Letters to the Editor

Taxed enough

July 16, 2010

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To the editor:

After wading past Mr. Stauffer’s inane letter concerning the virtues of government and the evils of business (Public Forum, July 13), I made it to Mr. Meyer’s comments. Is it possible that anyone reading his thoughts doesn’t understand them? Do people in government at all levels not understand the “taxed enough already” (TEA) movement? People have had enough.

But my question since the news broke of the desire of the county to increase the mill levy almost 17 percent is: Why? Why now? Are their visions for spending our money to be lost if not immediately implemented? Can we not wait until better times to “plant protective preservation into farm fields, historic sites, and other culturally sensitive areas,” whatever that is. Is now the perfect time to bankroll community objectives that have languished for lack of specific funding? I submit that the answer is “No.”

Economic development has been talked about for years, yet many people know full well Lawrence has not been a friendly place to do business. I’m sure that pleases Mr. Stauffer, but it has done little to improve our overall tax base. Credit for that can be laid at the city and county’s doorstep. So, now, when many of us are struggling to keep or find a job, maintain ownership of our homes, educate our children, etc., we face this, on top of increased water, sewer, trash rate increases.

I have to live on what I can earn; Douglas County, you do the same.

Comments

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

Unfriendly to business and taxpayers is flooded markets and looks like this:

By Kim McClure

July 24, 2009

To the editor:

The July 14 editorial asks, “What’s downtown going to look like five, 10 or 15 years from now?” The answer can be known, and the picture is not pretty.

Lawrence has enough spending to support about 4.1 million square feet of retail space, but the City Commission permitted developers to expand the supply to over 5.5 million square feet.

Lawrence has too much retail space chasing too few vendors, which means that many stores go empty, especially in the older shopping centers like downtown.

The surplus development has stalled redevelopment plans downtown and has pushed the vacancy rates so high that disinvestment and blight now threaten. Investment, both public and private, is wasted. The taxpayers’ $8 million parking garage stands largely empty. The Hobbs-Taylor building and the 600 block of Massachusetts should be the top performing spaces in the community, but they have significant vacancies.

The recession has contributed to the problem, but had we properly managed our growth we would be much better off.

The developers’ short-term gain is now our long-term loss. Managed growth would have prevented much of the problem and would have protected and enhanced our downtown.

It will take many, many years to absorb this surplus space and, until this happens, it will be hard for downtown to compete. We can only look forward to many years of high vacancy and disinvestment. We need a City Commission that knows how to pace the growth of supply so as to protect our unique downtown.

McClure is from Lawrence

Basic findings: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/jul/24/retail-space/?letters_to_editor

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

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

Simply because the Chamber,City Commission and Planning Commission cannot seem to make the most practical and prudent decisions.

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. Our tax dollars are put at risk without our permission.

Let The Voters Decide every November!

How many is the question?

Which sites are fiscally prudent?

What does the Cost of Community Services Indicate? A Cost of Community Services Study can indicate what growth is paying back and what is not so I'm told.

What do the market impact studies Indicate? 3 0pinions from outside Lawrence circles would be prudent.

Are tax increases to increase the wealth of local developers considered a benefit .....NO!

Growth over the last 20 years has been promoted based on a "boom town economy" model which is unsustainable and leads to higher taxes as we have been discovering.

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

grimpeur 4 years, 9 months ago

"many people know full well Lawrence has not been a friendly place to do business."

Another damn liar.

The truth is that business in this town has pretty much written its own rules, to the detriment of neighbors, codes, and, too often, common sense.

grammaddy 4 years, 9 months ago

Really? I can think of dozens of businesses that were here when I got here and are gone now. Unless you're in the pizza business.

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 9 months ago

Liar? Really?

Employers live under a constant threat of the city implementing a business-killing "living wage."

Sales taxes keep increasing. We had three new sales taxes foisted upon consumers and businesses in 2008 to pay for the emp-T.

The threat of higher property taxes makes residents less willing to spend money in the city (or anywhere else).

Unfortunately, we the city is quick to sue to stop development it doesn't like. Think of the frivolous lawsuit which delayed the construction of the new Wal Mart at 6th and Wakarusa.

Environmental activists have stonewalled the completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway. This unnecessary delay makes transporting goods to market more expensive.

I could go on...

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Oh those poor businesses and people living under the "threat" of this or that.

Many businesses have received tax abatements in exchange for agreements that they haven't fulfilled.

TIF's, TDD's, and now CID's are all ways to give businesses and developers more money, and are being used here.

The sales taxes were voted on, and passed by a majority of those who chose to vote - democracy in action.

With the small exception the the PLC, Lawrence's city commission has been made up of developer/business friendly commissioners for many years.

I could go on ...

Centerville 4 years, 9 months ago

So, sales taxes are up 20%, property taxes may go up 17%. Effective unemployment is up 250%. And there are some people who still think that there's nothing so wonderful as a strong central government.

whatadrag 4 years, 9 months ago

I think merrill just reads the title of the article and then copies any article he feels is similar

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

"Do people in government at all levels not understand the “taxed enough already” (TEA) movement?"

No one does. Nor do people understand crying babies. At least the babies don't write LTEs.

Picked up a TP book at Borders the other day. Curious - what exactly do they propose?? How do we control gov't spending?? Answer: eliminate waste and earmarks.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

What's your point?

That's a good idea.

According to the CBO, we are losing about $100 billion/yr to waste and fraud, and that doesn't include earmarks, which are a terrible idea.

salad 4 years, 9 months ago

Taxed enough? You mean your tax burden is so overwelming? Um....didn't I just read that the overall tax rate on Americans is the lowest it's ever been? So let me guess, the goal of the "ME!" party is "no taxes at all".....and then complain that the government won't do anything about all the problems, for which there is no money to fix. I submit that part of your "sacrifice" for your country is to help pay for it.

kansanbygrace 4 years, 9 months ago

The looters have already destroyed the producers, by monetizing productive American industry and moving the productive employment to other countries so they could have more loot to take.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

17.8 million citizens need jobs to feed our cookie jars. Jobs will save the economy. Use my tax dollars to hire city and federal government workers. These jobs provide health insurance. Republicans may say no but workers back on the job will say thank you, thank you and thank you. The economy is more important than bi-partianship.

The nations economy unfortunately will require much help directly from my government and my tax dollars. Tax dollars going directly to city and federal employees is a win win and eliminates tax dollars going to high CEO salaries,shareholders and golden parachutes.

Send tax dollars home, that once spent will likely create jobs elsewhere in the community. Jobs for two years will boost this economy. How can this be accomplished?

Put thousands on the federal and city government payrolls in each state. This is better than unemployment checks and Social Services. The economic impact will be felt nationwide which is the objective. Rehab old city streets and sidewalks in older neighborhoods. Offer a 70/30 package. Your/my federal government will offer 70% providing city governments contribute 30%. Fixing old streets and sidewalks adds value.

Rebuilt sidewalks = Walkable communities = wellness = better health.

Perhaps the same concept could be applied to the rehab of City libraries and public schools. Believe me there are plenty of jobs here for at least two years. Let’s put your tax dollars and mine to work making money for our communities.

Right now adding or constructing miles of new infrastructure is a tax increase with no way to pay for it. No community can afford this.

No doubt the enforcement arm of many departments were depleted during the Bush-Cheney years. This is not good. The USA needs investigative/enforcement staff to protect our tax dollars, food quality,the environment and our investments. Fill these positions.

Which departments come to mind: USDA, FDA, IRS, EPA, Banking and Loan Industry however there must be more. Government jobs are the best for our economy = less waste.

How can the government feed dollars into Hydropower,Wind and Solar without losing so much to wasteful corporate practices? Put all USA military bases and VA Hospitals on alternative energy. Plenty of new jobs here. Bringing tax dollars home.

Reduce all college loans by 50%.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 4 years, 9 months ago

Seriously, you must be speaking of the Lawrence of an alternate universe. Your sweeping generalizations are so far from reality its pitiful. Do you realize that parents usually pay fees for after school programs?

Sure, let just quit all the babbling about the kids. They are the future of this country, so failing to invest in that future adequately has some ugly consequences. But you'll be long gone before that happens. Complaining about excessive educator pay? Couldn't be further from the truth. Cut education and you will definitely turn the community into a retirement home.

Typical of people like you to complain about problems but when asked to at least volunteer to make things better, you'll pass.

You really believe that Lawrence schools aren't that great anyway? You don't have a clue. No, I don't work for the district or the public sector. But I do have kids that have attended Lawrence schools that are achievers on a national level that had very good competition in Lawrence schools. Free State is independently ranked in the top 1/3 of HS in Kansas and in assessment test comparison.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 4 years, 9 months ago

oneeye_wilbur (anonymous) says…

"They don't care about how much taxes are raised, that is, the school district, the county and the city and of course the state."

Not certain whether you or I can read their minds, but I would guess that they do care. I would surmise that at least some of them, based on my experience holding public office, understand that excessive local tax burden usually results in the tax base relocating elsewhere. Ultimately, the end result is a ghost town. Your suggestion for broad and deep layoffs, though, is a surefire formula for an exodus. You proclaim that they have a sense of entitlement and raises, but the truth is that, in general, while benefits may be above average, pay is well below what many equivalent positions, especially professionals would receive in the private sector given an average or better economy.

Lay them off and you'll find out really quick the value of the services they provide. Then you will really be howling.

George Lippencott 4 years, 9 months ago

I note we have the inevitable outliers claiming that anyone protesting a tax increase is greedy or a chronic complainer not worthy of note. The really greedy people are those who are constantly complaining because they feel there are inadequate social services and amenities in Lawrence. They demand goodies for themselves at the expense of others. How do I know? It is hard because they are anonymous but those who I have pursued almost inevitable turn out to pay little or no taxes or are drawing social services.

George Lippencott 4 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, did not mean it that way. Pursue meant in my context to find the motive behind the posts. People do reveal things about themselves that help that pursuit. I have planeted no bug to make that pursuit technically possible.

rtwngr 4 years, 9 months ago

My gosh, Merrill, are you serious?! The way you talk about expanding government boggles the mind. What do you think government feeds off of? Not itself. It produces nothing. It is not self-sustaining. It feeds off of the private sector. The more government grows the more the private sector shrinks. Eventually the government reaches a point where it can no longer be sustained and becomes insolvent. e.g. Greece! I find it incredulous that someone as educated as yourself could be so obtuse as to believe that a massive government hiring program for the sake of hiring would solve anything. Unbelievable!

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