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Letters to the Editor

Out of choices

December 5, 2009

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To the editor:

Daily, we receive bad news about our state and local budgets. It’s time our “leaders” faced reality. Kansas has been in a budget deficit crisis for four years. Yet it continued to spend. Moaning and gnashing of teeth won’t help. In some cases, tax breaks helped cause this problem. In others, restrictive policies drove employers away, or pet projects of legislators inflated the budget. Still others were legitimate programs that grew beyond our ability to support them.

The state, county, city and school district have no choice but to reduce their expenditures. That means cuts across the board for every program. Yes, this will hurt. Some programs are more deserving of funding than others, but the truth is that current spending levels cannot be sustained. Raising taxes seems like a way to increase revenues, but it’s counterproductive. State and local revenues are down because we, consumers, have little to spare to boost the economy. Take from my paycheck, or business income, and I’ll be less likely to spend, hire or expand, meaning less revenue for all these entities.

The state, county, city and school district need to cease some operations, hold taxes and fees at current levels, and reduce staffs, programs and hours of operation. If they continue business as usual, like the water department, which anticipates a 8-10 percent increase in fees next year, the economy will continue to shrink.

It’s way past time we held the line on spending and gave the people who produce in this economy some breathing room.

Ken Meyer,

Lawrence

Comments

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

The Free Lunch WE taxpayers cannot afford: http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

Still A Bad Idea http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

Were the tax cuts more than the state should have cut? = fiscal irresponsibility

If a tax increase were initiated would that increase merely bring the state of Kansas back to 1999 levels which just might be the saving grace?

Giving tax dollars back in fat times perhaps was not being fiscal responsible either. Kansas public education has had many rainy days since then.

In recent times it appears as though USD 497 has been a reckless spender. For instance spending money on new athletics instead of repairing existing buildings: http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/oct/how_should_school_district_pay_20_million_maintena/

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years ago

Raising taxes during an economic downturn would be countercyclical. What we need to do during this recession is reduce taxes further, to provide relief to working families. Lower government collections will also prove to state legislators that our government can function well with far fewer dollars.

Then, when the economy begins to rebound - thanks in part to tax relief - government collections will begin to once again rise.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

The more taxes get cut at state level the more they may rise at local levels.

Working people need jobs that will provide them with the ability to pay their own way.

Why are we in this mess?

The republican party are masters at putting millions upon millions upon millions of people out of work. All they do with a remarkable degree of consistency is wreck the economy,initiate huge movements of shipping jobs abroad aka the Reagan-Bush Global Economy and try to wreck social security and medicare.

Is there a definite pattern? Absolutely!

  1. The Reagan/ Bush Home Loan Scandal http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  2. The Bush/Cheney Home Loan Scandal http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  3. What did Bush and Henry Paulson do with the bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

  4. Why did GW Bush Lie About Social Security?( This would cost taxpayers $4 trillion and wreck the economy) http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html

Is anyone being prosecuted for fraud? Not yet.

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

.....and empty busses (we pay out the nose for) continue to aimlessly roam the streets of Lawrence.....

Jimo 5 years ago

"What we need to do during this recession is reduce taxes further, to provide relief to working families."

Yes, we need to do this. Unfortunately, we cannot. Politicians angling for votes rather than being prudent stewards of the peoples' interest in years past decided to cut taxes during the 'good times' rather than get public finances in order.

Now, in the harshest recession in memory, we have little choice but to raise revenues from strapped households. Sorry, Mr. Meyer, but in the end the piper must be paid and the wages of past sin borne.

But the silver lining is that this is a learning opportunity for you - somewhere down the road when the economy has recovered (2017?) some whippersnapper of a politician will say 'let's cut taxes to keep the prosperity going' and you'll have an opportunity to respond and thereby demonstrate your ability to apply experience to intelligence and tell him to get packing. (Or just as likely you show how little you grasp while you exclaim 'yes, cutting taxes is the universal medicine.')

parrothead8 5 years ago

mr_right_wing (Anonymous) says… …..and empty busses (we pay out the nose for) continue to aimlessly roam the streets of Lawrence…..

You've really got a thing for the bus system, huh? I guess there may be some empty buses, but 90% of the time I ride the bus there are at least a half dozen other people on the bus. I ride the bus 2-3 times per week, and at least half the time I'm on a bus that's at least half-full.

You pay out the nose, do you? What's the transit portion of sales tax? Something like 1/4 of a penny per dollar? How much of your taxes goes to pay for road improvements? How many more cars do you think would be on the roads if Lawrence had no bus system?

Public transit is one of the answers towards making our cities more livable. Sometimes quality of life is more important than the almighty dollar.

Bob Harvey 5 years ago

Jimo states: But the silver lining is that this is a learning opportunity for you - somewhere down the road when the economy has recovered (2017?) some whippersnapper of a politician will say 'let's cut taxes to keep the prosperity going' and you'll have an opportunity to respond and thereby demonstrate your ability to apply experience to intelligence and tell him to get packing. (Or just as likely you show how little you grasp while you exclaim 'yes, cutting taxes is the universal medicine.')

A quick question, if I might. I seem to remember having the federal government bringing in more money in tax revenue after taxes were cut. If that is true then it would seem to me that spending is more of the issue, not the amount of dollars entering into the government coffers.

When, in the most recent history of this country, has the government ever spent only the money that they raise, regardless of the amounts? Of course I could assume that you simply feel that our government simply knows best what to do with "our" money.

7texdude 5 years ago

Besides corn, what do Kansas businesses make? Is anyone buying their products? Before we discuss the ins and outs of taxes, gov't, etc., we might want to look at this first.

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

merrill, we all know you miss President Bush. He's been out of office for most of a year now. You have to perk up & find new targets for your obsessive posting.

bearded_gnome 5 years ago

so, if one reads Merrill's blather, we find he's actually calling for increased taxes during a severe economic distress? okay, as misguided as Mr. Obama.

reduce taxes did actually increase tax receipts.

lte-writer, good letter, mostly. summarized: cut spending and dn't up the taxes. good advice, but you got a 2X4 to apply to legislators' heads?

notajayhawk 5 years ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

"Giving tax dollars back in fat times perhaps was not being fiscal responsible either."

So you're saying the state should continue to levy high levels of taxes when they don't need the money? THAT's fiscally responsible, moron? Maybe to a liberal loon that think's he's entitled to live off someone else's money.

How about if the state lives within its means - and only spends what it can reasonably take in? What happened to THAT definition of fiscally responsible?

grimpeur 5 years ago

Drivers, not bus riders or bus companies, are the moochers. Single-occupancy drivers, driving past coworkers houses, past their neighbors' workplaces, with 5-8 empty seats in the car, often less than two miles each way (especially LHS, FSHS, and KU students and staff), often in a car twice as big as they need.

Short distances, empty cars (stored empty for 9-10 hours a day), lazy drivers. These are the reasons the sales tax had to be implemented--to keep up with the street damage caused by halfwit car-junkie drivers who can't imagine traveling more than a quarter-mile without their cars. The gas taxes, reg taxes, and other car-related fees

don't come close

to paying for the roads, and the typical lazy, single-occupancy, 2-miles-or-less commuter is the reason.

Get off yer arse and walk or bike, ya bums. Fixing the streets so you can continue playing with your little toys every day costs me money. More than the T, more than new sidewalks, more than any bike lane. All this recreational driving is expensive.

parrothead8 5 years ago

Healthcare_Moocher (Anonymous) says… Sounds like a typical moocher to me. It is all about you and how you get to where you are going isn't it parrothead8 and to hell with those who work to try to feed their families and/or provide employment to those who want to work.

Right. I'm a moocher. That's what I do. Mooch. Going to school and/or working 40+ hours a week for the last 30+ years, with never more than a week between jobs, never taking a government handout, never making more than $38k/year along the way and always paying my taxes on time. I'm a moocher.

I ride my bike or take the bus most of the time because it's cheaper than driving my car. I can barely pay my bills and afford my health insurance, and those things are way more important to me than being able to drive my car, so yes, it IS about me...and all the other people struggling to pay their bills and afford their health insurance. But according to you, people like us are bums and vagrants. I guess that makes you an elitist.

I dare you to take the bus to work for a week. Ask everyone you meet on that bus why they're on the bus. Nobody on the bus is just riding around killing time...they're going to work, they're going to the doctor (who employs other people), they're going to school (a place that employs LOTS of people), they're going to the store to spend money that supports the shop owner and the people the shop owner employs.

Oh, and if you were ON the bus, you wouldn't have to drive left of center. And there'd be one less car on the road.

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