Archive for Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lawrence drops in national per capita income rankings

August 7, 2008

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Personal income in Lawrence grew slightly last year, but not enough to keep the city from dropping further in the per capita rankings of the nation's metropolitan areas.

Lawrence's per capita income in 2007 was $30,594, which led to a ranking of 258th among the top 363 metropolitan areas in the United States. That's according to an annual study released on Thursday. The study was conducted by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

It all stems from the local job market, said Mike Amyx, Lawrence business owner and city commissioner.

"I think we need to work really hard to attract the kind of jobs and pay the wages necessary for people to be able to buy homes, cars and be able to raise a family," Amyx said.

Lawrence's ranking dropped each of the last three years. It ranked 192nd in 2005 and 224th in 2006, records show.

"Rankings jump up and down all the time, but any time you see a trend that runs two or three years in a row, that throws up a red flag, one that we need to recognize," Amyx said.

There is a positive, however, Amyx said. Per capita income increased by about $3,000 over the last three years, according to the federal analysis. That is encouraging, he said.

"At the same time that I may have questions about our rankings dropping, I've seen growth in the per capita income," Amyx said. "We are fortunate here to have some very strong businesses that not only pay their employees well, but at the same time they are helping out with a lot of needs we have in the community."

Lawrence also ranks behind the metropolitan areas of Topeka (173rd) and Wichita (67th). Those cities are larger than Lawrence, but the three cities also compete for the same type of businesses, Amyx said.

The Kansas City area, which includes both sides of the state line, ranks 63.

The study showed that personal income growth slowed in 2007 in most of the metropolitan areas nationwide. On average, income grew 6.2 percent, down from 6.8 percent in 2006.

Personal income grew the fastest in Gulfport, Miss., New Orleans and Pascagoula, Miss., the study concluded. That growth was boosted by federal payments to rebuild residences destroyed or damaged in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina.

Fast growth was also found in parts of Texas, Colorado and Wyoming because of growth in the oil and gas extraction industry, the study showed. The slowest-growing areas were in the Great Lakes region because of declines in manufacturing.

Comments

Thats_messed_up 6 years, 9 months ago

Panhandling HAS to pay more than $30,954. Wow Wichita is 67th in income and housing prices are half as much as Lawrence's. In other words you can live like a king in Wichita and make more money than Lawrence. Oh but there's not as much eye candy to make you feel culturally superior to everyone else in the State.

jumpin_catfish 6 years, 9 months ago

I foresee gloom, despair and agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all. Yep, its bad out there folks. We may all die if not now maybe in the future.

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

To recap, out of the top 363 cities in per capita income;Kansas City ranks 63rd,Wichita ranks 67th,Topeka ranks 173rd,and Lawrence ranks 258th.Lawrence, a sinking island of Blue in a Red state. Hopefully this will put an end to the mindless chants of the PLC/GRA sock puppets that Lawrence "must not become like Wichita, Topeka, or Kansas City," "growth is bad," et. al., but I doubt it. Given the recent cuts in KU's budget and the reluctance of the State to continue to subsidize Lawrence with more of their tax dollars we need to grow our private sector jobs and shrink our reliance on the public sector to have a fighting chance in the future. More taxes might appear to be a easy solution to Lawrence's budget problems but it is a temporary solution at best. Worse it is counter productive in the long term and without significant reform the problems will only be harder to solve in future. This Commission needs to either cut all existing departments equally (except Fire and Police) and raise fares for the empTy to at least 25% of the cost of the service ($2.00). Either that or simply get rid of the empTy and stop paying over $200,000/MONTH month after month $2,600,000/YEAR, year after year, in corporate welfare to MV Transportation.Increasing taxes sucks money out of the local private economy. Every dollar in new taxes is a dollar less to spend with local businesses. Vote "No" for ANY new taxes for any reason, then vote against all incumbents in the next general election. Redo until we get a Commission that can live within a budget and doesn't attempt to extort more and more money year after year. It is easier to impose fiscal discipline on the City now than later and better for our future.

jmadison 6 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence needs to tax its way to prosperity. Our city commission advocates higher sales taxes, and our school district successfully lifts restrictions on property tax growth.Our governmental entities are the largest employers, and they obviously need more tax dollars.

BigPrune 6 years, 9 months ago

The headline should've read, "Living Wage law makes per capita income drop"

cowboy 6 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence / Jobs , now there's a contradiction. construction pretty much shut down here , that was 30% of all new jobs. The lame attempts at eco devo have simply wasted tax dollars and a decade of lousy leadership on the commission and the chamber , not to mention the "NO" crowd , have put Lawrence in the dumpster. you can make money here if you own your own biz or work out of town , or for the gov , but looking for a decent wage in Lawrence as an employee is rugged at best. I don't see a solution out there but one of the biggest problems is the city's denial that is is screwed. The refusal to take some action and begin the ugly process of prioritizing and cutting costs will bite very hard in a sensitive spot very soon.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 9 months ago

"Lawrence drops in national per capita income rankings"Not to mention the drop in relation to other nations, where decapitation is skewing the rankings.

KsTwister 6 years, 9 months ago

Scuttlebutt in Lawrence says some businesses are considering going to shorter work weeks for their employees. But the cost of living continues to go up and added taxes and gas prices aren't letting people manage any better. So spend the tax dollars while you have them, it will not be improving any time soon.

inklines 6 years, 9 months ago

I know of at least one major industrial business here in Lawrence that has not given its employees more than an average 2% raise per year for the last 15 years. What has the rate of inflation been over that time period? Businesses can spout all the good earnings and profit numbers to its employees it wants to, but my measure of a companies progress is that has the means and the desire to maintain its employees standard of living.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 9 months ago

strap yourself to a tree with roots...it's a hard rain gonna fall...(to mix a couple of bobaphors)

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

metta (Anonymous) says:"how about a new organic garden & organic crop distribuution center as suggested by Mark Larson in a recent LTE ?"I would get involved with you and Mark but I have been busy with my plan to breed flying pigs who piss pure 91 octane unleaded gas and shi+ bricks of gold. Talk about change! The tourist trade alone will require we upgrade the empTy to a solar powered monorail just to handle the crowds.

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says:"The more new houses that are built in Lawrence make Lawrence residents become worth less and less primarily because of overstock."Nobody wants to pay your inflated prices for your run down out of date Eastside properties compared to the price of newer construction elsewhere. If you could keep any new houses from being built in Lawrence they still would prefer the newer construction.

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

metta (Anonymous) says:"2008 a year of change - let's get going with some new jobs here::how about affordable housing."Housing prices have declined nationwide and in Lawrence, it was in all the papers. How much further would you like them to fall?metta (Anonymous) says: "how about a new organic garden & organic crop distribuution center as suggested by Mark Larson in a recent LTE ?"Grande idea! Did you think that up between bong hits? In any event you and Mark should feel free to risk your money and do that! Good luck with the zoning and the real estate taxes, city and state inspectors, wage and hour laws, withholding federal and state income and social security taxes, attracting qualified workers who regularly show up sober for work, and getting your trucks in and out of town on our potholed streets and through the roundabouts. Sorry about the high electric rates no new efficient electric plants are coming to the area anytime soon. But I am sure you and Mark will figure it all out and pay your workers more than $35,000-$40,000 per year.EDIT: Should have been "Lawrence, a progressively sinking grassy island of Blue in a Red state."

Chris Ogle 6 years, 9 months ago

Wonder how Lawrence rates in cost of housing.

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

The headline read "Lawrence drops in national per capita income rankings", not "Lawrence Eastside properties drop in value." Wichita and Kansas City have per capita incomes 50%-80% higher and make Lawrence look like a third world country. How could they possibly do that without you thee to guide them?Without the Government subsidized jobs (KU, Lawrence Public Schools, Pearson Government Solutions, City of Lawrence) Larryville would have dried up and blown away decades ago. It is time that Lawrence cut its dependence on tax dollar supported jobs. While higher taxes are good for the public sector jobs it is at the expense of the private sector, local businesses you like to call them.Lawrence needs to stop with no growth mentality. The only way we need or can even afford the empTy is to grow. The only way per capita income will rise is with new employers.It is amazing that Kansas City, Wichita, and even Topeka have a much higher per capita incomes without you, the bozo business czar, and the PLC/GRA to guide their every step, but somehow they have. It is you who have failed Lawrence and the residents are much poorer because of your, the bozo, and the PLC/GRA leadership for the last decade. That is why no one listens seriously to your anti-Reagan rants. Those that remember Reagan also remember Carter.

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

inklines (Anonymous) says: "I know of at least one major industrial business here in Lawrence that has not given its employees more than an average 2% raise per year for the last 15 years. What has the rate of inflation been over that time period? Businesses can spout all the good earnings and profit numbers to its employees it wants to, but my measure of a companies progress is that has the means and the desire to maintain its employees standard of living."You and they should feel free to quit and find another job in Lawrence that pays you better. Before you do you should be aware that Lawrence has a "Business Unfriendly" reputation with a City Commission and a School District that couldn't balance their budgets to save its life for most of the last decade and that threatens taxpayers with ever increasing demands for more taxes.So unless the new fire sprinklers for downtown landlords and the domestic registry draw in new employers who will compete for workers with existing businesses you're going to have to look for that new job someplace, anyplace, other than Larrytown.This City from its "leadership" all the way down to the voters had better pull their progressive heads out of their locally grown grass roots arses and get a clue or it will only get much much worse.

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says:"The more new houses that are built in Lawrence make Lawrence residents become worth less and less primarily because of overstock."Your blatant attempt to impose artificial scarcity to boost your property values hurts everyone else. Then you turn around and claim to want "affordable housing" and blame everyone else. Anyone with a brain could see the hypocrisy and that is why they despise you. You are a mean, selfish, and greedy little man. If you had even a modicum of decency you would resign, but you don't and you won't.

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) cuts and pastes:"So how come we're not all really well-off? Why is it one-in-seven families has filed bankruptcy in the last twenty-five years? Why is it people are so mired in debt that television ads are just full of debt relief and take on more debt ads, sometimes at 99 percent interest? Why is it that so many people don't have health insurance and so many people no longer have a retirement plan?"Because some people made really bad choices and expect the rest of us, "the Government", to bail them out of their bad choices.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Yes. Well, Ronald Reagan, whether you love Ronald Reagan or you hate Ronald Reagan, was a great leader. He did, in fact, dramatically change the country.Between 1945 and the election of Ronald Reagan, we had a government that was focused on creating and nurturing the middle class. When I was a young man, I was able to go to college only because it was free. It didn't matter that I didn't have any money-my dad was a 100 percent disabled veteran, and I went to work when I was ten years old and full time since I was thirteen-because it was free.Today, the cost of a college education, a state college education, is about $10,000 a year. The average income of the bottom half of taxpayers-that's not families, that's taxpayers-is about $15,000. Think you can go to college if two-thirds of your income would have to go to college? I don't think so.Well, Mr.-what Mr. Reagan did in 1980 was he asked a question that had a very powerful effect. He said, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" And Americans said no, they weren't. And they elected him to office, and they set in motion a major change in government policy, a change that I think has been perverted. I do not believe Reagan intended all of the things that have been done since he started this happening.But I'm asking the question in Free Lunch: Are you better off than you were in 1980? And on the surface, America is much better off. The country is more than twice as wealthy in real terms as it was in 1980. Per person, adjusted for inflation, the economy now puts out $1.70 for every dollar that it put out in 1980. Those are absolutely tremendous economic numbers.So how come we're not all really well-off? Why is it one-in-seven families has filed bankruptcy in the last twenty-five years? Why is it people are so mired in debt that television ads are just full of debt relief and take on more debt ads, sometimes at 99 percent interest? Why is it that so many people don't have health insurance and so many people no longer have a retirement plan?And by the way, the average income of the bottom 90 percent of Americans, what I call the vast majority, is smaller today than it was in 1980. And since the year 2000, when we really got serious about this tax cut business, the average income of Americans every year-2001, '02, '03, '04, '05-has been smaller than it was in 2000. There have been some gains in 2004 and '05, but they haven't gotten up to equal 2000. And of those gains in the year 2000-it's either '05 over '04 or '04 over '03-half went to people who make over a million dollars a year. What's happened is-

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

AMY GOODMAN: Didn't that wealth transfer massively begin-I mean, accelerate with Reagan?DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Oh, yes. No, that's-I'm sorry, that's exactly my point, Amy, is that what happened is that we put in place all sorts of new programs, many of which were never written about in the news media, that got no attention whatsoever. We created healthcare billionaires while making healthcare unavailable to one-in-seven Americans. And we did this with government money. We allowed people to buy public assets for, in some cases, a fraction of a penny on the dollar and then poured government money into them.And, you know, our national myth that Ronald Reagan ran for office on was that there were all these welfare queen Cadillacs-welfare queens driving Cadillacs out there. I think there was, in fact, one scam artist who went to prison. But what's really going on is welfare at the top, and way beyond what's been reported in the news media as corporate welfare. We have built into the scaffolding of the new economy rules that funnel money to the top.And that this has happened really shouldn't surprise us, because under our campaign finance system, which has gotten worse and worse and worse with campaign finance reform that hasn't worked, politicians running for high office spend a great deal of their time talking not to you and me and school teachers and police officers and firefighters and factory workers, but to rich people and their paid representatives. And they hear about their concerns and what they say they need to make things fair. Sounds a lot like Lawrence,Kansas!

Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says:"The old infrastructure has more than paid for itself and money should be available as we speak. After all residents of old neighborhoods have been paying into the maintenance cookie jar for many many decades."Ah ha! Your "old infrastructure" was once a "new development" and it has more than paid for itself, "for many many decades." Your development has paid for itself many times over and so will todays new development, in the long run, many decades.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

The Scenic Riverway Community Association sector plan which is being worked on for the Schawda plan has a better employment overtone. Warehousing jobs do not provide enough income for people to live in Lawrence.The most highly paid benefactor will be the Schwada team. The development code states that a plan "shall be prepared and adopted prior to review" of any rezoning for property that lacks water or sewer service.The developers did not ask for city water or sewer service yet because there no reason. I speculate they will in due time which is not smart economics for taxpayers. The county water district said there is not enough water for such a large project. Likely city taxpayers will be forced to cough it up thus less expendable cash for shopping around town.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

I say if the city were smart the money being quietly set aside for additional NEW infrastructure, which Lawrence taxpayers cannot afford, the city would money ahead to spend that money on old worn streets , sidewalks and an eastside bike trail that puts people to work. AND DO NOT raise taxes. Spend our tax dollars more wisely. This is not a new concept only one that has been documented and practiced many times over the last 80 years.The old infrastructure has more than paid for itself and money should be available as we speak. After all residents of old neighborhoods have been paying into the maintenance cookie jar for many many decades. The more new houses that are built in Lawrence make Lawrence residents become worth less and less primarily because of overstock.It is not unusual for city governments to repair old infrastructure during slow times.

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