Letters to the Editor

Failed policies

January 23, 2008


To the editor:

Dolph Simons Jr. suggests that recognition of Lawrence's economic woes is long overdue (Saturday Column, Jan. 19). He is correct, but his advocacy for growth fails to distinguish between smart economic development strategies and blind business advocacy.

Many city leaders and the Chamber of Commerce advocate for giving away tax breaks to attract businesses. Experience both here and around the nation shows that these tax breaks are unnecessary and wasteful. Equally, they call for more industrial sites when we cannot fill the ones that exist. What attracts firms is an ample supply of well educated and affordably priced labor, available sites serviced with affordably priced utilities, and - in some cases - bond financing.

We need to be open to firms that make a contribution to the community, not firms that take tax breaks and then fail to produce the promised jobs. We need to be open to firms that offer jobs that are needed, not dead-end, low-pay jobs that are already in surplus.

We do not need to continue failed policies that give away wasteful tax breaks to firms that will locate here without the subsidy. We do not need to subsidize firms who do not fulfill their promises in terms of investment, jobs, and wages. We do not need to build more industrial parks.

Citizens will always object to failed policies and wasteful practices. Until the city leaders stop repeating failed practices from the 1970s and adopt the best economic development practices of today, the city will continue to languish.

Kirk McClure,



Michael Capra 10 years, 4 months ago

well will you please tell us how many firms you have brought to lawrence.Let me answer for you not one so untill you do shut up

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

Kirk cannot bring the green jobs or any other good paying job. That's where the Chamber of Commerce continues to fail the community.

Kirk does seem to be better informed on matters about the community. Then again matters about urban growth, financing and revenue generation is his profession for which he is much respected.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for bringing this matter to the forefront. Green Collar jobs is a hot new industry that can work for communities who want to rebuild their economies. The federal government is looking to provide money for training which would be a reason to support a Vo-Tech campus in Lawrence.

Green Collar jobs are exploding into a billon dollar industry: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/09/green_jobs.html

When has anyone promised to bring green jobs? Certainly no one from the Chamber of Commerce or the City Commission. These are the only bodies that control the influx of new employment. Yes these jobs have been mentioned through suggestions.

As a matter of reference: These are green/sustainable concepts in nature.

http://www.greenprintdenver.org/ is a good reference for what could happen here.



John Edwards 2008 http://www.johnedwards.com/issues/environment/green-collar-jobs/

Green Collar Industries are the wave of the future. Lawrence,Kansas should not waste time in seeking out these industries many of which are quite practical. Early birds get the worms. This commission is going to require a huge amount of input from citizens to move in this direction. The more they hear and receive about such the better.

Green Collar is blue collar and white collar employment!

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

Last Friday this very matter of TIF projects was part of discussion on national radio news.

Well, what is tax increment financing? I'll tell you what it is. You go to the store with your goods, you pay for it at Wal-Mart, and there's a very good chance that that store has made a deal with the government that the sales taxes you are required to pay, that government requires you to pay, never go to the government. Instead, those sales taxes are kept by Wal-Mart and used to pay the cost of the store. And typically in those deals, the store is tax exempt, just like a church.

Now, there are two ways that it's important to think about this. One is, that means your kid's schools, your police department, your library, your parks are not getting that money. And you'll notice we keep saying we're starved for money. We're twice as wealthy as we were in 1980, but we've got to close hospitals, and we've got to close schools, and we don't have money for all sorts of things like after-school programs, even though we're twice as wealthy. The second thing to think about is, imagine that you own Amy Goodman's or Juan's department store across the street. You suddenly have to compete with people whom the government is giving a huge leg up on. You think you would go broke after a while? Well, in fact, you will.

And I tell about a man named Jim Weaknecht who owned a little store in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. He sold fishing tackle, hunting gear, stuff like that. And the way he made his living in his little tiny store, enough that he was able to have his wife stay at home and raise their three kids full time, was by charging less than a company called Cabela's. Well, then Cabela's came to town. This little city of 4,000 people made a deal to give Cabela's $36 million to build a store. That's more than the city budget for that town for ten years. It's $8,000 for every man, woman, and child in that town to have this store. And even though he charged lower prices, he was pretty quickly run out of business.

That's not market capitalism, which is what Ronald Reagan said he was going to bring us. He said, you know, government's the problem, we need markets as a solution. Well, that's not the market. That's corporate socialism. And what we've gotten is corporate socialism for the politically connected rich-not all the rich, the politically connected rich-and market capitalism for everybody else.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And, of course, many of those folks need lobbyists to be able to get these kinds of breaks from the government, and you talk about the explosion of lobbyists and their influence on government.


Michael Capra 10 years, 4 months ago

where is all those green jobs you promised,,,not one,zero,nada,zilch,drum roll please kirk is going to tell us

Michael Capra 10 years, 4 months ago

go hold hands and tell me how many you said you were going to bring during election time,,,and still nothing

monkeyhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Looks like Mr. Simons' editorial struck a nerve with one of the targets.

These are things that companies look at when locating:

Regulation Taxes Wages

That is why Lawrence was left behind during the reign of terror by McClure's amigo puppets. I wonder if McClure ever had a real job outside the ivy walls? Mowing lawns with merrill does not count.

I doubt that the new CC will let him continue his Gore/Soros experimentation.

LogicMan 10 years, 4 months ago

"a Vo-Tech campus in Lawrence"

Hear, hear!

There surely are some small, private ones in town? What are they, and what do they teach?

How do we start a large one?

Any sites/buildings come to mind?

What trades need to be taught?

funkdog1 10 years, 4 months ago

right_thinker said: I was under the impression that no Wal-Mart and a domestic registry were going to transform Lawrence economy. Silly me.

Oh, Wal-Mart's going to transform the Lawrence economy all right. The Dillon's across the street will go out of business, and the Hy-Vee up the street will lose some. That's smart planning for ya!

canttakeitanymore 10 years, 4 months ago

Mr. McClure is just a confused professor. His ideas might work in a perfect world, and maybe when reality doesnt have to be discussed, but not in the real world.

This town is about dead.

Please review the January PC agenda - the reason there are only 2 REAL items on it is a direct result of Rundell, Shauner, Burass, etc.. you voted for em - hope you are happy.

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