Archive for Thursday, September 4, 2008

Organization aims to shed light on local sales tax questions

Before voters go to the polls in November - where they will be faced with three proposed sales tax questions - members of the Local Americans for Prosperity helped provide some answers tonight.

September 4, 2008


Election 2008

In-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues, all leading up to the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.

Before Lawrence voters head to the polls Nov. 4 where they will be faced with three proposed sales tax questions, a local grassroots organization on Wednesday helped provide some answers.

Ballot questions filled with "lots of convoluted terms" and commas are an English professor's nightmare and are too hard to understand, said Eric Haar, a Lawrence resident who works in financial services in Topeka.

This fall, voters will be asked to vote on a 0.05 percent and a 0.02 percent sales tax increase for the public transportation system and a 0.03 percent increase for infrastructure projects.

At the meeting, attended by two people, Haar, and Bill Reynolds, a retired postal worker and member of the Lawrence branch of Americans for Prosperity, along with Jim Mullins, field director for the organization, explained the costs and funding of the T.

"Everybody who buys anything in Lawrence is going to be looking at a sales tax," Reynolds said. "If passed, the two issues are going to generate about $3.2 million for the T. That's something we all pay : and I think we should all be concerned and educated about what it costs and what is being provided."

The speakers stressed that it's important for city leaders as well as taxpayers to prioritize wants and needs to avoid unnecessary spending, especially when it comes to the T.

Reynolds said the majority of its riders are paying less than 7 percent of its annual operation costs while taxpayers are paying 93 percent. He instead would like to see options provided to the public such as a voucher system for the "transportation dependent."

Ultimately, Reynolds said, "we should hold government accountable for being frugal as the people have to be with their money."

Julie Hack, who attended the meeting, said, "Most people are going to say that they support the T to a certain extent, but there are a lot of people I think who have reasons not to, in as broad a perspective as we're discussing, so we just need to have some education."

Keeping abreast "as to what's going on, the better off we're all going to be when it comes time to vote," she said.


Chris Ogle 9 years, 6 months ago

Most taxpayers would be shocked to learn how much the T is costing us. 7% recovery from the users is about right. I am glad someone is attempting to explain the true cost/ tax burden of the T.

Phil Minkin 9 years, 6 months ago

If both proposals for the T pass, it will mean .25 cents for every $100 spent. Very little for such an important service.

LogicMan 9 years, 6 months ago

Vote early, vote often, and vote no. The benefits, to a very few, don't even come close to the burden of the costs imposed on all of us.Then go back and redesign the bus system to something more logical and economical.

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 6 months ago

foodboy,It will actually mean 25 cents, not .25 cents. And that all adds up when it comes to a family's budget. The government already has us so nickled-and-dimed that they don't deserve any more of our money. No to higher taxes.

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 6 months ago

jafs,It's $1 to ride the T, but the cost to operate the T is over $8 per ride. If the city commission gets its way, the ratio will increase to $1/$10. Those numbers will likely never come close to matching. It's time to sell the emp-T's buses on ebay and provide T employees with career counseling.

Solutions101 9 years, 6 months ago

Hey Moocher,You can pay a taxicab $7 to go ANYWHERE in Lawrence. Do we taxpayers owe you anything? You work... ok, so does everybody else, and we're not asking for a handout. You should be paying for what you want. Capitalism, anyone? I personally believe riding a bike is a really great means of city transportation. Vote NO to the T that destroy our roads and pollute our city while creating a large overall deficit in which Lawrence will never be able to overcome if the T still exists.Please support a merge with KU. Please support government funding to KU for using their bus system. KU has agreed to public transit already with discounts for riders, but the city is not providing KU with any of their public transportation funds while EVERY KU student is being FORCED to pay ~$75/semester whether or not they ride the buses. The ridership has only expanded to the ones who would walk or ride their bike to class. Support the renovation of roads, sidewalks and a more bike-friendly Lawrence! (-->From the money the government already has.)

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 6 months ago

xbusguy,You are correct. But the emp-T fanatics don't care about recoverable costs. They want to puff up their chests and tell their liberal friends on the east and west coasts that Lawrence is "progressive" because it offers valuable "services" such as a bloated, wasteful and bankrupt government transport system like the emp-T.

jafs 9 years, 6 months ago

What if the system were designed better, so that more of the population could use it, and the fares raised to cover a more appropriate percentage of overall costs?

Janet Lowther 9 years, 6 months ago

How much does a dollar of property tax cost a typical Kansas taxpayer? $0.75, since it is deductible on your federal taxes.How much does a dollar of sales tax cost a typical Kansas taxpayer? A whole dollar.Vote NO!

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