To the editor:
Lawrence taxpayers struggle weekly with the increased costs of fuel and groceries, adjusting their budgets to meet the constant changes. The city chooses a different path. Instead of making budgetary adjustments to meet “basic” services requests, its answer is to raise more revenue. As our citizens become more conscientious in conserving water and energy, the city’s response is to raise tax rates and fees. We put off or eliminate items in our budgets to care for our “basics.”
The city has to acknowledge that property values have fallen significantly and are not likely to rebound soon. Only recently has Lawrence come to accept the loss of significant sales tax revenue to other areas and that it lags woefully behind other communities in wages. In order to accommodate the legitimate needs of the “basic” services essential to Lawrence, the city needs to reduce expenditures elsewhere and not follow the KU example of deferring maintenance and asking for the money later or just raising tuition again.
The city should require each and every line item request for funding be justified and supported by evidence of need. The truth is that this economy has not made great strides forward and with the current disasters, natural and man-made, is not likely to soon. The city should learn to live within its means like the rest of us. Raising taxes and fees to keep things going as “normal” is the wrong answer.