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Why do you think Lawrence incomes are so much lower than the state average?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on August 31, 2006

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Photo of Hope Aguilar

“Because it’s such a big college town that people know they can pay kids next to nothing.”

Photo of Tyler Lagaly

“I think the students take up a lot of the job opportunities, and they’re willing to work for a lot less.”

Photo of Denise Podschun

“I think it’s because it’s a lot less corporate here, and local businesses can’t afford to pay people as much.”

Photo of Batsheva Glatt

“Besides the university, I don’t think there are any major employers here in town.”

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jonas 11 years, 9 months ago

Hope and Tyler have it. Why pay a full time, livable wage when you can hire a part time KU student for minimum wage to do the same work? Of course, if you want to see ruinous, think of the town WITHOUT the university. No one would even know it existed.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 9 months ago

Do you think Hope is related to Christina?

irnmadn88 11 years, 9 months ago

Hmmm... the city's largest employers are USD 497, the University of Kansas, and the service/retail/hospitality business as a whole...

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

Actually, I think the last two have better answers than the first two. Not every u-town has low incomes.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

Also, it's worth noting that universities employ a LOT of non-student employees. The place really isn't run by students.

killjoy 11 years, 9 months ago

The roundabouts have driven all the intelligent/high salaried people away

trinity 11 years, 9 months ago

because there's still alot of hippies, vagrants, and beautiful people in lawrence??

KIDDING, i LOVE lawrence, its atmosphere its cool town! dunno why wages aren't comparable to other town; maybe because people settle for less to enjoy lawrence?

Ceallach 11 years, 9 months ago

No, no, not Salina!!!

Everyone seems to think this town's purpose is to support students while they attend university. No, no, dear friends, the purpose of this town is to serve the university's faculty and administration so they can live in relative luxury and discuss among themselves how difficult it is to live and express their specialness in such a backwards environment. Their wages (faculty and admins) are what keeps the stats from reflecting how very poorly men and women in Lawrence are really paid. Our top administrator's wage is roughly 4 times the amount any of her support staff earns. It takes a lot of us peons to bring dollar amounts like that down to the average mentioned in the article.

We need more industry, not more tele-marketing jobs. Of course, the prospective industrial giants will have to either commit to developing their complexes with the right signage and incorporate the "Lawrence" feel to their buildings, or they can just forget it. We don't need their stinking jobs anyway, oh wait, yes we do. Hmmm, therein lies part of the problem.

Ken Miller 11 years, 9 months ago

It's just more fuel for the fire when you see a lack of successful "clean" industry development over on Wakarusa. KU blows a $17 million dollar grant. Biotech firms nowhere to be seen. Of COURSE Lawrence's mega-educated 30-somethings are working as admin assistants making $24 K per year. If you want progress, look east or west, my friends.

thunderbuns 11 years, 9 months ago

As far as bank wages go: US Bank is a major bank in the country (and Lawrence) and they pay the lowest wages possible. That's why that bank has THE highest employee turnover rate in the industry. People get hired/trained there, then leave for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is the low pay.

Just sayin'........

Kat Christian 11 years, 9 months ago

All the above reasons and the state minimum wage os $2.65. Most states adopted the Fed. min wage of $5.15 except for a few like Calf., New Hampshire etc who have the state wage of $7.65. I understand that Maryland just or is going to raise their State min wage to $6.15. Kansas is the lowest State Min wage in the U.S. And then part of it is greed also. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and nobody cares except for a few who help with the food pantries, which are going dry now.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 9 months ago

i know for a fact that cooks make way less then towns of similar size...and it is because of the students....not blaming them, just the way it is.

samsnewplace 11 years, 9 months ago

NOONE can "live" in this city for under $15 hour and that would be a really awful apartment in a not so nice part of town with a roundabout nearby. The rich do get richer and the poor get poorer all the time, just look around you. Sad.

Ceallach 11 years, 9 months ago

Who must be paid the Kansas minimum wage?

A. All employees not covered by the Federal Fair Labor Standard Act must pay Kansas minimum wage. Contact Federal Wage and Hour at (913) 551-5721 to inquire about coverage whether your company is covered by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.


Ceallach 11 years, 9 months ago

TOB, $5.15 is the federal minimum wage.

Teapot9 11 years, 9 months ago

Its because theres a ton of lazy hippies and liberals that dont want to work so besides their welfare checks their annual income is a big fat goose egg. Lets see how long this stays up for!!!

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

KU, USD497 and the city are the largest employers in town and Pearson is the largest private employer in town.

I think Py hit the nail on the head. Teapot gets a big Golden Raspberry for demonstrating such phenominal ignorance.

It's unbelievable that they call 100K for a house affordable housing in this town when you consider the wages that are paid.

Teapot9 11 years, 9 months ago

Ignorance??? Surely Azure has heard of the pot calling the kettle black?? I believe you meant "phenomenal". Please spell correctly prior to calling anyone ignorant.

KsTwister 11 years, 9 months ago

Denise's answer is the same as it was in the 70's. No jobs to keep it in check. Now back to the city depressing new business even a WalMart gets the runaround.......delays for approval, delays for court approval,delays for construction. Sign ordinances which stop everything (except Tanger is in violation for their own). Graffitti from bored kids without jobs. Higher taxes with bad streets. It would take less to change some laws here.

bunnyhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Could it possibly be that, historically, the Lawrence city commission, urged on by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, have given HUGE tax incentives to bring in employers that pay low wages with few benefits?????????????????????? rather than insisting that any businesses expecting incentives to locate here provide jobs that pay well and include good benefit packages?

Bone777 11 years, 9 months ago

Minimum wage in Washington State is $7.63/hour

The minimum wage is recalculated yearly based on a cost-of-living adjustment for workers age 16 and older.

14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85 percent of the minimum wage ($7.63 x 85% = $6.49/hour).

Having lived in both places, I don't see a real difference in the cost of living.

I lived in Lawrence and worked in a county government job and was making $23, 000 plus benifits. All of my co-workers were college educated or attending college.

I moved to Washington State and took a job in the exact same field, in a town a quarter the size of Lawrence and was making $30,000 a year with benefits. My co-workers in WA. needed only a few credits of college credit. Neat.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

Top, you may spell better than I do, but you are still a dumb@$$ so masticate my derriere. Even it I hide that in flowery words I'll probably still get me deleted so just BITE ME!

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

"so masticate my derriere."

Ouch. It hurts just thinking about that.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

I mean, really, I never understood the whole bite me thing. It may be demeaning for one person, but it would be seriously painful for the other, if taken literally. Can't insults make sense?

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

What REALLY hurts is that I gave Teapot (sorry Topside) another reason to criticise my grammar. What can I say - I type fast and am spoiled by Word. At least I'm doing better than the average male and that make this liberal, hippy chick feel pretty good.

paladin 11 years, 9 months ago

Yes Sir. Thank you, sir. Please Sir, can I have some more? Oh please, Sir, have Mercy! Don't beat me, too! I'm ever so sorry. I'll be good. The more things stay the same, the more things stay the same. Maybe Marx was right and this country will disintegrate from the inside out. Karl, not Groucho. But maybe Groucho was right, too, when he said, "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made".

sunflower_sue 11 years, 9 months ago

The correct responce to bite me is "where, and how hard?"

RI, please tell me you did not run over the better half's cat? Still, I'm sure she's pleased the lawn is mowed...fur and all.

Py, I'll even scrub toilets if you mow my lawn, too! I detest mowing!

Lawrence incomes: They are lower because this is entertainment town, not industry town. Too many starving artists that get paid...well, nothing! That's why they're starving. I would like a job that pays a living wage. So, where am I to work? Do I have to get a masters in teaching or even a doctorate to become a college prof. or is there more to this one horse town that I'm missing? If I keep typing on the OTS, maybe I'll get my words up to over 200/minute and then I'll go for a stenographer job and earn in the six figure range. Do we have any mining jobs near? That pays well.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

Thanks, Pal, now I'm having a "Buggery on the High Seas" moment.

Rip the shirt! Oh, how cliche!! What are you gonna do now, string me up??

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

The numbers in the article have me feeling so good I think I will sleep just fine.

Mama 11 years, 9 months ago

Just curious on the whole "living wage" thing. Someone please enlighten me. I own a small business and employee 3-4 college students at any given time. I pay $6/hour. No, one cannot keep a roof over one's head, etc., etc. on $6/hour. But the students who work for me aren't relying on this to pay rent, etc. They're working for "fun" money and the perks. The work they do doesn't justify $8/hour. It's a minimum work, minimum wage job. So can some of the "living wage" proponents out there explain to me why I, a small business owner barely paying the rent as is, should be required to pay $8+/hour to employees who, for all intents and purposes, get paid to sit at a desk and do homework or read books?

In answer to the actual question, I agree with Denise...there aren't as many corporate opportunities. Us Mom and Pop's that the lovely liberals are so fond of can't pay lofty rates and lofty rents and stay in business. Eventually you have to pick which it is you want: locally owned and operated with lower wages or corporate owned and higher wages. One or the other. Not both. Can't happen.

Anybody want to buy a business? I want to move!!!!!!!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 9 months ago

Black panthers are running wild with swarms of purple hummingbirds chasing them. rolls eyes

If you had thrown poor kitty under the talons of the big green monster, would you be able to defend yourself in court? ("Really, your honor, I was mowing in the dark. What? Yes, I'm aware that they do not put lights on lawn mowers for good reasons.")

c_doc77 11 years, 9 months ago

Companies get away with what people allow them to get away with. The issue is not whether the profits of local companies compared to corporate ones facilitates lower wages (although that is a valid factor in the equation).

Look at Wal-Mart, for instance, they're telling their employees how to get government assistance when they are making probably more profits than 90% of their "competitors". And then you have their CEO saying that he supports a higher minimum wage. What does that have to do with what they pay their employees? What? They have to wait for the government's approval to provide people with a living wage so they can get off of medicaid?

Be prepared for the living wage to drop even more with the construction of yet another Lawrence Wal-Mart.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

Actuallly, R_I, That article doesn't do much for my state of happiness. Even though hubby and I are both above average for this town it is still hard to exists here.

bunnyhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

UNIONS............until we bring back labor unions all working Americans are SCREWED!

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

R_I, if you'd thrown the cat under the mower, would that have been animal cruelty or Iron Chef?

bunny, your high regard of labor unions is interesting. Yes, they may get higher wages for their workers, but it's really not always with any consideration of the financial well-being of the company paying the wages. I firmly believe the years of unionized work forces are a significant part of the current slide of U.S. automakers.

Also, unionized Detroit teachers are currently on strike, demanding higher wages ... when they work in the second-poorest city in the nation (just above Cleveland). But they want their wages to match surrounding communities -- communities which are wealthier than Detroit. Brilliant.

In their modern incarnation, unions will not make the economic picture brighter. As one living in the shadow of the U.S. automakers, I firmly believe that.

Teapot9 11 years, 9 months ago

Azure, you're spelling and grammar is truly an abortion of the English language. Please stop embarassing yourself. RESPEK

beatrice 11 years, 9 months ago

t-pot9: "Lets see how long this stays up for!!!"

Now teapot, since you went to the trouble of criticizing AA's spelling, I would like to point out your own incorrect use of spelling, as well as your poor grammar. There should be an apostrophe on "Lets," as it is a contraction of the words "Let us," and the preposition "for" at the end of your sentence is entirely unnecessary. Your sentence should simply read "Let's (or Let us) see how long this stays up!" -- using, of course, a single exclamation point. Additional exclamation points add nothing to the emphasis of your statement, with the exception of highlighting your incorrect use of a preposition.

Now, it appears that you are the lazy one who should have worked harder in your school days. Perhaps it is you who should serve as an example of poor schooling and work habits that leads to low wages in Lawrence. Honestly, who wants to hire or pay a large wage to a "know-it-all" who knows less than most? Certainly there are others who know how to use a simple preposition.

And yes, I am a liberal, so BITE ME TOO!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 9 months ago

Bea, snicker Prospector, priceless! Thanks! TOB, if he continues to put on a few more pounds, will he get a "fat raise" again if his contract is renewed? (I may get it for that one.)

sunflower_sue 11 years, 9 months ago

Put my vote in for the black panther. I have seen many televised marches.

No to the grilled dove...too much lead in them for me. I'm damaged enough.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 9 months ago

So long as I don't chip a tooth! You know what else is good wrapped in bacon? Filet Mignon! MMMMmmmmm!

Linda Aikins 11 years, 9 months ago

Beatrice - NICE JOB!

Doesn't pleather come from black panthers?

sunflower_sue 11 years, 9 months ago

I did see a purple hummingbird once. It was riding on the back of a unicorn.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

S_S, the announcement said to stay away from the brown acid.

Just kiddin' Sue, ya knows I loves ya!!

As for Blank Panthers, fight the power brother man!!! Free Huey Newton!!!

Hey, Pothead!! Please continue to masticate upon my gluteus maximus lest you again rectally asphyxiate.

Laura Watkins 11 years, 9 months ago

I worked for a private business in high school and I made 6.25$ an hour...and that was five years ago.

I think it's a little ridiculous to assume that everyone who is working in college is only doing so to get extra "fun" money. I worked two jobs all four years in college and most of my money went to paying for car repairs, food (like actual groceries) and utilities. Most of the people I know in college who work are doing the same. I wouldn't call that fun money...

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

A-hem, if all her employees do is still there and do homework, can she not do that herself?

PapaB 11 years, 9 months ago

Low wages are due to lack of competition. The employers have the power when there are less jobs than people wanting those jobs. Same thing happens with housing- Prices on houses are not rising as much since there's so many vacant ones on the market. Supply and Demand. The only way wages will go up is for new Business to move in, plain and simple.

acg 11 years, 9 months ago

Bea, that post was freakin' awesome!!

beatrice 11 years, 9 months ago

So what happened with the question? Now we are talking about opinions on tap water? Oh well, I'll still play along.

It is wet. I could be wrong. That is just my humble opinion.

To paraphrase Steven Wright, "I invented instant water. The only problem is, I don't know what to add."

Linda Aikins 11 years, 9 months ago

My urban dictionary is blocked from here. I don't know what WATB means either, but it may not be good?

beatrice 11 years, 9 months ago

Does that mean you are a Marxist, brother?

Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here -- I predict that tomorrow's question is going to be about the tap water in Lawrence.

Tychoman 11 years, 9 months ago

The tap water in Lawrence tastes better than Topeka's.

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