Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: Tax-break skeptics

December 15, 2017


To the editor:

Thank you for your excellent coverage of Lawrence real estate news.

After the City Commission voted 3-2 to grant a generous tax break to a former city commissioner to build luxury apartments, it seems that other developers are eager to stick their snoots in the public trough. There’s a proposal for a new convention center (with residential housing); and another for a bus terminal (with residential housing). And I’m sure these proposals will include one or two units of “affordable” housing as a fig leaf, as is customary, in order to obtain tax “incentives.”

But when Jennifer Ananda takes office, the developers may be out of the saddle again at City Hall. The commission will have a majority of tax-break skeptics. Heck, as a condition of getting a building permit, they may even require developers to chip in for affordable housing — like taxpayers just volunteered to do.


Richard Heckler 6 months, 1 week ago

The more tax break skeptics the better. Taxpayers cannot afford corporate welfare because it does not pay back and needs constant oversight. Sometimes legal action.

It is not the responsibility of the taxpayers to insure developers clear a profit.

If developers want to drop out and take their tax dollar scams to another community so be it. We local taxpayers will be money ahead and will have tax dollars to supply necessary infrastructure such as the walkable community and complete streets concept.

Say NO to tax dollar handouts!!!

Every Corporate Welfare agreement should also contain a clawback clause requiring developers to pay back all or part of the subsidy if they fail to meet their job, wage, and other responsibilities. Better yet say NO to corporate welfare.

RISKY FINANCING https://www.goodjobsfirst.org/accountable-development/tax-increment-financing

“Wait a minute! I’m paying taxes so that the Walton family, the richest family in America, can be richer? I’m paying taxes so the Cabelas out in Nebraska or Johnny Morris who owns Bass Pro can get richer? That’s what my taxes are going for? That I am forced to pay?” People don’t know about it. That’s the only reason this goes on everywhere. http://prairieweather.typepad.com/the_scribe/2008/01/free-lunch-davi.html

Well, what is tax increment financing? I’ll tell you what it is. You go to the store with your goods, you pay for it at Wal-Mart, and there’s a very good chance that that store has made a deal with the government that the sales taxes you are required to pay, that government requires you to pay, never go to the government. Instead, those sales taxes are used to pay the cost of the store. And typically in those deals, the project is tax exempt, just like a church.

SAY NO TO THE FREE LUNCH https://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

Bob Smith 6 months, 1 week ago

Two 9 year old links? Have you no new material that fits your narrative?

David Reynolds 6 months, 1 week ago

And this is why the city is constantly asking for more money in taxes from homeowners. Because of the constant denigration of business by some in this community..."Corporate Welfare"!

I wonder how many of you will shy away from & give back to the government what ever reduction in taxes come your way with the current legislation in Washington.

No wonder new businesses don't come to Lawrence, with the negative attitude conveyed.

Even with incentives businesses still pay some taxes, plus they increase employment. Based on recent experience the city is very content on grabbing all the alcohol & food taxes, all the while supporting the lowest wage jobs. And I always thought Lawrence supported "Living wages".

Possibly if the city knew how to manage incentives better they could see & realize their benefit. But then the city would have to want to really increase the economic pie in Lawrence versus relying on employers that do not pay taxes.

For a city that doesn't like to give away incentives, the major employers in Lawrence enjoy the most robust of them all, paying neither real-estate nor sales taxes.

Why are the following companies receiving such lavish incentives so welcome in Lawrence, & considered to be major contributors to society, yet a private or corporate business receiving incentives is castigated as receiving corporate welfare. I believe those in the city that are against incentives need to stop and think about real value to a community beyond the mere "Political Agenda"!

Some of he major employers are: The city of Lawrence & all the utilities, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, University of Kansas, USD 497, All the various charities including the arts, etc.

Richard Aronoff 6 months ago

Anyone know exactly how many jobs Richard Heckler has created?

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