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Letters to the Editor

‘No’ to taxes

July 13, 2010

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To the editor:

Just what are our civic leaders smoking? Increasing taxes in a recession? They need to understand that we don’t have any more money to give them. That’s why our per capita spending is lower than cities of similar size. Take more in taxes and we will spend even less. Better they should set their budget at 90 percent of last year’s revenue and live with in the income they have. Yes, that means delaying projects and reducing the services that are currently addressed. But read my lips, “WE DON’T HAVE ANY MORE MONEY TO GIVE YOU.”

Don’t give us that line: “We have cut our services to the bone.” We, the taxpaying public, are the ones cutting our budgets every day and deferring necessary items until we can afford them. We say: “No” to the library expansion, “no” to the school district tax hike, “no” to the county tax hike, and “no” to any more debt. We get to enjoy paying 9 cents (in some cases 10 cents) on every dollar spent in sales tax now and it does take a toll on what we can afford.

We are the ones earning substantially less than other communities like Lawrence. We are the ones who have to choose between necessities and discretionary items. We are the ones nursing that car and appliance another year. We are the ones juggling the increases in utilities and city service bills. Enough! We don’t have any more money to give you.

Ken Meyer,

Lawrence

Comments

VTHawk 4 years, 6 months ago

Well said.

Lawrence has always fallen victim to the following logic:

Time are good, we can afford to increase spending on projects! Times are bad, we can't afford to cut anyone's benefits--raise taxes!

This time everyone's cash is gone. Sorry, but no can do on the tax hikes.

gr 4 years, 6 months ago

You got it figured out!

See, it's like a ratcheting mechanism. They have "excess" money so instead of saving during times of plenty, they create new ways to spend it. Then during times of famine, they say we got to maintain our "services" (such as porn in the park or whatnot). So, to create the same amount of dollars, they raise the mill levy, stealing more from the people.

Then, in times of plenty, that increased mill levy generates "excess" funds.....

Chris Ogle 4 years, 6 months ago

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes................ I feel like I'm being taxed out of town. I bet I'm not the only one either.

kansasmutt 4 years, 6 months ago

We need to face the fact that our county leaders do not give a rats @%s about us common folk. They are showing us they only listen to the Chamber and those who have the money to voice a louder opinion and have the time to rub shoulders with them. They have NO CLUE as to what we are dealing with today and what we are giving up, just to survive. The following are the increases i have had in the last 18 months. 1-Auto insurance (23%) 2-Homeowners insurance (28%). 3- Real estate taxes(34%) with school bonds. 4- Sales tax (1%). 5- Gasoline(9%). 6-Electric service (26%). 7- Phone service (8%). 8- Natural gas (15%). 9- Health insurance (droped cant afford it any more). 10- Food (25%) 10- Life insurance ( dropped, cant afford it ) Income, down 25% due to cutbacks .This is just the tip of things . The $200.00 at the end of the month that i used to have to spend on extras is gone and now i am going in the hole $175.00 a month. This is going to catch up with me and everyone else real soon and then we are broke and loose homes and everything we have. This clown act we have leading our county is about to put us all under and they dont care.

avoice 4 years, 6 months ago

And don't forget that every service business and individual from your hair dresser to your tax accountant has increased their fees to try to be able to afford all the above-mentioned increases in their own costs of living. I've been keeping a strict monthly budget for several years now, on a spreadsheet, and I can say without a doubt that the overall effect of all these increases over the past year has been to add 27% to our debits while, as you say, our income has actually been reduced by about 25%. That makes almost a 50% swing when you add it all together. With no hope of increased income in sight, every added expense is just whittling away our ability to pay our bills.

meggers 4 years, 6 months ago

I would concur with the fact that the cost of virtually every service has risen considerably, but you display your partisanship when you claim that it has only been over the past 18 months. I've experienced many of the same increases, particularly in insurance, utilities, fuel, etc., however it has been going on for far longer than 18 months. I would grant you that things seem much more compounded since the economy tanked, but to lay that all at the feet of the current administration completely overlooks the willful greed and systemic regulatory failures that have been occurring now for decades.

The majority of the increases you listed occurred at the hands of private market entities. I know the government always makes a convenient target and I agree that there is plenty of blame to go around, but it makes no sense whatsoever to blame the current administration for all of your financial troubles- particularly because assuming you work, you actually received a tax CUT under the current administratioon- both the payroll tax cut, and the Making Work Pay tax credit that you received on your federal taxes.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

Let the Voters Decide When Spending Their Tax Dollars! Why ?

Simply because the Chamber,City Commission and Planning Commission cannot be trusted to make the most practical and prudent decisions. They are puppets of the real estate industry.

Let The Voters Decide every November!

Residential growth does not pay for itself because the funding of revenues generated by residential does not pay for the services they require from a municipality.

*Yes or No on light industrial sites – Let The Voters Decide Every November!

Let the voters decide on new retail development. Being more than one million square feet over built is an indication voting taxpayers need to become an active part of the equation annually.

How many is the question?

Which sites are fiscally prudent?

What does the Cost of Community Services Indicate?

What do the market impact studies Indicate?

The only real urgency is the developers lack of patience and accustomed to getting their way upon demand which is usually at a cost to taxpayers with no real benefit in the end. Unless tax increases to increase the wealth of local developers is considered a benefit .....NOT.

Expanding the tax base does not work in bedroom communities! Growth over the last 20 years has been promoted based on a "boom town economy" model = unsustainable and high taxes.

Why Do YOU Think Lawrence Economic Growth Is Lagging? http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/sep/why_do_you_think_lawrence_growth_lagging/

Hoots 4 years, 6 months ago

Puppets of the Real Estate industry? Are you serious? That horse is dead so you can stop whipping it. Actually, higher property taxes be another nail in the coffin to the Lawrence market. Higher taxes effect affordability and put people out of the market. They also hurt landlords because the tax increases often can't be made up with higher rents. This efffects some big boys but many average Mom and Pop owners as well. Explain to me how this benefits anyone that doesn't work for the city or the school distrct. Someone needs an economics lesson.

no_thanks 4 years, 6 months ago

Tell me again, how do developer's benefit from vacant retail space? Do you have any other thoughts besides the same old drivel about how growth is bad (of which most of us disagree with you)?

jafs 4 years, 6 months ago

Well, they must benefit somehow, since they're not lowering prices to get people into them.

My best guess is that there's some sort of tax deduction that's useful to them.

Otherwise how do you explain the long-term vacancies of the Tanger mall, for example?

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

Yes the city should always maintain its existing resources such as streets,sidewalks and the wonderful resource known as the public library. Let’s allow the taxpayers to decide.

Yes is my vote.

However I would like to introduce a fiscally responsible taxpayer friendly proposal. Options the city can live with that include no increase in taxes. Hats off to this concept.

The one cent sales tax that was approved in 1995 can generate up to $14,036,301 as of 2009. Obviously more in better years

The city portion of the county 1% sales tax can generate up $8,609,331 as of 2009 obviously more in better years.

The two together = $22,645,672 again obviously more in better years. So I say let’s use a portion of this to finance our library reconstruction. Let’s use the number 10% of this tax dollar revenue annually.

Choice: A. City/County tax revenue combined using 10% annually = 2,264,567. 20 for 10 years = project paid off with existing sales tax revenue

B.City sales tax only using 10% annually of city tax revenue only = $1,403,630.10 for 15 years with existing sales tax revenue

C. personal property tax increase ….. my last but least desirable choice.

Let the voters decide. The tax dollars after all belong to we the tax paying citizen. City Hall would need to adjust it's spending accordingly with regard to future park and rec projects. I think taxpayers could live with that.

It's up to the citizens to persuade our city government to make these choices available on the ballot.

I will vote yes. However taxpayers should be provided options by which this project could be funded. NO tax increase and using existing tax dollar resources is by far the most practical.

gr 4 years, 6 months ago

Merrill, was there any issue of the current tax amounts not providing for "streets,sidewalks and the wonderful resource known as the public library"?

But, speaking of streets, how many times should tax money be spent to tear up and repair the same road before any cars drive on it?

Yeah, whatever, maybe the contractor ate it, but bet he bids higher next time which costs more tax money.

There is waste going on even if it's "existing resources". Lot's of waste.

But, the government is only spending money as they do their own. If someone can't manage their own money and are in debt, don't vote them in office.
Vote them OUT!

no_thanks 4 years, 6 months ago

And you support the library proposal. Tell me how that pays for itself. IT DOESN'T. Libraries, if they stay in their current form, are a generation away from extinction. I'd be for the library investing in technology or receiving a "face lift", but $18MM is grossly irresponsible.

avoice 4 years, 6 months ago

Well said, Ken Meyer and kansasmutt!!

Lathrup 4 years, 6 months ago

A hearty YES!!! to what Ken said in the first place. What I know for sure is that I live on a fixed income. and anymore taxes and I will have to sell my home. Just can't afford it anymore. I'm already deferring food to buy medicine. Sad deal but there it is.

mr_right_wing 4 years, 6 months ago

The well is dry! I feel really bad about all the worthwhile organizations that need money that simply is not there. Fixing up the library sounds great too, but that is one luxury we cannot afford right now. If you can, please step up and do so, I for one would be very grateful!

Our elected officials seem to think we all have extra stashes of cash in our mattresses, and that's what they want to get their grubby, greedy and corrupt hands on; but sorry, ain't nothing there!!

As I keep reminding you blooksuchers: TURNIPS!!

Charles L Bloss Jr 4 years, 6 months ago

I agree and wrote a letter to my commissioner saying essentially the same thing. We can't afford to go out to eat, to go to the movies, etc.. It all goes to taxes or bills. Taxes are the worst. Every time they raise taxes, that is one less thing we can afford. We have no more money to pay. Why can't they run the government the way we have to live. If you can't afford something, wait until you can. Thank you, Lynn

jafs 4 years, 6 months ago

Actually, many people do exactly what the government does, which is to run up their debt to buy what they want even if they can't afford it.

CLARKKENT 4 years, 6 months ago

GREAT LETTER TO THE EDITOR. THIS NEEDS TO BE SAID.

HOW COME WE ALL HAVE TO TIGHTEN OUR BELTS, BUT GOVERNMENT DOES NOT? CUT SOME SERVICES, LAY OFF SOME PEOPLE, ALL OTHER FACETS HAVE. TIMES ARE TOUGH, SO NO MORE TAXES.

Alexander Neighbors 4 years, 6 months ago

I wonder how much money the city spent on perusing the yellow house owners in case that has still not gone to trail 5 years later ?

Stop the waste !

kansasmutt 4 years, 6 months ago

The clock is ticking for the County. If this tax increase happens, i am going to move my business from Douglas county and let the bank have my home. That will mean 2 years with no tax revenue from it and a loss of $100,000.00 to the county from business taxes and the loss of sales tax revenue. I am just 1 or many poised to leave Douglas County for more business friendly counties.Many are giving breaks to get new business ventures into thier towns and counties. I see that our leaders wont get on here to talk with us and get a feel for what we are dealing with. It is sad to see them just blow us off and do what is going to hurt thousands of us. They dont care, they dont give a crap about us folks. Cant wait to see them give up the home they love and to see them fail, will make my day. I will wait until they decide this tax deal and then , well, we shal see. Its not looking good at this time.

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