Letters to the Editor

Letter: Financial strategy

June 5, 2014


To the editor:

City commissioners are once again calling for higher taxes in order to fund a new police station. Never mind that four commissioners and the city manager rammed a $25-30 million Taj Mahal (recreation center) down the throats of taxpayers without a vote from the electorate.

Growth in our city has been stagnant or nonexistent for the past decade. Our cost of living is high, and our wages are low. City government continues to devour more capital at the expense of private enterprise. In the near future, private enterprise recycling (one man, one truck) will be replaced with city-owned trucks (one truck, two men). This is not pro business.

The past decade’s sum of all tax abatements and special tax districts would yield a negative return for the electorate. These tools of cronyism have funded private parking lots, promoted underage drinking, and moved existing employees across town under the pretense of job creation. “Good ol’ boy” cronyism trumps the electorate’s increasing tax burden.

Until the electorate votes individuals into office that understand the necessity of setting priorities and fiduciary responsibility, our city will continue spiraling downward. If you are satisfied with stagnation and the direction our city is headed, do nothing. If you are not satisfied with our current strategy of talk and hope, please vote for individuals that will initiate change. We can do better.


Bruce Bertsch 3 years, 8 months ago

Put down your Ayn Rand novel and out dated economic theory. The County is not devouring capital at the expense of business. There is zero demand for business expansion (consumers are the real "job creators") thus the local government is actually boosting the economy by allowing things to be built (your spending is my income and my spending is your income). Of course we could just elect Sam to lead the county and reduce all the taxes to zero but we've seen how that plan is working in Topeka.

Seth Peterson 3 years, 8 months ago

I don't believe he's talking as broad a scope as you are responding to. The letter is directly addressing issues regarding the Rock Chalk park and the police station. If monies were being used to actually boost the economy, work towards business expansion and area growth it would be a different story.

But as he points out, the end result of these projects, as well as the parking garage and others only work to move funds from the general public to the hands of a few certain individuals, rather than back into the local economy.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

If real estate growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would never be in a budget crunch. Never be asked to accept increased taxes and user fees. But with increased numbers of real estate projects Lawrence, Kansas increases demands on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by new real estate projects does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality.

In order for the city to have orderly growth, developers should be responsible for all expenses related to new infrastructure. Most builders understand all new infrastructure are for a purpose that improves their big profit making developments.

Developers Emergency Party by First Management is the type of activity that brings the appearance of corruption to our lovely local community. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/mar...

This is food for thought backed with substance. http://www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/report00/intro.asp

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

This is the type of thinking that makes sense:


The items known as tax incentives should be in realty project loans that get paid back at a low rate of interest. Taxpayers become the second lein holders to insure payment in full. Taxpayers cannot afford multi million tax dollar give aways with a ZERO ROI.

Yes we taxpayers should be the ultimate authority on all projects whereby the consequence is local profiteers draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes aka The Free Lunch.

Such as:

  1. Historic District Incentives

  2. TIF projects

  3. Special sales tax projects

  4. Tax Abatements

5 etc etc etc

Let's remove the appearance of special interests controlling our local government. Shouldn't all for profit projects stand on their own two feet in order to experience the true Free market Concept?

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

The question more or less becomes how can a tax base ever pay back tax abatement schemes like there is no tomorrow? This Free Lunch Economic Policy must stop. A Free Lunch Economic Policy hands taxpayers the bills all too frequently.

Bill Moyers http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01182008/transcript.html

David Cay Johnston http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

From Sam Brownback http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2012-04-27/hightower-report-workers-wages-lost-to-the-boss/

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