Archive for Tuesday, July 10, 2012

City mulls increase in property tax rate, sales tax

July 10, 2012


A property tax increase may be in store for Lawrence residents, and a question about creating a new sales tax might be coming their way, too.

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday moved one step closer to approving a property tax rate increase of 0.92 mill, but a majority of commissioners also said they want to talk about a sales tax increase that could take effect as soon as the middle of 2013.

Mayor Bob Schumm said he wants to discuss an approximately half-cent sales tax increase that could be used to fund both police department needs and economic development initiatives. Schumm said he would want the sales tax to go on the books after the state reduces its sales tax by six-tenths of a cent in July 2013.

“That way you really wouldn’t be raising taxes,” Schumm said. “You would be reapportioning it. Instead of the state using the money, we would be able to use it locally.”

Any new sales tax would have to be approved by voters in a citywide election. Commissioners on Tuesday took no action to place a sales tax question on an upcoming ballot, but commissioners said they want to discuss the issue more at a future study session.

The tax idea was met with skepticism by City Commissioner Mike Amyx. He urged commissioners to first look at the existing countywide 1-cent sales tax to determine if city spending from that fund could be rearranged to better meet some of the city’s needs for the police department and other projects.

“Taxpayers have been paying what I think is fairly high sales tax already,” Amyx said. “It is scheduled to go down. Before we add a new tax, we need to look hard at living within our means.”

City commissioners took more concrete action — although not final action — on raising the property tax rate for 2013. Commissioners agreed to publish a budget that includes the 0.92 mill increase. City Manager David Corliss had recommended a 0.87 mill increase, but commissioners increased the number after Schumm lobbied to provide an additional $37,000 in funding to the Lawrence Community Shelter to help the organization with its finances. Schumm also was able to add $7,600 in funding for Hearthstone House, a nonprofit drug and alcohol treatment program.

The funding and the increased mill levy won’t become final until commissioners approve the budget at their Aug. 7 meeting. Several commissioners said they may seek to cut other parts of the city budget before the Aug. 7 hearing to reduce the mill levy increase.

A 0.92 mill increase would amount to a $21-per-year increase in property taxes for a $200,000 home. A mill is $1 dollar in property tax for every $1,000 in assessed valuation.


kuguardgrl13 5 years, 11 months ago

Great. Sales tax in Lawrence is already astronomically high compared to other areas I've lived. Amyx is right to say that the city should learn to live within their means. Although I guess we should expect local tax hikes since the state is slashing theirs.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

We don't need extra tax dollars to fund "economic growth". We need the new growth to start paying for itself instead of assuming taxpayers want to fund further failure.

Forget the property tax increase as well. This is not the only new tax on the table. How many times have taxes been increased in the last 25 years. About 400 times perhaps.

"economic development initiatives" = this term needs clarification and it needs to pay for itself.

Lawrence,Kansas has been expanding its' tax base aggressively over the past 25 years. It is not paying for itself so let's stop pushing more and more and more until taxpayers are realizing tax relief as a result of subsidizing developers

Carol Bowen 5 years, 11 months ago

+1. "We don't need extra tax dollars to fund "economic growth". We need the new growth to start paying for itself instead of assuming taxpayers want to fund further failure."

This is bundled to force voters to choose yes or no. I say, split the Police department from economic development. I dint want to vote them both down!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

There is one consequence that usually goes unmentioned. The aggressive expansion of the past 25 years is draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes aka not paying back the taxpayers. Fiscal conservatives are nowhere near city hall.

The community has never stopped expanding long enough to catch up with the ever expanding cost of paying for helter skelter growth decisions. In other words Lawrence has never been in a position where new growth is paying for itself during the past 25 years.

We've subsidized local profiteers at such a basic level for so long, that many people believe the status quo is actually fair and neutral. This is false-what we think of as a level playing field is tilted steeply in favor of local profiteers driving development.

orange_wrench 5 years, 11 months ago

Please, Lawrence city commissioners, don't raise property taxes any more. The landlords in Lawrence already know that they have a captive population of people who need housing and they don't need any more excuses to charge more than they already are. My friends are starting to notice that it's cheaper to move to another state than to stay here, especially with student loan debt to think about. It's great that we have a community shelter, but what about thinking about making it a little easier for the young working class to live here?

Lawrenceks 5 years, 11 months ago

Yep, raise property taxes again, that is one way to attract retirees to Lawrence!

jmadison 5 years, 11 months ago

"Kathy Mallon, 57, who has lived in San Bernardino for a decade, blasted the city’s elected leaders for allowing the financial crisis to grow unabated, and wasting millions of tax dollars on transit projects and other none essential services." Quote from an LA Times article regarding the city of San Bernadino filing for bankruptcy. Is this the future for Lawrence? Our currently elected politicians appear to be leading Lawrence toward a similar outcome. Spending is out of control and headed on a parabolic curve to ever higher rates.

Michael LoBurgio 5 years, 11 months ago

Tax-cut legislation will be the end of Kansas as we know it

If the $3.7 billion tax-cut legislation is signed into law by the governor, it certainly — not almost certainly, but certainly — will destroy Kansas as we know it. And Johnson County will not be immune to the radioactivity of this blast. That massive tax cut will result in a $2 billion hole in the state budget over the next five years.

Cuts to local governments from the state are a virtual certainty. That will lead to higher local property taxes to make up the difference.

Read more here:

irvan moore 5 years, 11 months ago

attaboy schumm, get the homeless out of downtown and spend whatever it takes to keep them gone

In_God_we_trust 5 years, 11 months ago

A third California city has gone bankrupt. SAN BERNARDINO in California voted for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy. Is Lawrence and it's City Commission on track for this fate too? Too much Kingdom building and arrogance blinds leaders from wise decisions. Frugality and lower taxes is the path to longevity for a city.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 11 months ago

Just glanced at Wikipedia. They listed the top 14 employers in San Bernardino. Of those, ten were public institutions, including the top seven. Number eight was an Indian casino.

San Bernardino is a city that lost it's balance. Lawrence, with it's heavy reliance on public institutions needs to attract private money, private investors, private developments so that we regain our balance.

Topple 5 years, 11 months ago

To piggy-back...stop raising taxes "temporarily" for frivilous BS that Lawrence doesn't need, then when the tax is set to expire, "reapportioning it" to something else. By this logic, there is no such thing as a temporary tax increase, just a tax increase for Project X that will reapportion to Project Y when the original term ends.

Complete morons running this city.

bd 5 years, 11 months ago

Don't forget the pending water rate increase!!!!! Thank god we are getting a new library & rec center!

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 11 months ago

The consistently increasing share that government takes out of our incomes (and savings) is just as heinous in the long run as the dramatic tax cuts that the pin headed conservatives are always pushing.

Neither one is a demonstration of responsible management.

Politicians in Lawrence never seem to demonstrate an understanding of how to manage a budget. Their reputation precedes them. They think their job is to propose and buy things.

Unfortunately, the only people that ever run for these offices often seem to be crackpots.

Shane Garrett 5 years, 11 months ago

And those of us that have an escrow payment to make will have to write another check. Ouch!

Jonathan Fox 5 years, 11 months ago

This is a college town. The students and around 40% of the residents don't own property. Sales taxes are the main source of tax revenue this town receives from students. Property taxes are what's high in this town. Property owners can't pay for all the services that renters use the most of. Most of Johnson County has sales taxes over 9% and if you're curious Chicago has a sales tax of 17.5% last I knew.

This town has decided that it values an over priced library over a police station, and so now it has to wait until it can afford to build it. Stop making excuses to raising taxes and then never bringing them back down, just finding other amenities to spend tax increases on.

Topple 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't think Chicago ever got anywhere near 17.5% I seem to remember it barely breaking 10% as one of the higher rates in the U.S. And I was thinking Douglas County was the highest in KS at 8.85%

Sunny Parker 5 years, 11 months ago

Fire Corlessssss! People are barely getting by yet our taxes are going to increase!

patkindle 5 years, 11 months ago

please, more property and sales taxes we dont pay enough in lawrence to support those folks that don pay any taxes hope and change, redistribute the weath, rob from the rich give to the poor we need to do our part for those who are smart enough to out smart us by living off of us they city doesnt care where the money comes from as long as they have it

ResQd 5 years, 11 months ago

Well said! This isn't the last tax increase, there are more to come. Shame on you commissioners.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 11 months ago

A dozen or so cities have had to declare bankruptcy, with another 20 or so getting ready to. If the spending does not get under control there will be no money for anyone or anything.

Cutting Governmental (Or personal) spending is a very good thing. It also needs to be combined with tax relief, as for every dollar you decide where to spend is better than where the government chooses to spend it. When you purchase consumer or durable goods, this in turn supports employment, which when enough is purchased, new jobs are created.

We all have to suck it up and those on the public dole need to suck it up the most as they are the ones taking more from the system than they are putting in.

JackMcKee 5 years, 11 months ago

Let's see:

Library/Parking Garage/Cromwell Memorial Farmland Trash debacle M-T/Transit hub Rec Center Police Taj Mahal Handouts to Compton I know I'm missing some others, feel free to add your own

With spending like this, it's no wonder we need to increase sales and property taxes.

Weather_Watcher 5 years, 11 months ago

Sure $21 does not sound like much, then again even if you round down to say $15 and now every household in Lawrence has $15 less to spend on say pizza, just how many less sales will those stores have.

Or maybe we could isolate down on just one pizza place, like maybe Papa Murphy's and now how many less pizza's will they sell during the year.

So now insert the store of your choice and if each Lawrence household does not spend those dollars t that location as they now go to City Hall will they still be in business at the end of the year.

And folks wonder why Lawrence is not considered Business Friendly.

This retiree creeps ever closer to saying enough is enough and moving on to a city that does not think of its citizens as cash cows.

JackMcKee 5 years, 11 months ago

They have been selling these tax increases this way for a long time. $15 a year in tax increases every year does add up eventually to a substantial sum. E.g., my property taxes have increased at least $1500 since I purchased my home in 2002. It's no longer just a little here and a little there.

Topple 5 years, 11 months ago

Right. People keep saying, "Oh, it's only $xx" but don't consider the cummulative effect of 100 $xx taxes that the commission keeps coming up with to fund their latest way to flush money down the drain.

msezdsit 5 years, 11 months ago

Of course, Doug has a lot more projects planned for downtown Lawrence and we must keep him happy.

50YearResident 5 years, 11 months ago

Schumm, a Mayor for the people.

Mayor Bob Schumm said he wants to discuss an approximately half-cent sales tax increase that could be used to fund both police department needs and economic development initiatives. Schumm said he would want the sales tax to go on the books after the state reduces its sales tax by six-tenths of a cent in July 2013.

The tax payers will not realise they have been had on the sales tax. We (the city) can slip it in before the citizens know it.

Topple 5 years, 11 months ago

So much for temporary tax increases...sure, they'll expire and be replaced the same day with a new and even more frivilously-spent tax.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

The little government piggies are squealing for more feed in their trough.

Susan Rickman 5 years, 11 months ago

This math isn't adding up: "A 0.92 mill increase would amount to a $21-per-year increase in property taxes for a $200,000 home. A mill is $1 dollar in property tax for every $1,000 in assessed valuation." Wouldn't it be $0.92x200=$184 per year?

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

Assessed valuation is not the same thing as appraised value, it's much less than that.

So, a $200K house isn't assessed at $200K.

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