To the editor:
This letter regards the economic issues facing Douglas County property owners, specifically increases in real estate property taxes. I’ve expressed my concerns to commissioners and school board members as to the impact increased taxes will have on property owners and local businesses. Eight of the 15 elected officials responded to my comments. Their responses ranged from “form” letters to indifference to self congratulations. It’s no coincidence that a disconnect exists between our elected officials and the local majority, inasmuch as many of these officials work for government entities.
There’s been no serious discussion for the need to lay off or reduce wages for county and city employees. In fact, just the opposite has occurred with wage increases for many public employees. With the stated concern these “highly skilled” people will leave Lawrence for other cities, it’s a risk we may have to endure. Only City Commissioner Lance Johnson has had the courage to attempt to rein in employee compensation.
These are difficult times in Lawrence. We have no job growth, minimal population growth and local taxing bodies unwilling to exercise fiscal restraint. Without decisive reductions in employee payroll, we will be revisiting property and sales tax increases very soon. It’s disconcerting that the voting electorate continues to choose candidates so disconnected from those paying for their free-spending decisions. The end result is a provincial, elitist, socially liberal community devoid of the economic opportunities that made Lawrence the envy of our neighboring cities for decades. Lawrence will ignore these concerns at its own economic peril.