Here's why Wal-Mart and other retailers matter inside the walls of City Hall: 42 percent.
That percentage represents how much the city relies on sales taxes to pay the bills at City Hall. Of the $54 million general fund the city has in 2007, it is projected that 42 percent of the revenues will come in the form of people paying sales taxes. That's nearly twice the amount the city collects in property taxes.
With dollars like that at stake, keeping the city's retail market healthy has become a key issue in the City Commission election. The issue also has divided the field of six candidates into two camps.
In one camp are Commissioners Boog Highberger, David Schauner and candidate Carey Maynard-Moody. They've been preaching caution when it comes to new retail development.
In the other camp are candidates James Bush, Rob Chestnut and Mike Dever, who have expressed concern that Lawrence is losing sales tax dollars to Topeka and Kansas City because the city doesn't offer enough shopping options to keep consumers in town. They have pointed to a 2005 study commissioned by the city that shows the community is losing shoppers to Topeka and Kansas City, and that the city's retail market is not close to being overbuilt.
The general election is April 3. Voters will determine the winners of three at-large seats on the commission.
City commission race 2007
City commission race
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- Iowa Street turn-lane project voted down (03-28-07)
- Job growth picture hazy (03-28-07)
- Chamber Vision & Election 2007
- Retail stance divides field (03-27-07)
- Dever, Chestnut still hold lead in campaign finance (03-27-07)
- Candidates split on domestic registry (03-27-07)
- Outlooks on retail issues differ (03-27-07)
- Candidate survey explores potential projects(03-23-07)
- More on the 2007 City Commission race Â»