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Would you vote to approve a 1-cent sales tax increase for additional city funding?

Asked at U.S. Post Office, 645 Vt. on April 11, 2007

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Photo of Carrie Madden

“Yes. That’s a tax that doesn’t put a strain on people on a day-to-day basis, and I really do think we need a new library.”

Photo of Martin Moore

“Sure. I think it would provide a lot of important services for the city of Lawrence, and I can’t think of any alternate sources there would be.”

Photo of Aly Beery

“Absolutely, because often things like a new library and other city structures are only paid for with tax money, and I think that tax money goes for a good cause that I have no problem paying.”

Photo of Charles Van Ness

“I guess I would have to see more specific details of how that money would be spent before I would be in favor of it.”


Kat Christian 10 years, 11 months ago

LJW try asking this question to working poor in Lawrence trying to just get by day to day and see what they say? It's easy to say YES when you have an income that allows you a little left over and you don't know what to do with it except leave it sitting in the bank until the urge hit you to splurge. Of course you can afford another % increase in taxes.

KsTwister 10 years, 11 months ago

How does one "slow the bleeding" by stuffing a library and sports recreational complex into it?

Lee Eldridge 10 years, 11 months ago

We already have a higher sales tax than almost anywhere else in the state. The city needs to work within the budget they have and not raise our taxes again.

Steve Mechels 10 years, 11 months ago

I agree smitty, although it would be a loaf of bread or gallon of milk each month; if people would think about this as 1% instead of 1 penny they would realize how much this would cost. Just think of purchasing a new car for $20,000. This increase would cost an extra $200.

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

informed: Maybe they had this guy asking the question:

Or perhaps her:

Either way, I could see getting three positive responses.

beatrice 10 years, 11 months ago

second line should read the "daily" tax rate

cutny 10 years, 11 months ago

Sure, what's a penny? All of you complainers are probably the types that won't bend down to pick a penny up off the street, yet this is a problem? The stone ages are over people. If you want a cop on every corner of this town, during the day no less, it's gotta come out of somebody's pocket.

paladin 10 years, 11 months ago

I think it was a setup. As to the question, UH..... no.

gccs14r 10 years, 11 months ago

"Would you be more willing to vote for the 1 cent increase if it had a guaranteed mill levy adjustment that lowered your property taxes?"

Do you really think this city's slumlords would drop unit rents if their property taxes went down? Ha. This just pushes additional burden for city services off on the poor. Besides, lowering the mill levy just means that the city appraisers would increase valuations, since the city wants extra money to give to developers.

x96merrill3 10 years, 11 months ago

Everyone posting seems to be against this. What if it were a give and take situation? Would you be more willing to vote for the 1 cent increase if it had a guaranteed mill levy adjustment that lowered your property taxes?

Stephen Prue 10 years, 11 months ago

smoke and mirrors, bait and switch, they get ya comin' or goin', good time charlie gots the blues

average 10 years, 11 months ago

Hell no. It is regressive and makes businesses here less competitive against neighboring cities and internet merchants.

A lot of people here commute, and so have no extra cost to buy groceries and goods in Topeka/JoCo after work versus in Lawrence. Thus, the burden falls heaviest on those who don't commute out of town.

Maybe this is Hack's sneaky way of pushing Wal-Mart out. Plenty of East Lawrence folks would drive to a WalMart+grocery right on K-10 in Eudora. Maybe they could convince Lecompton to annex to the SLT/Farmer's Turnpike and build there.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 11 months ago

I would be for the tax if it was guaranteed to fix the streets in east Lawrence. Our street hasn't been resurfaced in years I've decided to buy some of the those drops you use to discourage mosquitos, because the water doesn't drain to the sewer. There are puddles everywhere. If it's to be used to resurface Wakarusa again the answer is a huge NO. This 30 million dollar library will be pushed through, because the developers have designed it to benefit them. We could easily remodel the one we have and have a small satellite library for those who are too good to come downtown.

sgtwolverine 10 years, 11 months ago

Carrie Madden's answer makes me curious. Of any tax, I would think an increased sales tax would be the one to affect the most people on a day-to-day basis.

Or maybe she was being sarcastic.

Anyway, a 1-cent sales tax increase might be the most even-handed way to do this, rather than picking out some smaller segment of the population and saying, "Hey you! You're going to pay for this!" And Py does have an interesting point -- sort of a cost-of-living increase for the government.

Linda Aikins 10 years, 11 months ago

Sgt, I think she meant that it is JUST one cent and that wouldn't strain most people's budgets. She's obviously never lived on macaroni and cheese (using water instead of milk)!

But I guess it would be OK, as long as one of you fine-tooth-combs the budget to be sure we aren't paying for birth control for the commission.

beatrice 10 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps they could have a Dada tax, where one day it is up 2%, the next down 3%, the following up again, etc. and the dail tax rate will be randomly selected from a Dr. Seuss type hat inside city hall every morning.

The specifics of why the tax is necessary do need to be spelled out, otherwise it is a never ending problem.

To be fair, one thing to keep in mind is the fact that many states have their tax base set as a percentage of federal taxes. With the current federal administration's tax cuts for the wealthy still in effect, states also bring in less money, thus less goes back to the cities.

Or, they could heavily tax all left handed smokers.

Godot 10 years, 11 months ago

"Everyone posting seems to be against this. What if it were a give and take situation? Would you be more willing to vote for the 1 cent increase if it had a guaranteed mill levy adjustment that lowered your property taxes?"

Mayor Hack's goal is to raise more money, 12 to 13 million more per year. If the mill levy were decreased, the values would magically go up. I agree with whoever said, "smoke and mirrors."

It is just an extra $140 per year for every man, woman and child in Lawrence. No big deal.

KsTwister 10 years, 11 months ago

Sure we would Godot, BUT they need the property taxes for the budget and sales tax for pipe dreams----so it would not happen for longer than one year. Then UP,UP,UP and AWAY!

x96merrill3 10 years, 11 months ago

Well, here's the breakdown if we DON'T invite tax dollars in from other communities when they shop, eat, sleep, travel, and visit:

Current debt: $150 milliion / Population (rough numbers for simplicity) 100,000 = $1500 per person

Divide that by 10 years and it's $150 per person/year JUST to pay off the current debt that OTHER commissioners have mounted up. That is with NO additional services, libraries, sports complexes, etc...

My belief is that Ms. Hack is trying to slow the bleeding before it's too late. Remember, this is only a suggestion that may or may not come to fruition. What it DOES do (and this board is evidence of that) is create a discussion that may lead to other ideas.

Let your solutions flow, more than just your problems, your SOLUTIONS!!!!

My solution:

Raise the sales tax 1% for 10 years (voter approved and all that jazz)

Cut Mill Levy to 20. (still FAR above the mill levies of some JoCo communities)

CUT, SLASH, REDUCE, CONDENSE so many of the wasted social programs that make the town a welcome mat for vagrants, vagabonds, hobos, and those generally disinterested in striving for more than mere existence.

Roll up your sleeves Lawrence, this is gonna get ugly and it's gonna take hard work to push through this.

Janet Lowther 10 years, 11 months ago

Not just no, but H*LL NO.

Add another cent of sales tax, and Lawrence looses a lot of my business. Pretty much anything I can buy in Topeka without a special trip.

In a town with property taxes this high, and in a state with an income tax, 8%+ sales tax is just insane!

Remember property tax only costs a middle income taxpayer seventy five cents on the dollar, where a dollar of sales tax costs a dollar 'cause it is not deductible on Federal taxes.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 10 years, 11 months ago

Who are these OTS people they interview? Three out of four interviewed were in FAVOR of MORE taxes?

I've said it before and I'll say it again (for all my fans who cannot get enough of me): Bring some BUSINESS to Kansas and we wouldn't have to raise taxes year after year. We don't need MORE TAXES, we need MORE INCOME to tax.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 10 years, 11 months ago

Taxes are like the proverbial frog in a boiling pot. If we really had any idea how "hot" it was, we'd all be jumping.

lunacydetector 10 years, 11 months ago

the commission spent what? -$1 Million dollars on consultants over the past 4 years = $250,000 per year spent.

Wally World lawsuit = $1.5 Million spent.

The empty T bus that hardly anyone rides = $1.5 Million per year spent.

The flowers downtown = $90,000 spent last year.

The bicycle paths throughout town for the benefit of 1/2 of 1% of the population, cost?

The roundabouts throughout our city - cost $750,000 per roundabout.

surely city hall could downsize their workforce since it has tripled in size in the past 10 years.

it all adds up to a lot of money and this is just scraping the surface.

This sales tax will only give the kiddies more money to spend in the candy store.

thare 10 years, 11 months ago

It's one freaking cent. If you have $20,000 to spend on a new car than I don't feel sorry for you if you have to spend an extra $200 dollars. With the same logic I would have to spend $500 dollars to rack up $5. If everyone is so concerned about the working poor than why don't you get fired up about something that could actually make a difference like universal health care for children?

sgtwolverine 10 years, 11 months ago

R_I, that's because there really isn't logic in it. I hereby declare this a logic-free zone. Speak accordingly.

And actually, I really don't particularly like the notion of increased taxes. But the demands on the government seem to be constantly increasing, and new/increased taxes are the natural result. So until the population at large stops asking the government for this, that and the other, tax increases are going to happen.

trinity 10 years, 11 months ago

DAMN, bea!

i'm a left handed smoker, thank GAWDS i don't live in lawrence! :*( i'd be taxed mightily in bea's world! ;)

craigers 10 years, 11 months ago

No way. I agree with blue's first comment. Learn how to budget and then see if an increase is warranted.

Godot 10 years, 11 months ago

pywacket wrote: "My first sarcastic post aside, I'm asking these questions sincerely... It does seem to me that--no matter WHO is running city gov't, state gov't, the school board, etc., the same voices of dissent are heard every single time the entity in question makes some effort to secure funding for repairs, improvements, a bigger (and better equipped) police force, etc., etc."

When elections are held, and nothing changes, then the complaints will continue.

As with this proposed tax increase, it is not for the things you mention, it is for more amenities that will require more staff, more upkeep, and will cause even greater increases in the future, all without any increase in the tax base.

Hoots 10 years, 11 months ago

A few here want to make the point that the city can't function on a lean budget.

"There's no reason why cities shouldn't operate on 1950s-era funding. After all, none of the contractors or providers they use have raised their PRICES since those days."

The point being missed is what percentage of your income goes to some form of government today. When my Grandfather died I went through some old papers and was shocked at how little of his income went to taxes years ago. Take into account this was in an era when much of the infrastructure we have today was built. It was done without spending in the red as well. Something is broken and it needs to be fixed.

So will you be happy when the government gets 60% or 70% of everything you make? I figure that with all the taxes I pay to Federal, State, and Local entities I'm around 50% right now and I don't even get a thank you note.

David Klamet 10 years, 11 months ago

Before we approve even higher taxes, it's only prudent to understand how the current taxes are being spent. A business would have to justify it's current and proposed expenditures. We should expect no less of our government.

All I've ever seen are occasional facts and figures from which I'm unable to see "the big picture".

Before you ask for more, please tell me how you're spending the money I'm giving you now.

beatrice 10 years, 11 months ago

Godot: When elections are held and things change then the complaints will still continue.

Hoots: rapists rarely send thank you notes.

girly 10 years, 11 months ago

Well, I don't really mind the idea, but I know people would head outside lawrence for big ticket items like cars, if other counties has lower sales tax. Wouldn't you?

sunflower_sue 10 years, 11 months ago

logic free zone "Sure! Tax the crap out of us!"

logic zone Well, I live 1.6 miles closer to Tongie than I do to Lawrence. I could shop in Tongie and not only save on gas money but also on sales tax. Hmmmm...tough choice. (I'm strictly talking groceries here, since there is nothing that I need at Dollar general...and nothing fancy, like...cheez wiz.) OK, I say NO to the sales tax.

Py, bread pudding! Yummmm. Want some!

Goots, come to my house and I'll make you some Kraft using real milk and everything! I'm sure I gotta can of SPAM around here somewhere that would compliment. Perhaps a nice glass of Boone's Farm? Yeah, who am I kidding? Let's go to Py's house...she's making bread pudding!

SloMo 10 years, 11 months ago

The problem with the it's-only-a-penny-for-pity's-sake tax increase is that once it's in place, it's always there - forevermore - and then once the new library, or whatever, is done and paid for, and the next new thing-to-want comes along, then some brilliant legislator will propose another it's-just-a-penny tax increase. I'm old enough to remember when the sales tax here was 4% and now it's what - 7%? or more?

Maybe the city should just establish various collections for the non-essential projects it wants, and people who agree that we really need a new library can contribute to that, and people who want flowers downtown can contribute to that. They can hold fundraisers like eveyone else does!

Does anyone remember how much that swimming pool at Freestate High cost us? THAT was a chunk of change, as I recall, courtesy of a conservative city commission.

trinity 10 years, 11 months ago

ok i know that this sales tax ots is a very important, pertinent issue to weigh opinions on; but-has anybody been reading in other papers about phill the pill kline and his latest stuff in JoCo?? good lord that man needs to be stopped!

and how's come there isn't anything in the ljw about this, yet? the mandatory blood draws phill is wanting to do on suspected dui drivers involved in serious accidents? threatening to arrest hospital personnel if they don't comply? i'm dumbfounded-and happy i don't live in jo co.

Linda Aikins 10 years, 11 months ago

Sue, will you have Klondike bars there too? And SPAM? It just don' get better'n that! We'll sit around and discuss Imus. I don't want to get into that on the boards...

THEN we'll go to Py's! Good ideas!

Ceallach 10 years, 11 months ago

bea, must someone always play the "hand" card?

SloMo 10 years, 11 months ago


I thought Phillll was on a witch-hunt against Dr. Tiller in particular, but now he seems to want the whole medical profession behind bars! What is it that Phillll has against doctors?

sunflower_sue 10 years, 11 months ago

Goots, fresh out of Klondike bars but I have some powdered whipping cream that we could put on saltine crackers. Of course, we'd have to knock the salt off of the tops before we slather on the stawberry jelly. Viola! Strawberry shortcake! Imus(t) have me some!

Kontum1972 10 years, 11 months ago

why not....

heck with gas prices going off the scale, home foreclosures, aquila wanting a RATE INCREASE so its investors can take home 12%...unemployment out the wazoo, bad federal government, a stinking war....that we cant win and never will....lets find something else to ask for more money out of us working stiffs....and where is ossama?

OBTW..what happened to the iraq studies groups recommendations to solve the problem in iraq?

Jr. just ignored it.... and probably never read it since he doesnt like to read.

Kontum1972 10 years, 11 months ago

somebody forgot to mention the eagle bend-over golf course and the city water bill for that abortion..i dont play golf...

pelliott 10 years, 11 months ago

I think the RA's response surprised me most. Maybe she never ran a household. "Yes. That's a tax that doesn't put a strain on people on a day-to-day basis, and I really do think we need a new library."

If they had called it "Help developers build new apartments and develop farmland into additional upscale housing TAX" would she still vote for it. That is part of what the tax will go for. As for contractors raising their prices, property tax is done as a percentage, not fixed so supposedly when a new houses is built, the percentage of their property value is suppose to cover their cost of improvements with a share of the money covering general city and county services.
Sales tax usually hits the poor at a percentage of (I am not sure of this stat)their expendable income at three times that of the rich.

  • Carrie

stbaker 10 years, 11 months ago

I would vote to increase sales tax contingent upon SLASHING property taxes!

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