsTwister 8 years, 10 months ago

KU does have an accessible library. Still if any council members would care to make some sacrifices for the sake of the people who wish to remain in this town maybe you can keep your tax base from moving out (like the jobs they need to pay your stupid taxes). Here are a few ideas(again):Eliminate $20k per downtown building for sprinkler systems. Eliminate 90k per year for downtown flower budget Downsize the Recreation Fund, with authorized expenditures of $3,378,792 Eliminate the The Special Gas Tax Fund with authorized expenditures of $2,866,371 because it is not being used to improve streets and curbs anyway. And what are we paying annually for all the art scultures-2% of the annual buget! Pull the $600k out the legal fund and keep your nose out of un-winable lawsuits.I'm sure there are more but if you haven't heard us by now it is because you won't.Which is only good until election time.

Jay_Z 8 years, 10 months ago

Bozo, your name is fitting. Sure, let's have the developers pay for fire stations, libraries, pools, parks, etc. Pure liberal insanity. Like one poster said already, the taxes paid by the people moving into new developments should be more than enough to cover the fire stations, parks, etc.

Using bozo logic, no more homeless people. They do not pay for themselves. No more emp-T bus system--it does not pay for itself.

classclown 8 years, 10 months ago

"...In one district in Austin, for example, when there was a gay marriage vote, a ban on gay marriage got something like eight votes. Not eight percent of the vote. Eight votes out of thousands opposing the ban.

I think that establishes this city's credibility as pretty darn liberal."

=======================================

Or pretty darn gay.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Bozo wrote:"They get funded from the same source as city services, so distinguishing between them is pointless."

Hmmmmm. I wonder what the school board, and the Kansas legislature, even the Ks Supreme Court, would have to say about that.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Bozo wrote" Perhaps you would be more content living in a third-world country that provides no amenities for anybody but the few millionaires who run the country."

It takes a millionaire to pay for his own taxi, his own gym membership, his own walk around the block, his own scratch ball game, his own round of golf, his own psycotherapy?

Maybe so, when, in Lawrence, the average wage earner loses 20 to 30 per cent of her or his earnings to pay for the amenities that only a few use.

My guess is that the citizens of Lawrence would prefer to be taxed less, and then CHOOSE TO PAY for the amenities in which they CHOOSE to participate.

I, for one, do not golf, so Eagle Bend is unimportant to me. I, for one, choose to pay for my own physical recreation activities, I belong to a fitness club and go for walks; I, for one, pay the county to register the auto that I bought, and I, for one, pay the tax on the gas that I use, so I, for one, do not need the T; if my car were broken, or if I could not drive, I, for one, would hire a cab; I, for one, contribute to a community theatre, so I actually am perplexed why I have to be taxed to support a competing, publicly funded community theatre;

Why do I need to be taxed to provide the city with funds to operate "businesses" that have a distinct advantage in that they are not expected to operate profitably, and, even then, receive many services free and receive public funding?

All the amenities I mentioned above are available to the public, made available by people and organizations who are willing to take a risk, but who are in competition with the city.

This is not right.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

"20 to 30 per cent of her or his earnings to pay for the amenities that only a few use."

It's statements like these that insure that your posts have zero credibility.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Bozo wrote: ""20 to 30 per cent of her or his earnings to pay for the amenities that only a few use."

It's statements like these that insure that your posts have zero credibility."

I have figured it out. Bozo doesn't earn a paycheck, and, therefore, has not seen a paystub lately. Probably doesn't own property, or even a car, either. Otherwise, you would not have made that statement.

Sigmund 8 years, 10 months ago

This isn't so much about tax rates as it is about tax revenues. How much additional tax revenues would we have if the new WalMart wasn't illegally delayed? How much tax revenues would have been gained if bars and resturaunts were able to maximize their sales and profits by allowing them to make their own business decisions on smoking or non-smoking? How much sales tax revenues will be lost in the future because of the new "Retail Store Czar" who will decide if new businesses should, or should not, be allowed to open?

In case you missed my point, SALES TAX REVENUES are related to SALES! If businesses were allowed to maximise their sales they will automagically maximise the City's sales tax revenues. They are kind of tied together that way.

The PLC has baked us a no-growth pie full of frivolous projects and hostility to business, and now they want a bigger slice? I don't think so. Along with the three City Kommissioners who will be up for election add this sales tax increase to the ballot, then we will see what is what.

But the PLC are cowards and that is unlikely to happen. Of all the things I said in my first post, the one thing that NOBODY disagreed or took issue with, in over 100 comments, was this, " ... the Socialistic Fascist Lunacy that is the Lawrence City Kommission." Apparently it's the one thing everyone agrees on.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

"They are paid for by the property owners who buy the houses built by the developers. "

And everyone else in town is hit with a tax increase to help pay the school bonds for the upfront construction costs, which are NOT covered in the purchase price of homes in new developments.

Yep, you're magna cum laude in the Free Lunch School of Economics, Pilgrim.

"I have figured it out. Bozo doesn't earn a paycheck, and, therefore, has not seen a paystub lately. "

You follow that last bit of flawed facts and reasoning with an ad hominem attack based on more flawed facts and reasoning.

You're killing me, Godot.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

The rate at which residential property is taxed is a reduced rate. This prevents residential property from "paying for itself". So far as I know this is customary and not unique to Lawrence. Commercial, light industrial and industrial make up the difference.

So lets say Wal-Mart wants to put a grocery at the west sixth location which drives Dillons and/or HyVee out of business. Wal-Mart would need to not only generate what a city expects, Wal-Mart would also need to make up the difference that Dillons and HyVee are currently generating plus their respective payrolls which would include retirement and medical benefits. Easily Lawrence could expect a net loss in revenue and a hit on social services(tax dollars). Lawrence taxpayers cannot afford to lose one single large commerical vendor. Every new store front must be a total net gain.

Once residential infrastructure is in it becomes the responsibility of the taxpayers for maintenance and Lawrence cannot wait until a water main breaks. Projected maintenance costs start day one thus increased budgets.

The larger the city gets more staff and equipment become necessary to deal with the pothole complainers and those who expect six or more inches of snow off the roads by next morning rush hour. Not to mention other every day activities.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

"Bozo wrote: "I have figured it out. Bozo doesn't earn a paycheck, and, therefore, has not seen a paystub lately. "

You follow that last bit of flawed facts and reasoning with an ad hominem attack based on more flawed facts and reasoning.

You're killing me, Godot."

Ad hominem attack? I thought you would consider that a badge of honor.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Merrill wrote: "So lets say Wal-Mart wants to put a grocery at the west sixth location which drives Dillons and/or HyVee out of business. "

What is the difference between that and the city operating a golf course and a bus service and a recreation program that competes with local businesses? At least Walmart has to make a profit, and has to pay taxes. The CITY has to do NONE of these.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 10 months ago

Is it accurate to state, then, that the posters here today overwhelmingly oppose the idea of trading property taxes for sales taxes? There is shockingly little discussion of the balance Amyx is trying to achieve here, only blind opposition to taxes as a whole. What ever happened to discussing the merits of an idea? You know, civil political discourse.

I am dubious that, were the Commission to authorize this tax, that it would bring Lawrence, KS to a screeching halt. We have the highest cost of living in Kansas, KU has the highest tuition rate in the State...yet the city has been showing, at worst, a steady rate of population and most years strong growth.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

Wilbur_Nether wrote: "Is it accurate to state, then, that the posters here today overwhelmingly oppose the idea of trading property taxes for sales taxes? There is shockingly little discussion of the balance Amyx is trying to achieve here, only blind opposition to taxes as a whole. What ever happened to discussing the merits of an idea?"

Our experience with the City of Lawrence is that they will promise to reduce taxes, or sunset them, and then "forget" the promise.

If Amyx would offer an ordinance that required a 5 mill decrease that would remain in effect for a minimum of 10 years, and would require a majority vote of the public to increase after that time, then maybe that would be worth considering.

However, we know that property tax increases do not require a public vote, that they are available to city government "as needed" to meet "budgetary requirements."

So, you see, dear Wilbur, we do not trust this proposal, because it can neither be trusted, nor verified.

jayhawks71 8 years, 10 months ago

JLoh, I agree wholeheartedly with your first line. 10 years is enough time for most citizens to forget that there was a sunset clause. However, the claim that "urban liberals" are somehow solely responsible for taking people's money through taxation is laughable. I doubt anyone would consider ALL governments to be "urban liberals" and ALL governments take your money are apportion them as they see fit. "liberals" tend to take and give it to "social projects"; "conservatives" take it and give it to the army to run roughshod over the world in "the name of democracy!" However, typically liberals steal the money from you now; conservatives mortgage the future by borrowing and forcing you to not only pay for their pet projects, but also the interest from borrowing.

lunacydetector 8 years, 10 months ago

..lest we forget, the school bond was finally passed on the second try by the voters and after a huge p.r. campaign. of course the enrollments had decreased but it didn't matter.

jayhawks71 8 years, 10 months ago

Pilgrim, talk about laughable. Federal deficit increased 350 billion a year under Bush I, 180 billion a year under Clinton and 500 billion a year under Bush, Jr. You tell me who did more borrowing.

Oh and by the way, I believe you ultimately made my point. Democrats AND Republicans both steal your money. It is just that Republicans give tax breaks while they borrow to offset the breaks; the Dems just tax you.

As for a "strong military" I am for a "solid defense" not an aggressive military that invades sovreign nations and certainly not in retaliation for the actions of another organization! You spend your money on wars of aggression, I will pony up for a "solid defense" while I keep my portion that is going to pay for Iraq, deal?

Look at the failures of government. I think that a change is in order. Perhaps a libertarian solution could do no worse than the revolving door we (well some people) call "democracy." (which it isn't by the way, but that is beside the point.)

lawrencephilosopher 8 years, 10 months ago

OVER SPEND + TAX = LIBERAL LIBERALS ARE KILLING LAWRENCE

lawrencephilosopher 8 years, 10 months ago

News update (July 28th 2006) EP Wire service: Lawrence died today. Arrangements will be announced.

PointofView 8 years, 10 months ago

Raising taxes is always an immediate 'quick fix' that seems to typically fail on the long run. First, is this tax proposal going to help cover the 'failed to make a profit' golf course by Clinton Lake that was pushed through as 'family entertainment'? I don't believe as often as I drive by there that I see too many children out there (well those under the age of 10 anyway) this project got dumped on the tax payers to pay for those who enjoy golf -

The city needs to 'really' focus on drawing new businesses in to encourage economic growth and maybe a few jobs that don't demand somebody have a master's degree to answer telephones at $7.00 an hour part time. This area is out of control with taxes, property, personal and other.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

There is no simple solution to the fact that residential growth doesn't pay for itself. But the fact remains that it still has to be paid for (despite contentions to the contrary from graduates of the Free Lunch School of Economics.)

Presently, the city commission is looking for ways to pay for that growth, including the proposed increase in the sales tax.

So all of you who worship the God of Growth, quit pissing and moaning about having to tythe to satisfy His hunger.

dviper 8 years, 10 months ago

It's pointless to have a discussion with Bozo and his PLC pals, because they don't understand even the basic foundation and principles of Economics, Business or U.S. Government.

Bozo and his PLC pals probably have lived off the generosity of hard working American taxpayers all their lives and don't know anything except that government social welfare programs should support them and all their whims. They hate Americans who are successful and are bettering themselves and their families, and therefore want to tax, tax, tax them to death and then even after death tax the estate at 75%.

Americans are sick of paying higher and higher taxes, and don't trust politicians at any level (local, state, federal) who want to raise taxes.

Mayor Amyx, why are you pushing the PLC agenda? I thought you were smarter than that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

dviper:

You don't make your case very effectively by a very shallow attack on my "understanding of economics," expecially since my understanding is obviously much more sophisticated and in-depth than your own.

But for the record, I don't support an increase in the sales tax. The state should dramatically reduce both sales taxes and property taxes by replacing them with an increase in a progressive income tax, and share that with cities and counties.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

The argument that extending the reduction in estate taxes is only for the very rich is another liberal red herring.

If the EGGTRA is not extended, it will expire in 2011, and the exemption will go back to what it was in 1999, which was $600,000.

By that time, most baby boomers, including the professionals (such as college professors and administrators) will have amassed estates of more than $600,000, thanks to the increase in real estate values, life insurance, and retirement savings.

If something is not done by Congress, the estates that hundreds of thousands of ordinary, working baby boomers, who invested and saved their whole lives and who have been hoping to pass on their life's earnings to their children and grandchildren will, instead, largely be confiscated by the government.

Reverting the estate tax to what it was in 1999 is exactly what the Democrat party wants to do for you and yours. They are pulling the class envy card to get you to believe that what they plan will only affect those nasty rich people, but, as usual, they mislead. It will affect the ordinary boomers, too.

This is the way a Democrat government will get its claws on those billions, maybe even trillions, of dollars that employees have been "sheltering" in their homes and their 401-k's, 457's, IRA's, SEPS, and 403(b) retirement accounts.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

Hey, bozo?

I have a question (since you ignored my last post):

Let's hypothesize you hit the developers for the full cost of the improvments required for the new development, including developing a contingency fund to cover the police and fire services until the neighborhood is at full tax occupancy. Where will those costs go?

Won't they go into the cost of the house? And if those houses get more expensive, suddenly the 'average' cost of an X-bedroom house in Lawrence Kansas jumps ten percent, and the formulas used to calculate property values which might take into account the 'average' cost of a house in Lawrence Kansas adjust accordingly, what will happen to city housing values? Or, what if those prices go up and then people say, "225 grand? For that I can buy a bigger house over on the other side of town that's 20 years old and has established trees!" and then the seller across town has four offers instead of one, so he sells his house for more than he might have otherwise, driving housing values in his neighborhood up and increasing all his neighbors' property taxes? No matter what, passing those costs on to developers won't affect the developers; it will just cause the exact same tax hike in a roundabout manner when they make them 'pass-thru' costs to keep the profit margin the same.

And if you think that people will balk at the increased cost of moving to Lawrence, then you haven't seen what people will pay for a thin-walled four-BR POS baby-tree tract house in some of those developments.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

"it will just cause the exact same tax hike in a roundabout "

Yep, that's what they want it for. :)

Kelly Powell 8 years, 10 months ago

my parent and existing grandparent have both discussed with me what my siblings and myself can expect from their estates when they die.....By no means is it 600,000 k ......saying that Why have an estate tax instead of a revised capitol gains tax? even if they heirs are bequeathed the moneys before the death of the estate owner they would pay the CG tax....Also 75% seems a ridiculous sum, no matter what the estate is worth.......Hell the CG PERCENTAGE MAKES MY SPHINCTER PUCKER.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

If you receive the property through your grandparents' estate, there is a "step up in basis," meaning that the property is revalued as of the date of death.

jayhawks71 8 years, 10 months ago

Why should the government continue to tax money that has been taxed! I don't care if an estate tax results in the rich getting richer. Quit looking for handouts and crying about how unfair a tax is that "benefits" the wealthy. So what? What right do you or I have to their wealth? NONE.

Talked to an older guy in a coffee shop today; he was reading the paper and said "wow, Exxon made 10.4 billion in profit last year, can you believe that?" I said "Yeah, looks like a benefit of good business practices."

This notion that somehow the government should tax "windfall profits" is absurd. Should the government subsidize all the failing businesses, oh wait, they already do. What incentive is there to innovate when you have the government arm around your shoulder, like your buddy, while the other hand is picking your pocket? No incentive to innovate if government institutes protections for poorly run business and no incentive to innovate when your profits are going to taxes. Talk about fostering stagnation!

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 10 months ago

jayhawks71 chirped in with "Exxon made 10.4 billion in profit last year, can you believe that?" I said "Yeah, looks like a benefit of good business practices."

Plus the good fortune to be in the right business at the right time. The best business practices in the world wouldn't have achieved $10.4B if the price of oil had been falling dramatically instead of rising.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 10 months ago

Godot dotingly noted "another liberal red herring." Which caused me to wonder, what color are conservative herrings?

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 10 months ago

One of the aspects of this proposal that frustrates me is the concept of putting the continuation of the tax to the citizens for a vote. One of the reasons I vote for Commissioners is because I expect they will make decisions on my behalf. They won't always make the same decisions I would, but I understand that going in. If their decisions differ too much from mine, I vote for someone else the next time.

If I am going to vote every time a tax is proposed, or a new library, or other Commission-oriented stuff, I start wondering "why am I voting for Commissioners who pass their responsibilities down to me instead of doing the job I elected them to do?"

jayhawks71 8 years, 10 months ago

So Wilbur, I suppose when the getting is good you jump ship eh? Now that would be quite the wise business practice, wouldn't it? I guess you take for granted the process of locating, drilling, transporting, refining, and again transporting oil/fuel. Without all of those operations in place, there would be no business poised to "get lucky." As I said previously, looks like A benefit of good business practices.

The point the guy was trying to make was that somehow Exxon doesn't deserve to make such a profit. To that I say, why not? Should we penalize success? And why do people forget that a company like Exxon is publicly traded. One of you might own a piece of Exxon. People get this idea that these big companies are these entities that have no people behind them. That this huge PIT that is Exxon has money showering it, but it doesn't go to put food on the table, to buy a vehicle, to buy clothes (read: back into the economy)? Is what you really want is the ever-successful plodding governmetn to tell you how much YOU are allowed to make? Let's put an 80% tax on a company when they make a profit that YOU deem excessive? And what number would that be?

I hate paying 3 bucks for a gallon of gas just like the rest of you, but we still pay less for gas than much of the world. Go start your own doomed-to-fail communist nation if you want to stifle the market or start your own oil company and undersell everyone else; YOU can choose how little you want to make for yourself and your shareholders. Give me a break communists.

jayhawks71 8 years, 10 months ago

Wilber , your post on voting is right on, but as you probably can see, people think they live in a democracy, where everything will be done their way. Oh wait, that's not how a democracy works... the two wolves tell the sheep that they will be having him for lunch. Six tell the other five what they will do with their "windfall" profits. Heck, in that world, Al Gore wins the 2000 election.

But you know what, limit what government can do and then let them work in their small sandbox. Stop letting them take so much power.

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 10 months ago

Yup, post jumping again. Driving around Lawrence the past few days since the issue of a new sales tax hike was mentioned, I noticed how pretty much of Lawrence is, particularly those that are on city property. Perhaps if we cut back on some of the extra landscaping and stick with maintence, we could save a pretty penny. If Lawrence is having budget problems, perhaps we should cut back on beautifying it and work on maintaining it. Stop buying artwork and "sculptures" to place around town. Stop planting trees and flowers and take care of what is there. If the city is watering all their landscaping, this heat is killing the water bill. If you need some sort of repair surgery, but you didn't have the money, wouldn't you think maybe you could lay off the plastic surgery for a while and take care of the repair?

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