Boog Highberger has promoted some questionable projects during his time on the Lawrence City Commission, but his latest "innovation" to help solve financial problems rates among the worst.
Looking for ways to bring more money into the Lawrence coffers, Highberger is suggesting an intangibles tax. He says he is not locked into such a venture but that it is worth considering because such a levy is imposed in other communities.
Forget it, commissioner! Some years back somebody tried to get approval of an intangibles tax and the local electorate was smart enough to vote it down. It's no more practical now than it was then. It has been suggested that an intangibles tax could be levied only on those who make more than $100,000 a year. That, we guess, is to make it more popular with "the people," most of whom don't come close to a six-figure income. But the intangibles gimmick is simply another layer of financial oppression that creates even more draining assaults on the public, whether the income level is $25,000 or $200,000.
Think about it. We pay taxes on our income to the federal government and the state. Then we pay sales taxes on even food and necessities. If somehow we are able to save and "invest" a few dollars, we have to pay state and federal taxes on those earnings. You buy a car, and you have to get license plates to operate it, not to mention the high taxes on gasoline.
These are just scratching the surface for taxpayers. At the least, most of us have to pay taxes at least four times before we can even consider saving or investment. So now Highberger and whoever his advisers might be say it might be worth taking a long, hard look at further taxes on the "intangibles," which are so terribly hard for most people to generate.
Before any public officials decide to "study" the intangibles tax situation, probably with the cost of some kind of "consultant," the public response should be a resounding "no."
It is difficult to believe that a city commissioner would favor this kind of divisive effort even though the city badly needs more funds. There clearly are better ways to get them than to impose an intangibles tax.