Archive for Sunday, April 29, 2007

Abatement view

April 29, 2007


To the editor:

I have to take exception to the Mark Fagan article in Tuesday's Journal-World, "Report reviews tax breaks." Aside from the fact that eight of the 14 paragraphs in the article were devoted to the rosy interpretation of the 2006 Tax Abatement Report and only three to the critical view by professor Kirk McClure, the story did not explore why the quoted PIRC members disagreed.

It seems to me the potentially most valuable information the story could have provided to Lawrence taxpayers was left untouched. I would also like to know where the other four members of PIRC stand on this issue.

My other key exception to the article is with Commissioner Mike Dever's and committee member Jason Edmonds' expressed opinions that there may be too much wage data in the report. One of the fundamental things, if not the fundamental thing, businesses contribute to a community is the wages they pay their employees. The city really needs the information to examine this issue as closely as possible. After all, a tax abatement is an investment, and because, by definition, companies that receive them aren't paying their full share of taxes, the quality of jobs they provide is about the only clear measure of the return on that investment.

To borrow Edmonds' analogy, if individual businesses are the trees, we would be well served to pay close attention to them so the unhealthy ones can be treated or removed, before we lose the whole forest to economic Dutch Elm disease.

Dennis Constance,



Richard Heckler 10 years, 12 months ago

Wages are very important. Yes if the companies are not meeting their obligation of the tax abatement then they need to pay up as was part of THEIR obligation to Lawrence taxpayers. Lawrence taxpayers cannot afford City Commissioners who will not step up and take care of business. OTHERWISE those unpaid taxes come back on the taxpayers which is equal to a tax increase.

Wages are very important to a community because those wages become tax revenue. The more people make the more they are likely to spend which generates tax revenues/user fees. The two most recent mayors decided a 1% tax increase was a first item on their agenda. The city manager also made note that tax revenues have dropped off below projections.

How can Lawrence City Commissioners afford to turn a blind eye to tax obligations not being met? It looks as though the new commission wants to raise taxes. They already have as we will note on our water bill. How many other ways will they find that does not require voter approval?

New retail throughout the city is usually required to provide adequate parking for their customers. Why are we attaching a $10 million parking package to the library? Take the lot at 8th&Vermont up and put long term affordable parking meters for downtown employees. Another level could be added at 9th and Vermont with long term meters. More parking could be added on the lot next door to Last Call again with affordable long term parking. Going under ground is quite expensive. Please choose a quality builder. NO to 1% tax increase for a $10 million parking package attached to the library.

Again new retail throughout the city is usually required to provide adequate parking for their customers. With any new retail development downtown why shouldn't additional parking be required NOT at taxpayer expense? Parking is not really free anywhere at it is likely attached to each product purchase. I do not want to pay an additional 1% tax for this parking and the library does not need $10 million dollars worth of parking.

NO to the new superdome rec center and payroll that will be attached. This is not a necessity. Yes to making companies pay up who have not met their tax abatement obligation. NO to turning a blind eye. *Yes to library improvements ON SITE at the east and west ends. Consider using existing 1 CENT sales tax to fund the improvements.

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