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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.