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Letters to the Editor

Tax adds up

October 19, 2008

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To the editor:

Letter after letter from pundits for passing the T sales tax state that it is necessary in order for a very small group of the Lawrence population to be mobile within our community. These pundits have totally ignored the effect this tax will have on a major segment of our community, namely, the elderly living on a fixed income. The dollars consumed by this tax cannot be replaced. Once the dollars are gone, they're gone!

The well-done graphics on the front page of the Oct. 12 paper showed where much of the tax money would be collected. While folks on a fixed income would not likely buy school supplies or a new car, there is that possibility. Some major expenses left off the chart are necessities, such as clothing, telephone, cable TV an Internet, home and auto maintenance. When you say to yourself that they don't need this or that, think of your own needs. Would you do without TV? How about new clothes?

Look at what is coming in the next year for a home owner in Lawrence:

¢ a 15 percent increase in your electric bill.

¢ major increases in health care costs.

¢ continued increases in food costs.

¢ the annual real estate reappraisal.

¢ a school board that has never seen a tax increase they don't like.

If you are on a fixed income and add all these skyrocketing costs up, what would you do without? Food? Telephone? Home heating? Add up the bottom line on the front page chart and you come close to two weeks worth of food! The folks on a fixed income should not have to ask that question; therefore, I am voting "no" on the T.

Chuck Thomsen,
Lawrence

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

By that broad definition, k778, it's certainly no more social engineering than creating a situation where hundreds, if not thousands, of your fellow citizens get no use out the streets and roads they help pay for because they can't drive, for whatever reason.

kansas778 6 years, 2 months ago

bozo, you aren't a bus service, but considering how FEW people ride the empTy, it won't take many people to make up the slack. So get off your duff and give a couple people a ride. As far as "no discernible injury" that's a ridiculous argument. As long a tax isn't too much by itself then who cares? Come on, you guys with your other sales taxes and your property taxes seem to forget that they add up, along with your other cost of living increases, which was the point of the LTE. Also, while a few cents per day might not be much to an individual, what does that do to Lawrence's retail stores? Just one more reason to shop in Kansas City or Topeka, one more reason that dollars leave Lawrence, and the marginal businesses fail, costing the city jobs, and so ultimately causing real injury to people. This attitude of yours, that the taxpayers can take one more little hit for the team, ignores the other effects that taxes have.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

"Those without social phobias..."Corrections-- "Those WITH social phobias..."

notgiven 6 years, 2 months ago

I don't even live in Lawrence, so I have nothing to loose or gain from this proposal. In my opinion the city should vote it down. Some here are saying vote it in and fix it later. How short sighted of the commission. They should have spent some time to look are real ways to fix this situation by funding from the general budget, or by fixing the bus system first, then asking the tax payers. The people of Lawrence get an increase every year, be it school taxes, real estate appraisals, the city water bill, you name it. Look at the economy people, shouldn't we ALL start living within our means?

kansas778 6 years, 2 months ago

Bozo, BTW, anyone who supports the T is also a racist.

Chris Ogle 6 years, 2 months ago

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it.W.C. FieldsI know.... the topic of taxes and public transportation is not a joke. But humor is healthy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

"If you want to make sure seniors have a ride, do it yourself, don't force others to pay for what you are too lazy to do."I'm not a bus service, nor is it in my ability to become one. No other individual, or even group of individuals, in this town or any other, could take that on. Your suggestion is illogical and unworkable. That's why we have public transit. Does that mean that that the ideological sensibilities of some people might be offended? Sure, but that doesn't mean that people such as you have suffered any real injury. Even the (max) 25 cents a day this will cost you causes no discernible injury. When the benefits to even those who don't ride the bus, which for ideological reasons you are incapable of acknowledging, are factored in, that invalidates anyone's claim of injury.

Chris Ogle 6 years, 2 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "The government on the other hand is very inefficient. You and I work hard for our money, and I really don't want my taxes raised even more to pay for someone's insurance via the government."!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I am surprised that bozo supports the "t" but not Health care for those of us who can't afford it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

xbusguy-- the statement you attribute to me in your last post was not made by me. What is the point of your doing that?

unite2revolt 6 years, 2 months ago

In another point the health care that the govt currently runs now is very efficient, take a look at the the VA health care system.

Godot 6 years, 2 months ago

Right beobacther. Your's would be called a "gimmee, gimmee, gimmee" attitude.

Chris Ogle 6 years, 2 months ago

Bozo- Thanks for explaining.... I feel better now.

Jackson 6 years, 2 months ago

I am a (80) senior.NO NEW TAXES - especially for the EM - T!!!!!!I know several seniors who are seriously considering moving out of Lawrence - mostly because of the incompetent spend-thrift school board & city commissioners who don't have to live with the problems they propose.

kansas778 6 years, 2 months ago

Merrill will be along shortly with his cut and paste. I bet he's never given a ride to anyone in his life before.

LogicMan 6 years, 2 months ago

But if the fixed route T is redesigned to be faster and more cost effective, you might save money by using it. For example if you can scale back from two to one vehicle.Vote NO on questions 2 and 3 to force this redesign of the M-T.The Para-T can continue via an existing fund for a few months while the redesign is done. Would only take me 72 hours to do the redesign, if given one of those outrageous C of L consulting fees!

sjschlag 6 years, 2 months ago

"If you want to make sure seniors have a ride, do it yourself, don't force others to pay for what you are too lazy to do."This is pretty selfish logic, kansas778. Would you give seniors a ride? You're probably too busy working to provide the service, and don't have near enough resources to give everyone a ride who needs it. That's why we have a bus system in the first place- so that people who can't drive, choose not to drive, have a disability and can't drive, or are too old or too young to drive can have a feeling of independence. For being a free society, our auto-based infrastructure sure does limit the mobility of alot of taxpaying citizens. This whole argument that a private organization will "step in to fill the need" is total garbage. For years we had several organizations- Douglas County Senior Services, Independence Inc. and Cottonwood- who attempted to do just that. Guess what? They didn't have the resources to fulfill the transportation demands. They wanted this bus system so they could focus their services on people who live outside the city limits, or people who have more special needs than the T can accomodate. They could not, and still cannot operate enough vehicles to meet demand, they simply do not have the resources. Think about it, if your parent was unable to drive, would you take time out of your day to drive them around, or if there was a bus/paratransit system in place would you rather they used that, giving you the time to do your own important tasks and your parent the feeling of independence. Lastly- Voting "No" WILL NOT force a re-design of the "T". It will not take 6 months to re-design the system, it will not take 6 months to find more money to fund it. What voting "No" will do, and you guys on here don't seem to understand this, is send us to the back of a long line of other cities asking for federal grants that we already recieve, and would lose if there was no funding from the city. Voting "No" means no paratransit, no fixed route, no changes, no more efficient schedules, no buses-PERIOD! If there is a "No" vote it will likely be many years before we "re-design" the system, and given the snails pace at which things get done in this town (that aren't developent related) it will likely take much longer than that. Please vote "Yes" on question 2 and 3.

kansas778 6 years, 2 months ago

bozo, why so selfish and lazy? If you want to make sure seniors have a ride, do it yourself, don't force others to pay for what you are too lazy to do.

Chris Ogle 6 years, 2 months ago

Bozo- Public Transportation does not have to mean fixed-route transit. Many options exist, and have proven to be cost effective in smaller cities, like smaller "feeders" linked to existing transit.

WWoftheW 6 years, 2 months ago

Hawk;Once again. Get your facts straight. The city is the only bus system that is allowed federal tax dollars in this area. Park and ride is owned by the city becuase the city could get the funding to provide the park and ride system. Check with the city if you don't believe. The students have a very well run information campaign to support the T. They are informed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

"Voting no is voting not to steal other's money to pay for unwise and unused social engineering."It's a bus, not social engineering. Those without social phobias that prevent them from riding it will still have the option of driving their single occupancy vehicle, which is subsidized to a much greater degree than any bus.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

We can all agree that there are better ways to finance public transit than sales taxes, but to use the argument that it will hurt seniors on a fixed income, while ignoring the fact that senior citizens are one of the prime groups of people who need public transit is disingenuous at best. It's especially disingenuous considering that these taxes will cost a low-income individual no more than a dime a day, while having to find alternate forms of transportation will cost them literally hundreds of times that much money.So rather than taking the attitude of "the village has to be destroyed in order to save it," let's save public transit so that it can be improved. A new set of city commissioners elected in April can fix the funding mechanism and make sure that public transit is well-designed and implemented.

Chris Ogle 6 years, 2 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: Following the logic presented here, if you had a house with no insulation in it and couldn't afford the heating and cooling bill, you'd burn it down and go live under the bridge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I would be facing foreclosure. See the front page of LJWPlease don't forget your comment concerning Health Insurance!

kansas778 6 years, 2 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: It's a bus, not social engineering. *****It is social engineering. You want to use the power of the government to acquire the population's property and use it to fund your method of transportation. How we get around is part of "society" and you want to use the government to change that.

Chris Ogle 6 years, 2 months ago

bozo- Maybe it was not posted correctly but here what I read:18 October 2008 at 8:14 a.m.Suggest removal Permalinkjust_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "The government on the other hand is very inefficient. You and I work hard for our money, and I really don't want my taxes raised even more to pay for someone's insurance via the government."That is a very ironic statement, given that the US has by far the most inefficient (and expensive) healthcare system in the world, although calling it a "system" is a misnomer.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

Following the logic presented here, if you had a house with no insulation in it and couldn't afford the heating and cooling bill, you'd burn it down and go live under the bridge.

kansas778 6 years, 2 months ago

Beo--voting no is the unselfish thing to do. Voting no is voting not to steal other's money to pay for unwise and unused social engineering. Voting yes is selfishly putting the responsibility to provide transit to your neighbors on others. If someone you know needs a ride, give it to them yourself, don't steal others' money because you are too lazy to do anything about it yourself.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

No, xbusguy, you're looking at a post in which I quoted the poster (I don't remember whom) who actually made that statement in order to comment on it, and I strongly disagreed with it. Please pay more attention.

seriouscat 6 years, 2 months ago

It's not the T that needs to go. It's the city commissioners who saw fit to put funding for public transit on the chopping block while somehow having no trouble finding the money for a golf course, a big party downtown and other various frivolities. No one disagrees that the T needs some major changes, so as soon as it's local election time, let's vote for a commission that has a spine and will get it done.

Chris Ogle 6 years, 2 months ago

I am a senior who is on a fixed income. Every day I try to live within my means, and every day it gets tougher.NO new taxes!!!

Chris Ogle 6 years, 2 months ago

Jackson (Anonymous) says: I am a (80) senior.no new taxes - especially for the EM - T!!!!!!I know several seniors who are seriously considering moving out of Lawrence - mostly because of the incompetent spend-thrift school board & city commissioners who don't have to live with the problems they propose+++++++++++++++++++++++++Right on Jackson! Tell it like it is. I too, am a senior who is finding it too expensive to survive in this town.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

Can government be more efficient? Sure, we should all do what we can to make sure it moves in that direction, and I regret that this city commission has not been effective in doing so. But in this tax proposal, the decision comes down to a pretty simple question-- What will create more harm? Eliminating the public transit system, or passing a very small tax that will save it and allow us to make substantial changes that will make it a much more efficient and usable system?For those who assert that public transit has no value, the answer is obviously to vote "no." For others the answer is very different, especially if they don't share the ideological position that government is inherently evil, and it's better to make no attempt at all to solve a problem if it means using the tool of government to do it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

"People can take drive, bike, take a bus (if the market is large enough to sustain one) or walk."That's a mighty broad generalization, and it's just not supported by the facts. And the market just doesn't work for certain things-- otherwise, police, fire protection, road construction and maintenance and many other things would all be done privately. For some things, the "market" just doesn't work, although I know it pains you to hear such heresy.

sunflour 6 years, 2 months ago

hawk, the only thing at Park & Ride that was purchased with federal dollars through the city was the capital purchase of the original 5 buses. All of the money to run those buses DOES come out of parking dollars, and not out of the city funds! However if the city closes shop, then what happens to the buses is at the discretion of the FTA.

kansas778 6 years, 2 months ago

ahh, but bozo, anyone who purchases a product not made within walking distance of their home benefits from the streets and roads they help pay for. Roads are flexible, allowing for a choice of transportation. People can take drive, bike, take a bus (if the market is large enough to sustain one) or walk. When the empTy gets voted down, will you agree that the will of the people has been served?

KsTwister 6 years, 2 months ago

If the city can get funding for Park and Ride then it should not be placing the burden on overtaxed citizens. Also I don't think it is fair to have Douglas county voters making that decision for a city service. Redo it or lose it. NO it is.

kansas778 6 years, 2 months ago

bozo, I didn't want to have to tell you this, because I know how much state control means to you, but some states and cities have started selling their assets to private companies to raise money--for example, their roads.

sjschlag 6 years, 2 months ago

"I wish Lawrence could sell their roads and streets to private companies and the parking lots as well. You see, then the streets and parking lots downtown would be on the property tax rolls. Let's start with Wakarusa Drive from 6th to Clinton Parkway and see how much it brings."How would you get people to pay these companies for the roads then? Do you really think a private company would step in and run the streets?

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