Archive for Sunday, October 21, 2007

City shows interest in tax

New levy on intangibles could prevent increase in sales tax

October 21, 2007


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2007 Local Intangibles Tax ( .PDF )

Compound interest.

You know, the pennies that accrue day after day, week after week on your savings account. The concept is one of the few things in life that will allow a man to make money while he walks the beach in Bermuda shorts and black socks.

Einstein was such a fan of the notion that he supposedly said "there's no force more powerful in the universe than compound interest."

A few leaders in Lawrence City Hall are beginning to believe him. At least, they're beginning to think it's powerful enough to tax.

City Hall staff members recently prepared a report detailing how the city could begin requiring residents to pay a tax on the interest they earn on savings accounts, on the dividends they receive from stocks, and from a few other "intangible assets."

A state law has been on the books since the early 1980s that allows cities, counties and townships to collect what is called an intangibles tax. More than 100 Kansas communities collect the tax. Lawrence is not one of them, but City Commissioner Boog Highberger said that might need to change.

"I think it could make our tax system fairer," Highberger said.

Highberger said he thinks an intangibles tax wouldn't hit low income residents as hard as an increase in the local sales tax rate. The thinking is higher income residents are more likely to have hefty savings accounts or dividend income from stocks or bonds.

Highberger - who spurred the staff report on the new tax - said he's not yet ready to throw his full support behind the idea. But he likes it enough that he thinks talk of increasing the local sales tax should slow down.

"At this point, I wouldn't be willing to consider a sales tax increase without first looking very seriously at this intangibles tax," Highberger said.

The basics

Here's how an intangibles tax works. The state law allows cities to charge a tax equal to 2.25 percent of the income that residents receive from savings accounts, stocks, bonds and some types of loans. For example, if you've loaned your brother-in-law money and are receiving interest payments on the loan, that could be taxable.

Businesses also could be taxed under the idea. The law allows for the tax to apply to earnings received from accounts receivable.

Some types of investments are exempt. For example, earnings from 401(k) retirement plans are exempt. Earnings from U.S. treasury bonds or Kansas municipal bonds also would be exempt.

The tax would mean city residents would have another tax form to file. The county clerk, not the state, would compute how much tax each resident owes based off of the forms filed. The county treasurer's office then would send out a tax bill by Nov. 1 of each year.

Unlike a sales tax, the intangibles tax does not require a public vote. Instead, city commissioners can simply pass an ordinance creating the tax. Residents, though, can present a protest petition that would force the issue the to a public vote.

One of the tougher items to figure out about the tax is how much money it could add to the city's coffers. Highberger said his preliminary research showed that a 1-percent intangibles tax could raise about $600,000 per year for the city.

In enacted, Lawrence would be the largest city by far in the state with the tax. In Chase County, a 0.75-percent tax generates just $6,400 per year - or about $2 per every resident in the county. In Ellsworth County, the 0.75-percent tax generated $30,000 - or about $4 per person.

City staff members said they are looking into finding more reliable revenue projections for Lawrence.

Tough sale

It is called an intangibles tax, but several community leaders aren't sure about that. They know that the tax bill residents would receive would be very much tangible.

Two city commissioners already have said they are skeptical about adding the tax to Lawrence's landscape.

"In general, I don't think it is a very good idea," City Commissioner Mike Dever said.

Dever said the tax may take some burden off the lowest of income classes, but he said it probably would hurt more people than it would help.

"I think what would happen is that it would put the burden firmly back on the middle class, which I think is already hit too hard with taxes," Dever said.

The middle class would be hit the hardest, Dever said, because the upper class would be more likely to have access to financial planners and attorneys who could structure their investments in ways that would be hidden or exempt from the tax.

City Commissioner Rob Chestnut and Dever said retirees would be hit hard by the tax. That's because many retirees use their investment earnings to pay their living expenses, and many of them have investments that aren't in 401(k) plans or other plans that are exempt from the tax.

But Chestnut said he's also concerned that the tax is an idea that hasn't taken off with virtually any large city in the state, despite it being available since the early 1980s. For example, no communities in Johnson or Shawnee counties have the tax. Of the 107 cities in the state that have the tax, none appears to be greater than 5,000 people in population. Most are less than 1,000 people in population and are in rural sections of the state.

Chestnut said he's concerned that if Lawrence becomes the first major city in the state to have the tax, that it could impact people's decision to move to the city.

"Ultimately, we have to recognize that we operate in a regional economy," Chestnut said. "I think we would have to ask questions about whether this would create issues for us that would make us less competitive."

In the mix

Without Dever or Chestnut's support, the tax could have an uphill battle getting the three votes necessary from the City Commission to become reality. But the idea still could affect discussion about enacting a new sales tax to pay for street repairs and economic development initiatives.

That's because Highberger has made up a trio of city commissioners - along with Mayor Sue Hack and Commissioner Mike Amyx - who have shown the most interest in a sales tax. If Highberger becomes disinterested in a sales tax in favor of an intangibles tax, that could make putting the sales tax issue on the ballot more difficult.

An intangibles tax also could give opponents of the sales tax an alternative to point to when they are lobbying against a sales tax. David Kingsley - a member of Grassroots Action, a group that has expressed concerns about a new sales tax - said he'd lobby for the intangibles tax.

"I absolutely would campaign for this an alternative to the sales tax," Kingsley said. "I think so many politicians have been pushing the tax burdens down to the lower income levels. I think this is a way for us to push back."

- 6News reporter Laura McHugh contributed to this report.


mstrausz 10 years, 5 months ago

Stop building round-abouts, we may end up with a surplus. Topeka is starting to look like an attractive community to live in.

pinecreek 10 years, 5 months ago

This would bring one more bank branch to town--the local branch of a Cayman's offshore bank. Of course, we'd all have to go visit our money now and then....

rtwngr 10 years, 5 months ago

Boog never met a tax he DIDN'T like! This man is eat up with dumb a$$!

Sigmund 10 years, 5 months ago

BTW, cut the empTy Bus System and save over one-million-five-hundred-thousand dollars, ($1,500,000) each and every year!

jayhawks71 10 years, 5 months ago

You gotta be kidding me. Your money in a savings account, after taxes ALREADY does not keep up with inflation! Let's say you earned a "decent" 4 percent on a savings account. With your federal tax and state tax on it, you lose at least 1/4 of your interest to taxes. Now you are down to 3 percent, which is pretty much a typical rough estimate of annual COL. Keeping your money in the bank actually means you are LOSING money or at best, breaking even, and now the city wants to tax that? You gotta be..........kidding me.

A sales tax brings in revenue from people that don't live in the city, and therefore lessens the burden on citizens. STOP SPENDING MONEY, how about that for a start?

kujayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Lawrence is going to die with these clowns running the show.

KsTwister 10 years, 5 months ago

I have to find a woman who can put a zipper in a mattress.

cowboy 10 years, 5 months ago

Boog , go immediately to the riverfront mall , back of the building , find the rail , then frigging jump ! What a moron !

Sigmund 10 years, 5 months ago

Whew! I was worried for a minute. Chad Lawthorn teaming up with another female reporterette, I was afraid someone at City Hall had sent her a National Breast Appreciation Day email. But I don't know why everyone is so upset about this. After Hillary and the Democrats tax you for "free" government provided health care, you aren't going to have any "intangible" savings anyway.

So Lawrence is a great place to retire is it? Save all your working life so you don't have to depend on social security, welfare, food stamps, or your kids. You planned and saved so you could retire in peace. Along comes The Boogster who decides he needs your money more than you do. Apparently the real property taxes, personal property taxes, sales taxes, and the tax on that occasional glass of wine you used to buy with dinner just doesn't go as far as it once did.

Which brings up my final point, every dollar the City of Lawrence takes from it's citizens is one less dollar available to spend locally. Good news for Walmart, Target, and the other low price national chains, bad news for the more expensive local downtown businesses and eateries. Fewer trips to Teller's, Ingredient's, and Free State Brewery and more trips to Micky D's (be sure to collect those Monopoly game pieces while you are there, you might win a free medium drink on your next visit). Bad news for Lawrence real estate prices, but good news for Eudora, Baldwin and Johnson County.

satchel 10 years, 5 months ago

I am glad we aren't living in Lawrence. Almost moved there, but the property taxes were too high and I don't want to live under a bunch of liberal, socialists who will take money from a family of 6 who are lower middle class. They took our money under Clinton's presidency and are doing it in Lawrence.

Don't buy into the lie that it is just the 'rich'. I have experienced Clinton's tax hikes first hand and I am not rich.

I feel sorry for the residents of Lawrence who voted conservative and have to live with the liberal majority.

The city of Lawrence is a smaller version of New Jersey. There has been a huge exodus from New Jersey because of the tax hikes under liberal rule. I wonder how many more people will move out of Lawrence?

Ooooh.. Just think if Hildabeast gets in, and Democrats remain in the majority in congress. Talk about tax hikes.

monkeyhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

"But Chestnut said he's also concerned that the tax is an idea that hasn't taken off with virtually any large city in the state, despite it being available since the early 1980s. For example, no communities in Johnson or Shawnee counties have the tax. Of the 107 cities in the state that have the tax, none appears to be greater than 5,000 people in population. Most are less than 1,000 people in population and are in rural sections of the state."

Perhaps there is no other city in Kansas that has experienced "progressivism". We have seen our rainy day fund dwindle to nothing under the reign of the three incompetents, our money frittered away on useless, disregarded studies and spent on crap nobody wants except for the "elite" busybodies who wish to control everyone else, when they cannot even balance their own personal checkbooks. Who will be the next bankrupt deadbeat?

The really sad thing is that we, the people, do not even have it within our means to take a peek at where all the dough went. There were millions in the general fund before our three idiots took power. Now, the lone surviving idiot wants to look in our underwear drawer to see if we have any spare change there.

Dever and Chestnut are quite correct. Anyone with any cents will definitely be finding another place to stash their money to keep it out of the irresponsible hands of the socialists. Living here is a daily struggle and many wonder if it is worth it.

imastinker 10 years, 5 months ago

Well, we haven't hear from merrill yet, but I bet he'll be in favor of this.

I'm sure there are neighboring communities that will be happy to have these rich people move in there - like tonganoxie, eudora, lecompton, topeka, big springs, baldwin.

jumpin_catfish 10 years, 5 months ago

Stupid, foolish, short-sighted, oppressive, did I say stupid! Ask retirees if Lawrence would be a great place to retire to if there is a local tax on savings interest. Hey, city commission this is not why I voted for you guys. How about cutting the budget to reflect the current tax revenue!

satchel 10 years, 5 months ago

Boog is trying to throw out the number '100' knowing he can convince the tin foil hats to support this tax hike. If 100 citites have this tax, Lawrence should have it, by golly!

Has anyone figured out that there are over 600 cities in Kansas? So the majority of cities in Kansas DON'T have it, and for a very good reason.

You wait, the sales tax hike is just around the corner. Boog even said it. He said he wanted to do this before having to consider raising the sales taxes.

Get out while you can!

Godot 10 years, 5 months ago

The real savings money in this community is stashed away in 403(b) accounts (funded largely by taxpayers) held by university professors and professional staff, 403b accounts owned by teachers and employees of the school district, and 457 deferred compensation accounts owned by city and county employees. Would you tax those, Boog? I'll answer for you. Of course not. Heaven forbid we expect those already taking from the taxpayers to give anything back.

This is so Hillary. She, too, announced last week that she is considering an "asset tax." Boog and the GRA are just jumping on the HIllary train, punishing the people who plan, who work, who save, to give to those who choose not to.

This is the most regressive tax the city can possibly undertake.

Godot 10 years, 5 months ago

Slash costs. Cut staff. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Do with what you have. Stop hiring consultants whose reports you ignore. Give up the idea that the city can create economic opportunities by buying up private land and taking it off the tax roles. Tailor a program's budget to match the number of users. Stop doing what the private sector could, if it did not face unfair competition from the city government. Stop the insanity, and do not raise taxes, period.

revshackleford 10 years, 5 months ago

Since the new Wal-Mart is in the bag now, we really don't need five commissioners. Retain Boog, any two of the others and send two home--a savings of ??? Voting outcomes will remain the same and we'll save money on salary,benefits and seat wear.

JohnBrown 10 years, 5 months ago

Taxing earnings from taxed income that will be taxed again when it's spent is triple dipping, Boog.

Get back on focus, and find out why growth isn't paying for itself.

SteelHorseRider 10 years, 5 months ago

I cannot imagine a more asinine idea.

I am already willingly paying taxes on the house, improvements, cars, gasoline, electricity, water, sewer, telephones, food, clothing and everything else bought in this town including the new sidewalks down the block AND NOW THEY WANT TO TAX WHAT LITTLE I HAVE MANAGED TO SAVE!!!!!!?????

Basic common sense tells me it is time to move where my savings are not considered for taxation at the local level.

Ragingbear 10 years, 5 months ago

Let me see. There are already too many post to bother reading on this article and it's 8:30. I think that there is no way the people of this town would allow this one to fly. Even though it's obvious that every single commissioner, non elected mayor and corrupt city manager is going to get replaced next election. But at the rate they are going now, we are gonna end up getting a repeat of the California governor recall.

Quick! Somebody call Gary Coleman!

thomgreen 10 years, 5 months ago

So, if I'm able to take a loan out from my own retirement plan and I have to pay myself interest on that loan, would I then have to pay taxes on the interest that I have to pay myself? What a conundrum. I have to agree with Dever, people with large amounts of money that could be taxed would find ways to hide it and the burden would fall squarely on the middle class. Aren't we supposed to be encouraging people to save?

tir 10 years, 5 months ago

"Compound interest. You know, the pennies that accrue day after day, week after week on your savings account."

Pennies is right. My bank pays the interest in PENNIES these days on my savings account. My interest earnings are not merely "intangible", they are practically "non-existent."

But thanks, City Hall, for coming up with a grand scheme to take even these few pennies away from me. There goes any incentive I might have had to save money for the future. I guess I'll just blow all my extra change at some KC mall every month instead. When I'm old and decrepit and have not a penny to my name for the City to tax, I'll just go die in a lovely city park (paid for with MY pennies).

Kat Christian 10 years, 5 months ago

Well that puts a burden on the Feds wanting people to save more, so they can do away with social security fund. This is crazy. You know find another way. Try cutting some of those top salaries. Always trying to take, take, take. No wander we are having such a crisis today there's no money left over for any of use to live a halfway decent life except for the greedy fools that take from others. NO INTANGIBLE TAX.

Godot 10 years, 5 months ago

This proposal for increased taxes would not have been necessary if the previous city commission had not wasted, thrown away, imprudently spent the money in the rainy day fund.

Lawrence cannot tax its way out of this problem. Lawrence must give up on its addiction to extravagant amenities.

toefungus 10 years, 5 months ago

This is just another political move for those that support the sale tax. Do not be decieved. The city is wanting more money and is not above using scare tactics to get it. Sales tax revenues, property taxes, franchise taxes from new homes needing utilities, and state transfer payments are all headed lower. Smaller city government is the only way to work through this economic slow down. Speaking of slow down, the recent rejection of the coal plant will not bode well for future economic growth. So this slow down could very well last decades in Kansas as capital and labor flee. What a mess we are in.

justthefacts 10 years, 5 months ago

This is a joke, right? If not = EARTH to city "leaders" - if you want to have a city that only contains the very rich or the very poor, just keep it up. Tax the middle class until we all move away. Then the very rich can either support the very poor (so they all feel better about themselves) or force the very poor out too. Maybe we can all live in DeSoto or Eudora but come care/clean and wait upon the rich masters?

This is NOT a liberal versus conservative thing. The prior administration was also very fond of coming up with new ways to increase tax and spend money. Something must happen to people when they take office; The power must go to your "heads" (I am not really sure city leaders have brains at this point). What next, a tax upon the air we breath? ("Honey, I am sorry, but if you don't start breathing a little less, we'll have to move somewhere else.")

If city leaders are not interested in making Lawrence a ghost town, or a haven for the very wealthy, they need to start running it like it is a small family business. And one that does not survive on the charity provided by others. Work hard and live within your means. Do not do or buy anything on credit if you can help it. If you cannot pay cash for something that is not an absolute necessity, do not borrow it or mortgage your future to get it. And since the cash in this case is coming from the pockets of your "children" (tax payers) remember that they need some rewards in return for sacrifices. In this case, my reward will be to be allowed to keep enough of my hard earned cash to pay for shelter, food, clothing and medical care. Nothing much extra.

I can promise you that if you continue trying to figure out new ways to milk money out of taxpayers, they will leave your city, figure out loop holes, or vote your silly arses out of office as soon as possible!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

Gawd, what litany of kneejerkers jerking.

It's the Chambocrats on the City Commission that have been clamoring for a tax increase, but, of course, they prefer a tax that will impact the fat cats they represent the least-- a sales tax.

So now they have an alternative. Will they take the one that taxes baby food, or the one that taxes stocks and bonds of the wealthy developers who are really responsible for the current financial state of the city?

oldgoof 10 years, 5 months ago

Good post Max1. I remember being a little shocked that the utility franchise fees, sewer, and water taxes went by everyones notice. In particular to 'budgeted' increases in the out-years was galling to me, as a way of putting a budget together. The budget director was hiding the magnitude of the real budeget pain through this. . . You people who always complain about the regressive nature of sales tax should be just as offended on water, sewer, and franchise taxes. Where is the outrage? . This intangibles thing is just meant to shake everyone (as in the more wealthy) up. Won't happen.

skinny 10 years, 5 months ago

Good luck trying to collect!!!

It'd be like tryig to collect taxes on items on the internet.

It's not going to happen!!

Godot 10 years, 5 months ago

Boog thinks this might pull $600K in additional taxes. How much will the city spend to collect, and enforce, this tax? No doubt will require an entire new department, with, of course a new director. They will have to hire a consultant to design the new tax forms, and then, of course, pay to print and mail them. Maybe, just maybe, the tax would cover the cost to collect it. And then, think of the cost to the banks and other financial institutions for reporting the income. But, look on the bright side; it would provide government jobs for a few of Boog's underemployed friends.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

There might be some basis for you speculation, Godot. But it is speculation, and I think this deserves some investigation so that the commission has an informed choice available to them when they raise taxes. And manke no mistake, they are going to raise taxes, and it won't happen because of the evil "progressives." It'll happen so the chambocrats can finance their latest development schemes.

Godot 10 years, 5 months ago

And, thanks, Boog, for giving Bozo another chance to bring up the old "class warfare" argument. Way to go.

Stanley Rasmussen 10 years, 5 months ago

Is Commissioner Dever the only sane commissioner left? He seems to be the only one who consistently resists new taxes. Let's trim more of the fa"T" before we look at raising taxes.

snowWI 10 years, 5 months ago

As someone with libertarian views I think any extra tax including the intangible tax is a bad idea. Just because other cities in Kansas have them does not mean it is a good idea to implement them. Just say NO to new additional taxes and NO to the increased costs for development in the floodplain. Use some common sense here and promote development in all areas besides the floodplain.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 5 months ago

The title of the story is misleading.

Those who make a lot more should not be able to protect any of it from taxation. Which may be the driving force behind this thought. Pay up like everyone else. If the middle class ever begin hiding their money the cookie jar will be in big trouble.

Sigmund 10 years, 5 months ago

Monkeyhawk has it exactly correct. "The really sad thing is that we, the people, do not even have it within our means to take a peek at where all the dough went. There were millions in the general fund before our three idiots took power. Now, the lone surviving idiot wants to look in our underwear drawer to see if we have any spare change there".

Empty buses or new projects for fat cat developers? It is ALL speculation. The citizens of Lawrence need to have the Cities finances subjected to an audit.

"The Legislative Division of Post Audit is the audit agency of Kansas government. The programs and activities of State government now cost about $9 billion a year. As legislators and administrators try increasingly to allocate tax dollars effectively and make government work more efficiently, they need information to evaluate the work of governmental agencies. The audit work performed by Legislative Post Audit helps provide that information."

Unfortunately, Kansas law does NOT allow citizens to trigger an audit, only State representatives can do that. "Any legislator or legislative committee can request a performance audit by contacting any member of the Committee or by contacting Legislative Post Audit directly."

Fortunately, I bet you there are some pissed off Western Kansas legislators who wouldn't mind putting Lawrence on the to be audited list if none of the local legislators are willing to help out!

Sigmund 10 years, 5 months ago

Those that have SAVED more than others should not be subjected to added tax burden because they are more fiscally responsible.

Ragingbear 10 years, 5 months ago

I should run for city commissioner. My platform would be "__ (homelessness, taxes, roundabouts,etc) are bad, mmkay,". But unlike the tards we got right now, I would mean it. The first step would be not hiring any professional consultants for a few million a year. Especially if we aren't going to listen to their advice anyways. However, I may be willing to pay an adviser $100,000 if we implement a program suggested and made or saved a million in the process. But only after the money was actually made.

snowWI 10 years, 5 months ago

Sigmund (Anonymous) says "or new projects for fat cat developers? It is ALL speculation. The citizens of Lawrence need to have the Cities finances subjected to an audit."

You got that one right. The fat cat developers want to make the residents of Lawrence pay for ridicuolous developments on the floodplain. This is completely inexcusable.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 5 months ago

The 25 year expansion of the tax base through new housing may not be paying back. It is no secret that homes are not taxed at a rate to cover the cost of community services. Housing was by far the largest portion of the expansion because developers make the most money building houses. I say mismanagement has come back to haunt the taxpayers.

Keeping people employed locally with good salaries way above a living wage is what creates wealth thus revenue. Those employers pay a higher rate of taxes on that property plus pay the wages. This is what got left off the table. Now some people are moving away and our inflated property values are dropping thus fewer dollars into the cookie jar.

Do we need to spend tax dollars on new infrastructure with no tenant on the hook and build new multi million dollar high school sports superdomes? NO way. We need a ton of small business people that pay excellent wages and higher property taxes. Empty buildings and homes of which Lawrence has plenty cost taxpayers money. The new Wal-Mart will likely drag revenue down as it rips into the sales at 31st and Iowa which is dependent on drive by activity.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

When the new taxes come up for a vote, Dever will vote "aye," and it will be a new sales tax.

jayhawks71 10 years, 5 months ago

"Those that have SAVED more than others should not be subjected to added tax burden because they are more fiscally responsible." - Sigmund.

Amen to that. I hadn't even thought about that message being sent. But hey if you are fiscally irresponsible and just spend every cent you have on goods, you can avoid the new tax on your taxed money that you will pay another tax just to spend. Do bureaucrats realize what they are doing? That other comment about taxing interest earned on money that has already been taxed was right on.

Get real city commissioners!

jayhawks71 10 years, 5 months ago

The article title should change. It doesn't seem apparent that the CITY (which comprises its residents) are interested in the tax, the city commissioners are interested in the tax.

justthefacts 10 years, 5 months ago

Any kind of research will show that taxing more things will raise a lot of money. Any kind of tax will raise more money for the governmental entity imposing it. Duh.

The people most impacted by an increase in any kind of tax will not be the "rich." Any student of economics understands that the people who have more money also possess the means of avoiding losing it (they can pay CPA's and tax attorneys to find new loopholes to use). And if no loophole can be found, they will simply pass the costs along to their tenants, clients, neighbors, or any other persons they can charge or challenge. Thus, there is absolutely no way the governmental "LEADERS" can come up with a way to increase revenues that does not ultimately most impact those who can least afford to lose more of their limited incomes.

City leaders - Boog included - FIND A WAY TO LIVE ON THE MONEY YOU ARE ALREADY MAKING. Better yet, FIND A WAY TO DECREASE SPENDING. Although no one is saying it, we are heading for (or already in) a DEPRESSION. Food prices (along with everything else) continue to rise (inflation) while jobs are hard to find and the pay is low. Those in the lower and middle income brackets are not able to keep up with the inflated prices for everything. And more incentive NOT to save is not going to help them in the least!! Until you realize that your spending habits are only adding to the problem you will continue to get further and further behind.

The government, and every person, should learn (SOON) to start saving money and cutting corners. Because the time is near when this house of cards built upon credit is going to completely collapse around our ears!

You cannot keep robbing Peter to pay Paul. The day of reckoning will come, and it is nearer then you think. If you truly want to serve the best interests of your constituents, you will pull your heads out and take a hard look at reality. NOT TAX US MORE!!!

Instead of trying to find ways to keep growing and taxing to support it, better to give people classes on how to collect and purify creek water, hunt and skin squirrels for food and fur, and how to live off wild foods (or turn cultivated green grass lawns into self sustaining truck gardens).

Magpie 10 years, 5 months ago

I would rather pay 2.25% of the $19.86 I earn in interest each year than pay sales tax every time I go to the store. The sales tax would cost me exponentially more money! Why am I supposed to be outraged that Highberger is investigating an alternative to taxing food, clothing, gas--? (I wish the alternative he were investigating was how to stop the profligate spending of city money, but that's a far-fetched fantasy.) People should do some figures before getting their jocks in a twist about this article. How much money would it really cost you, and would the cost of sales tax exceed that amount?

ilovelucy 10 years, 5 months ago

Log: glad to see you are still alive and kicking!

cfdxprt 10 years, 5 months ago


While I'd agree with your basic premise, I don't think that this tax is really the commission's solution to their budget woes. Instead it's a - we'll generate tax revenue this way, we'll charge the kids more for the pool, and, and, and...

Oh, we don't have enough money, we need that sales tax to support our pet projects.

From what I've seen, it's just a way to make the sales tax more palatable to a community that really doesn't want it.

doc1 10 years, 5 months ago

They can have my savings tax over my dead body. I'll bank in another town if I have to. The only tax they are gonna get from me on this one is about a 50lb bag of pennies through the front window of city hall.

S0uPnAzi 10 years, 5 months ago

How about just lving within our means, and not have any type of tax increase, especially not the socialistic regressive tax Boog is speaking of. It's about high time the commissioners get their d@&* hands out of our pockets, and quit spending our money foolishly!

Godot 10 years, 5 months ago

Magpie, come on, don't give in, don't say, "I'd rather have this tax than that tax." They have already pulled the wool over your eyes!

The point is that this city does not need any new tax, none, period. The commission and the City Administrator need to figure out how to cut the budget so that it does not require new or increased taxes.

jayhawks71 10 years, 5 months ago

Doc, banking in another town won't be the solution. If you are a resident of Lawrence, you will pay it regardless, the same way as when you work in another state and live in Kansas, you still pay Kansas Income Tax or they come hounding you for their take.

And yeah watch out people, this might be the back door to making a sales tax more acceptable. Even though one may cost less than the other, in principle, "income taxes" seem less palatable to people than "sales taxes." Although people who are more successful will probably have more to spend, it seems wrong to people to punish someone for success (higher income); you could also choose to spend your money elsewhere to bypass a city sales tax.

deskboy04 10 years, 5 months ago

How will the tax affect the environment?

monkeyhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

"Those who make a lot more should not be able to protect any of it from taxation. Which may be the driving force behind this thought. Pay up like everyone else. If the middle class ever begin hiding their money the cookie jar will be in big trouble."

Sorry to have not been able to partake of this conversation all day since I was at KU MU Hospital with my loved one who was receiving chemo today.

I could not really read beyond this little pearl from merrill. Perhaps this fool would understand if he had ever had any kind of wherewithal to actually earn a living beyond mowing lawns, that there are very few ways that those "who make a lot more" avoid taxation. You know the old saying about death and taxes... We DO pay up, and a whole lot more than dictating a$$holes like you who are just around to suck up all the freebies you can off the backs of those who are smarter or more inspired than you.

Note to Boog: why don't you just resign? Your act is getting very old and you're even pi$$ing off what little support you used to have.

XTC 10 years, 5 months ago

Let's not forget the community has yet to begin paying for the new Wakarusa water treatment plant. It comes online in 2011 at a cost of $ 88 million......

50YearResident 10 years, 5 months ago

Didn't we have the intangibles tax up to the late 90's and the county dropped it because the cost to collect it was close to the amount received?

snowWI 10 years, 5 months ago

XTC (Anonymous) says: "Let's not forget the community has yet to begin paying for the new Wakarusa water treatment plant. It comes online in 2011 at a cost of $ 88 million"

Also, you have to remember that the city commission is now embracing the big cat developers with that project in the floodplain near the airport. This project will also have the potential to cost the taxpayers more money because of the infrastructure upgrades. Make sure to go to the meeting concerning that proposed development on Wednesday at 6:30PM at city hall!

Godot 10 years, 5 months ago

Hawk, a few weeks ago I proposed the same tax on earnings, partially in jest, partially serious, and for exactly the same reasons you cite.

However, the problem is not revenue; the problem is expenses, which utlimately comes down to poor management. There is more than enough revenue to operate this city. The problem appears to be with the person(s) running it.

Why in the world did the commissioners spend all that time and money on a nationwide search for a city manager, and then simply promote someone from within, someone who was part of the problem, to begin with?

snowWI 10 years, 5 months ago

No more additional taxes! No additional taxes forced onto the taxpayers for any infrastructure improvements for development on the floodplain! Manage the fianances of the city in a better manner and promote economic development in areas outside the floodplain zone.

Mkh 10 years, 5 months ago

NO more Taxes! Cut your fricking budget you pathetic morons in City Hall. Seriously people, our ancestors would have revolted long ago. This is getting ridiculous.

Mkh 10 years, 5 months ago

Just the facts: "EARTH to city "leaders" - if you want to have a city that only contains the very rich or the very poor, just keep it up. Tax the middle class until we all move away. "

Unforunately that is exactly the plan, and it's not just this town, that is the plan for America. The goal is to make the middle class dissapear, and only have rich and poor. The middle class are a direct threat to the power Elite, always have been throughout history, nothing new here.

This is exactly why the Fed is purposely devaluing the dollar and destroying the economy, to wipe out the middle class.

snowWI 10 years, 5 months ago

Make sure to go to the meeting concerning that proposed development near the airport on Wednesday at 6:30PM at city hall! Tell them that you do not want to pay additional taxes for ANY construction on the floodplain.

lunacydetector 10 years, 5 months ago

how about a special tax on people who work for the local, state and federal government? they can pay back the people who pay them -a salary cut if you will. the military would be exempt, of course.

that, or perhaps the city should stop spending money on b.s.

snowWI 10 years, 5 months ago

hawkperchedatriverfront, Do you support the proposed industrial project near the Lawrence Municipal Airport?

This libertarian says that NO new taxes should be imposed on the taxpayers of Lawrence, especially when greedy speculative developers say that they need more public money for infrastructure. This is really starting to get out of hand. No new taxes! Make developers pay for economic development projects and not the taxpayers!

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