Public benefit?

April 2, 2011


To the editor:

Treanor Architects wants to move their offices into downtown Lawrence and wants the Lawrence taxpayers to help pay for the move.

The Public Incentives Review Committee believes this is a benefit to the community. What are the benefits? Moving 60 employees from the west side of Lawrence to downtown is not a benefit. Taking 50 public parking spaces when there already is a parking shortage is not a benefit. If they move, what will happen to the two buildings they already occupy? Two more vacant offices on the west side. That is not a benefit!

Per the Journal-World article, there appears to be no benefit to Lawrence, just potential loss of future revenue.

The three taxing entities — city, county and school district — are all in dire financial need. School closings, infrastructure repair, layoffs, home foreclosures all forecast a downward financial spiral. The taxing bodies should be looking for areas to generate revenue, not give it away.

If Treanor really wants to move downtown, they will!


BigPrune 7 years, 1 month ago

Plus that firm is loaded. They can afford it. They make their living off the taxpayers.

This is another example of Lawrence subsidizing the downtown from the taxes of its citizens.

The good 'ol boy network is alive and well. Corliss needs to go.

Keith 7 years, 1 month ago

The way they keep laying people off, you've got to wonder who they plan on populating that new building with.

grimpeur 7 years, 1 month ago

There is not a shortage of parking downtown, Chuck.

Subsidies are certainly not limited to downtown businesses.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

Put 2 hour parking meters in that lot today. That saves the meter maids from having to chalk tires.

There is no real benefit to this move. It is a friend helping the friend that owns the property. An that property owner friend is getting free parking in the parking garage for his tenants at the 9th and New Hampshire.

I say all incentives need to come from property owners NOT the taxpayers.

Jimo 7 years, 1 month ago

While the proposed development downtown is absolutely a benefit, I don't see this as a reasonable balance. Perhaps Treanor should agree to a 25 year commitment (to operate out of the space, to continue with a minimum payroll, etc.) with the City being assigned the deed as against default on that commitment.

In short, I see the carrot but I don't see the stick - as is typical in so many of these tax deals.

Downtown Lawrence is not some blighted area that companies should be subsidized for moving into. My guess is the Treanor people are just looking forward to having a wide variety of decent places to eat lunch daily.

Brent Garner 7 years, 1 month ago

Corporate welfare on the local level????

jhawkinsf 7 years, 1 month ago

If in fact they get the tax abatements, I would still not call it corporate welfare. I'd prefer the term corporate workfare. Welfare, as we've come to know it, more resembles a benefit without having to give anything back. In this case, as the article states, this firm is employing 60 people and upgrading a building in need of fixing up.

ArkhamAsylum 7 years, 1 month ago

Unmitigated Gall

What kind of manipulation of our tax system process would allow a private owner of a downtown commercial lot (Schumm) to pay only .74 cents per year in ad valorem tax when others pay over 3500 to 4000 times that much?

Where’s the newspaper on this issue?

Consequently, doesn’t it take unmitigated gall for that same .74 cent taxpayer-politician to use “sneaky tax subsidies” as the centerpiece of his campaign against other candidates?

How gullible are the voters in Lawrence?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

The good ole boys and girls network working hard and fast...

Why is any of this on the back of taxpayers??? If the taxpayers are expected to foot the bills on this endeavor let them vote on it.

Why are the special interests of real estate special interest groups never put to a vote by the taxpayers? Until voters approve this fiasco this is nothing more than a back door deal for First Management and his good friend....

In reality city commissioners must accept full responsibility for this special interest back door deal for it is they that promote such nonsense!

Think about these very special interest projects when voting today. How many ways does anyone want their pockets picked?

jayhawks911 7 years, 1 month ago

Why should this even be a question. The answer seems clear if it is worth the move for Treanor then let them pay their own way.

kinder_world 7 years, 1 month ago

The primary purpose of city government is to protect and provide services to the citizens residing in the boundaries of the city. Planning is also a function of city governments. City officials are also responsible for enforcing the state Constitution to the best of their abilities.

City government is responsible for providing utilities and waste disposal, emergency services, public parks and road maintenance. Many cities often provide libraries as well.

This does not seem to include Public Incentives for companies or tax abatements. City governments have overstepped their authority. City governments also need to cut funding to all the organizations asking for money. They are not part of the purpose of government.

The road maintenance in Lawrence is pathetic. Kentucky and Tennessee streets are examples of city streets that continue to deteriorate and after two harsh winters are hazardous to drive.

Stop wasting the taxpayers money.

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