Archive for Thursday, April 29, 2010

Statehouse Live: Lawrence Chamber of Commerce rejects signing onto tax increase letter

April 29, 2010


— The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce has rejected joining a coalition of other local chambers that have called for a tax increase to help the state out of its current budget crisis.

The Lawrence chamber’s board of directors decided Wednesday not to sign onto a letter that had been distributed by 14 other chambers to top state officials.

In that March letter, those chambers said relying only on further budget cuts would harm basic services that provide the quality of life that helps economic development.

“If revenue must be enhanced for basic government services, our chambers can support rational state revenue enhancements,” the letter said. The position was in direct opposition to the statewide Kansas Chamber, which has called for no tax increases.

The state has cut nearly $1 billion from what was once a $6.4 billion budget, and still faces an estimated $500 million revenue shortfall, which must be addressed during the wrap-up session that started Wednesday.

But the Lawrence chamber said the coalition’s call for revenue enhancements was “vague and open-ended.” The board also said it was unsure how any potential tax increase would effect businesses and the community.

“While we appreciate the intention of the letter, our members believe that the lack of clarity in the current language is problematic,” said Matthew Hoy, chairman of the board of directors.

Hoy said the chamber supports public schools and higher education and it encourages Gov. Mark Parkinson and the Legislature to provide adequate funding to them.

“We support a strong educational system at both the K-12 and university level. It is good for the community and good for business,” Hoy said.

The chambers that signed the tax-increase letter were Arkansas City, Dodge City, Emporia Area, Grant County, Greater Kansas City, Greater Topeka, Hutchinson-Reno County, Hays Area, Kansas City, Kan., Manhattan Area, Northeast Johnson County, Olathe, Overland Park and Salina Area.


farva 7 years, 12 months ago

The State needs to cap local option sales tax like other states do. With all the ridiculous extras put on by locals, the tax rate is maxed out. If they increase any sales tax, we will be at a 10% rate, or nearly so, in many areas! The highest sales tax of any state I've ever visited. No problem with raising the state sales tax briefly, but cap local option taxes at 1% for county and 1% for city. Quit letting all the general repairs and extras come out of sales swimming pools, road repairs, skate parks, urban development special tax districts....heck even KCK just passed a sales tax to add sidewalks to residential areas. That is what property taxes are for!

getreal 7 years, 12 months ago

Let me tell the Lawrence businesses how it will effect them. I will be shopping in Johnson County and Topeka to support the businesses that support our schools. Shame on Lawrence. You can't just say you support schools, you have to walk the walk.

Alice Lieberman 7 years, 12 months ago

I completely agree with getreal. Hard to believe it's the LAWRENCE Chamber that is balking about ponying up to support what we all think is critically important.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 12 months ago

At least the local sales taxes was voted on.

getreal 7 years, 12 months ago

Not to worry, since the Lawrence Chamber won't support a state tax increase, you can just wait for the Yoder budget to pass and then have your property taxes increased. Time to look for a new place to live.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 12 months ago

The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors -

Take some time and consider whether you want to continue supporting those who won't support our schools. Even though the makeup of the board clearly recognizes the importance of education to this community, apparently most board members are still in the dark.

I wonder, what would happen to these business owners with no USD 497 or no KU?

mr_right_wing 7 years, 12 months ago

Thank you for protecting my wallet.

I know we have the 'tea party', but I think I need to start something new; the turnip movement. Let's send each of our politicians a turnip and attach a note telling them to draw their extra taxes from that!!

Kansas Turnip Movement --UNITE!

cato_the_elder 7 years, 12 months ago

Hats off to our local Chamber for having the guts to say "No."

texburgh 7 years, 12 months ago

I'm with getreal. Time to reconsider my commitment to spend my income in Lawrence businesses and keep my money local.It's clear that our chamber has no interest in preserving our public schools, maintaining funding for KU, saving the Bert Nash mental health center, or reducing the waiting lists for our residents with physical or developmental disabilities. Their action gives support to the Yoder budget which forces a tax shift of massive proportions. Taxes will go up. There is no avoiding it. Under the Senate plan, they will be state taxes spread out and distributed equitably and they will not be residential property taxes. Under the Yoder plan which is essentially endorsed by the Lawrence Chamber, your local residential property taxes will go up. Our chamber is clearly dominated by people who have no concern for the residents of Lawrence - only on how to get into their wallets. Pathetic fools.

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