To the editor:
The Lawrence City Commission will soon consider recently proposed Community Improvement Districts. The propriety of establishing special increased sales tax districts, up to an additional 2 percent, has become controversial.
Businesses in a special tax district should be required to post signs in clear view of consumers that state they will be paying a higher-than-normal sales tax rate. Consumer protection comes into play here. We want to avoid a business climate much like caveat emptor (buyer beware). It should be unethical for any business not to be totally upfront with all consumer charges.
Secondly, Lawrence has many available vacant spaces for conducting business, especially in older strip malls and other locations. Some of those vacancies occur when a business owner, for example, moves to a newer or more upscale mall where there is greater consumer traffic, potential for profit, etc. The City Commission might consider requiring those business owners and the business developer to pay the 1 or 2 percent special tax, or at least a portion of it, if the former abandoned business location later becomes a designated Community Improvement District within a certain specified period of time. Consider it a delayed cost of doing business. Those who profit should not avoid taxation. Consumers alone should not carry the special tax burden.
I hope our City Commission does not rush into approving Community Improvement Districts without first carefully considering innumerable variations on how it can be fairly structured, implemented and regulated.