Archive for Monday, December 19, 2011

Lawrence city leaders to ask Kansas legislators for increased speeding fines along K-10, new sales tax for Internet shoppers, SLT to be completed

Lawrence City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

Lawrence City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

December 19, 2011


From roads to the speeders who drive on them, Lawrence city commissioners have items they hope state lawmakers will address during the upcoming legislative session.

City commissioners are set to approve a list of priorities for the upcoming session of the Kansas Legislature calling for work to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway, higher fines for speeders on Kansas Highway 10 and efforts to establish a new sales tax on Internet shoppers.

City Hall leaders, though, would be happy enough if state lawmakers just don’t throw any surprises their way in the new year.

“In many cases, one of the best things the Kansas Legislature can do for us is to leave us alone in terms of unfunded mandates or changing laws that impact our operations,” said City Manager David Corliss.

Commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting are set to approve the commission’s Legislative Priorities Statement, which will be presented at a Jan. 9 breakfast meeting with legislators.

Among the issues included in the draft version of the legislative statement are:

• Maintain funding for the South Lawrence Trafficway. Funding for the uncompleted bypass project is included in the T-Works comprehensive transportation program, and the city wants it to stay that way. The statement calls completion of the SLT a “key” project for Lawrence.

• Higher fines for speeders on K-10. The statement says Lawrence supports designating K-10 as a “Highway Safety Corridor.” Such corridors allow the state to charge higher than normal fines for traffic violations that occur on the road. The higher fines then could be used to fund more frequent patrols of K-10. The idea of a safety corridor for K-10 has emerged because several serious and sometimes fatal accidents have occurred on the stretch of road between Lawrence and Johnson County.

• A Taxpayer Bill of Rights doesn’t seem right to city commissioners. The statement says the city “strongly opposes” the enactment of state-imposed spending controls or lids such as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The statement calls such plans “arbitrary and capricious” because they sometimes take spending decisions out of the hands of local officials. A Taxpayer Bill of Rights proposal puts limits on how much government can raise taxes without seeking voter approval through a referendum.

• A single Congressional district. The statement asks for Lawrence to be placed in one Congressional district rather than being split into two districts as it has been for the last decade. But the statement doesn’t get specific about whether Lawrence ought to be included in a district with Kansas City or whether it ought to be partnered with Topeka and Manhattan. Corliss said he’ll want to hear more discussion from city commissioners on Tuesday.

“It will be a big issue, but given the partisan make up of the Statehouse and the view that Lawrence and Douglas County has a majority of a different party, I’m not sure what influence we’ll likely wield on that,” Corliss said.

• Stabilize SRS funding. Corliss hopes the Legislature will take the city and the county off the hook for an agreement that called for the two governments to provide $450,000 in funding in exchange for the state to keep open the local SRS office. Payments on the agreement aren’t scheduled to begin until 2012, and there have been comments from Gov. Sam Brownback’s office that he’ll seek state funding to keep the office open.

“We believe there has been progress on that issue, but we don’t want to take anything for granted,” Corliss said.

• Landlord changes. The city would like to see a change in state law prohibiting the city from receiving the names of tenants from landlords. The city has contended the state law makes it difficult for the city to enforce its occupancy code, which makes it illegal to have more than three unrelated people living a single-family home.

• Internet shopping. The city is asking the state of Kansas to get fully behind legislation that would impose a mandatory sales tax on all goods purchased through the Internet. But the city recognizes that such a tax would have to be established by Congress, not the Kansas Legislature.


Antonym 6 years, 4 months ago

Will the internet sales tax go to the state where the goods originate or to the state where the goods are received? If you sell on the internet and have to collect and report sales tax based on the final destination it will be an impossible task.

parrothead8 6 years, 4 months ago

I don't agree with the internet sales tax, but I also don't agree with your statement that "it will be an impossible task" to report sales tax based on where you ship stuff. I've worked at several businesses that shipped stuff to all 50 states (as well as international destinations), and computers make it REALLY easy "to collect and report sales tax based on the final destination."

sleepy33 6 years, 4 months ago

They are talking about collecting sales tax on goods you, the Kansas resident, purchase online. Technically speaking, the reason you pay no sales tax on goods you purchase online is because you are actually supposed to track the sales tax you owe on those purchases and voluntarily remit that to the state of Kansas at the end of the year. There's a form for it and everything. But I don't see how the city of Lawrence thinks it's going to enforce that.

Curtis Lange 6 years, 4 months ago

Only an idiot would support the safety corridors. Must be why MO uses them. The ONLY way to fix the 'problem' is to overhaul the driver's training programs in each and every state. It is simply too easy to get a license in this country and people's lack of driving knowledge proves that.

Making K-10 a safety corridor is a waste of everyone's time as it won't fix anything. It'll just make someone in power look good on the facade of them 'doing something about the problem.'

Jonathan Fox 6 years, 4 months ago

A vast majority of accidents on K-10 are not caused by speeders, it's by drivers not using their mirrors/checking blind spots, driving under the influence, inexperience in inclement weather and the like. Who are you to say otherwise?

Curtis Lange 6 years, 4 months ago

@oletimer: Agreed. After I posted, I realized I should have said driving knowledge/respect for the rules of the road.

I'm constantly amazed at the things I see people do (well, don't do really) on my drives. shakes head Point is, this dumb safety corridor idea fixes NONE of that.

patkindle 6 years, 4 months ago

hooray, 80 mph fne should be 100 bucks with 5 bucks for every mile over 80

pehaps that will slow the ego maniacs on K-10

and yes, enforce them

itsalwayssunnyinlarry 6 years, 4 months ago

80 isn't even a moving violation on kansas highways where the posted speed limit is 70 and up. and i believe the ticket is like 97, sooo might want to higher that random thrown out number.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 4 months ago

increasing B.A., speeding tickets, seat belt fines, loud fight with spouse not only hurt once but the auto insurance companies are making out like bandits.

How about we make Lawrence business friendly instead imatating a West Texas Speed trap. How fast ya a goin partner............prove it!!!! Fine 100 bucks cash. Have a nice day.

I never drink and drive, but good grief when are you plebians going to realize how many of your rights are taken away.

Pretty soon and the time is coming blowing .001 will get you the whole tax without representation scam. O yea, lawyer, car breathalyzer, fines, paying hundreds to get your license back, loss of job, yep for having a glass of wine with dinner.

Sunny Parker 6 years, 4 months ago

The government can't FIX everything! So what there have been accidents on K10! There are accidents everywhere!

motercyclejim 6 years, 4 months ago

Your totaly right!!!! the speed limit are just the goverments way to try to fix accidents! I say dont put any speed limit anywhere! RON PAUL 2012

skinny 6 years, 4 months ago

They is no way they'll be able to enforce a internet sales tax, if it were to pass . It'll never happen!! The goverment gets enough of my money already! I love shopping on the internet. One, it is cheaper and two, no taxes!! Love it, love it, love it!

johnjhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

We have got to find a fair way to charge sales tax for internet sales. It is extremely unfair to the shop owner that runs a nice store, pays local property taxes, pays employees to service customers and then has to charge customers sales tax. I have a friend that owns a downtown Lawrence clothing store and he has customers come in almost every day to try on cloths to see what size they need to order on the internet. Several have even told him what they were doing. This tax loophole needs to be fixed!!!

skinny 6 years, 4 months ago

It won't happen, if it does then the online store will operate outside the U.S. and still not charge sales tax. The government gets enough of my money. I'll do everything in my power not to give them any more than I have too! Especially seeing they get almost half of my money now anyway. It's crazy!

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

Actually, they're taking advantage of the "brick and mortar" facility by using it to find their correct size, and then buying it online instead.

High prices in downtown stores can be tied directly to high rents charged for the spaces - if you want costs to be lower, lobby for downtown landlords to lower the rent they charge.

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

Yes, I'm serious.

How would you know that's what they were doing, if they didn't tell you? And, that would create a rather unpleasant atmosphere for customers, if they had to pledge to buy something every time they came into your store - sounds like a good way to go out of business to me.

You can't expect downtown merchants to pay high rents and not charge accordingly, otherwise they'll simply go out of business. There's nothing "unfair" about them trying to stay in business.

Stuart Sweeney 6 years, 4 months ago

You don't need higher fines just enforce the speed limits. Put the manpower out there to make a presence and don't let up. Speeds would be lower then and everyone would be going slower not just the unlucky bloke sitting at the side of the road with a patrol car behind him!

kujayhawk7476 6 years, 4 months ago

“In many cases, one of the best things the Kansas legislature can do for us is to leave us alone in terms of unfunded mandates or changing laws that impact our operations,” said City Manager David Corliss.

Yet everything mentioned is an intrusion into freedoms! What an idiot! Where did your city find this boob?

texburgh 6 years, 4 months ago

"A Taxpayer Bill of Rights proposal puts limits on how much government can raise taxes without seeking voter approval through a referendum."

That's not all a taxpayer bill of rights (TABOR) would do. I would think a reporter would not try to dumb the idea down.

Not only does it put any tax increase up to a voter referendum, it requires a supermajority of the voters to pass. It also locks spending in to revenues collected the prior year. If you have a recession like we had in 2008/09, when tax revenues went down dramatically due to a change in economic activity, any budget cuts made would be permanently enacted because spending could not exceed the new base established by lower revenues.

TABOR is the brainchild of the extreme anti-government right wing of Grover Norquist, the Koch brothers, Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Policy Institute, et. al. The intent of TABOR is to achieve Norquist's dream: "I don't want to destroy government; I want to shrink it to a size that can be drown in the bathtub."

As one Kansas legislator once said in a TABOR debate, "You can't have government small enough to drown in a bathtub and big enough to pull your sorry backside out of a ditch on the side of the interstate."

Orwell 6 years, 4 months ago

Well said.

Another way to look at it is this: If you support any tax increase for any reason, you get one vote. If you oppose it, you get two.

TABOR is another attack on democracy by the people who think their money gives them superior rights.

lunacydetector 6 years, 4 months ago

what a group of idiots. no wonder lawrence is so backwards.

Teri Griffin-Guntert 6 years, 4 months ago

To tax internet Buyers on top of increasing Shipping costs? That should be the end to the end of Internet Sales ... then someone needs to add tax to mail purchases from catalogue businesses (what is the difference?). My advice is to simply leave the People be and be thankful that they are "spending money" in your State. Learn to correctly use/spend what local and state income taxes that you receive already because when you increase then the Empoyers, increase and then increase keeps increasing by Renters, Business Owners, etc. as the bucks keep getting increased and kicked down the road to those who become poorer through your increases. Kansas and Lawrence can stop the nonsense and spend only what is in their pockets already.

billybrewster1 6 years, 4 months ago

It's a pretty simple downward spiral on the Internet Sales Tax issue.

If you buy something online and have it shipped to your home (and the seller does not collect sales tax for your area), you are required to report the sale to the state and remit the appropriate amount of tax. No one does this.

Local governments are then forced to raise taxes (both sales and property) to fund the services we all use (like fire/medical, police, infrastructure, etc.). This in turn pushes more people to buy online or in areas with lower tax rates because they want to save a buck. Which then reduces the tax base even further, and causes local sales property tax to go up again. On and on.

Bottom line, if you buy your stuff online or in Johnson County, don't expect Johnson County amenities or complain when your street isn't fixed. The money has to come from somewhere.

Chris Golledge 6 years, 4 months ago

I wouldn't mind paying sales tax if they got it right. Too many times the online retailer/phone company/whoever get it wrong. Then it is a choice between paying the extra, or explaining tax law to several layers up the chain while they stonewall me, and finally asking someone actually empowered to make a decision why they think they know the tax rates better than the KDOR.

Mark Currie 6 years, 4 months ago

Who Is going to pay for all the extra cops to enforce the speeding, putting on makeup, using electronic devices, etc. on K10? Then what kind of govt. agency is going to be created to "run" this internet tax thing. We have too many laws now. Murphy said "no ones life, liberty, or happiness is safe when the govt. is in session". Or words to that effect.

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