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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.”

Comments

stbaker 7 years ago

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

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pelliott 7 years 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
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small_fish_in_small_pond 7 years ago

"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."

  • Martin Moore, land use facilitator, Lawrence

My arse!!! He is actually a greedy real estate salesperson.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years ago

Trin, Thats what happens when the"appointed" DA replaces competent prosecuters with Operation Rescue lawyers.
I have heard they have bumbled all sorts of criminal cases.

Remember Gov. Sebelius refused to sign Kline's nomination papers for the D.A. job, though a ceremonial task. Gov. Sebelius stated: "I do not believe such a clear majority of Kansans rejected Kline's stewardship as attorney general with the intention of seeing him continue a public career in law enforcement paid for by taxpayers."

I wonder if Kline's license to practice law is current, It was suspended 3 times in the past.

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Ceallach 7 years ago

No to an "additional" 1% in taxes.

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Kontum1972 7 years ago

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

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Kontum1972 7 years 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.

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sunflower_sue 7 years 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!

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SloMo 7 years ago

Trinity,

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?

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Ceallach 7 years ago

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

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Gootsie 7 years 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!

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trinity 7 years 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.

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SloMo 7 years 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.

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sunflower_sue 7 years 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!

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years ago

"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." - sgt

sgt, you have succinctly identified the underlying issue.

Now how do we resolve it?

Personally I like Py's Idea. Lets go back to "Dynamic Conservatism" the doctrine that was part of Ike's presidency.

On Issues unrelated to todays OTS question, Look at Ike's other policys....

Operation Wetback - Illegal Immigration - Not a P.C. name, but effective. Operation Blue Bat - Effective intervention in Southwest Asia. National Interstate and Defense Highways Act - creation of the interstate highway system with nary a round-a-bout. And taxation Ideas- "We cannot afford to reduce taxes, [and] reduce income," he said, "until we have in sight a program of expenditure that shows that the factors of income and outgo will be balanced."

Yes.... I LIKE IKE!

Edwina: This ain't family life! H.I.: Well... it sure ain't "Ozzie and Harriet."

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girly 7 years 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?

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beatrice 7 years ago

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

Hoots: rapists rarely send thank you notes.

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David Klamet 7 years 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.

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Hoots 7 years 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.

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Godot 7 years 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.

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craigers 7 years ago

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

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trinity 7 years 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! ;)

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blue73harley 7 years ago

thare - we were fired up about that yesterday. We can only get fired up at one thing at a time or we tend to spontaneously combust.

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smitty 7 years ago

lunacydetector, you left out the golf course(subsidised entertainment for the better funded citizens) out of your list.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 7 years ago

If it is one cent, then one cent on a dime purchase is 10% increase. SUE, you are an educator, get together with CHAD or MARK FAGAN and do a story , complete with details. Explain how much more we would pay on a gas bill from Aquila. Right now, we pay 1% city sales tax. on a 400 dollar bill there is 4 bucks going to the city..will this become 8 dollars since we already have 1 %,,,does that become 2% or is it a penny.

EDUCATION is not coming from city hall. We have a financial CEO, a lawyer, a teacher, a son in law of a financial invesment family and a barber. Barber Amyx, how do you report sales tax from the barber shop>

Is it a penny or is it 8% plus..just curious.

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sgtwolverine 7 years 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.

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thare 7 years 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?

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hawkperchedatriverfront 7 years ago

NO, they hav no PLAN...just as before.

Would any of it be used to purchase Memorial Park cemetery? After all, the city does not own it...but maintains it. Now there is a winner!

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Defender 7 years ago

If the sales tax goes up here, then Lawrence can say goodbye to every last dollar that I spend, as I will no longer support ANY Lawrence business.

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lunacydetector 7 years 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.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years 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.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years 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.

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jrlii 7 years 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.

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Pywacket 7 years ago

Sgt, I think she (Carrie) means that taxes on the piddly daily expenditures of we little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Maybe she's contrasting with such alternatives as increased property taxes, which (even with a low percentage point) can add up to a lot quickly. Just my guess...

And, yeah... I do get sick of people whining about things the city (not just Lawrence--every city) should do and should fix, then in the next breath squealing like stuck pigs at any effort the city makes to come up with funding.

Do people everywhere assume that their cities are run so ineffectually that (if reformed) they could magically operate on the same budget year after year AND stretch that budget to include improvements and additions to infrastructure, parks, etc? And new libraries?

Lawrence just had an election. One would assume that the majority of the populace therefore approve of whomever was elected/reelected to city hall. A couple weeks later, is it the same voters who are second-guessing the commission's belief that a 1-cent tax is needed, or is it the disgruntled minority who was sure their candidates could have funded everything needed w/o such an increase?

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.

Again--I'm not picking on Lawrence, particularly--this seems to be the routine everywhere. If people are so sure that their elected officials are mismanaging and wasting funds, why do they vote so many of them back in? And if they're not mismanaging funds, why is it so hard to see that costs rise and the money must come from somewhere?

To turn to a more interesting topic, I just saw a good recipe for bread pudding (in the KC Star). That sounds like just the ticket on a cool, blustery day, now that the strawberries are gone.

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KsTwister 7 years ago

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

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Norma Jeane Baker 7 years ago

I offered one solution yesterday:

Bring jobs to town. Real jobs. The ones that some of us commuters will leave our currnet jobs and work in Lawrence for. That will increase the tax base. It will also increase the city's income from sales tax, as we will then do more of our shopping in Lawrence, rather than where we do now -- close to our offices. More people shopping in Lawrence may necessitate various businesses hiring more help. It will also reduce emissions since we won't be driving 30-50 miles, each way, to work. Heck, some of us may even become bicycle commuters.

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x96merrill3 7 years 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.

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KsTwister 7 years 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!

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Godot 7 years 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.

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beatrice 7 years ago

second line should read the "daily" tax rate

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beatrice 7 years 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.

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Gootsie 7 years 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.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years ago

sgt, "And Py does have an interesting point -- sort of a cost-of-living increase for the government."

So you and Py say that costs of purchases have not increased, but we need to raise the percentage of tax to pay for increasing costs?

I fail to see the logic in that statement.

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sgtwolverine 7 years 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.

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bobberboy 7 years ago

informed. It's kind of funny you would spend $20000 on a fancy shamancy car - but you wouldn't spend $200 to give yourself and your fellow humans a better place to live. You sound so typical of the "me" mindset.

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Norma Jeane Baker 7 years ago

Oops. That should be "buying a $20,000 car would cost an ADDITIONAL $200 in taxes over its cost today."

Sorry, it's early and I'm my own personal spelling and grammar police!

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Norma Jeane Baker 7 years ago

cutny, it's NOT a penny. It's an additional penny on every dollar. That's an additional 1%. Look at the example aeroscout17 gave -- buying a $20,000 car would cost an ADDITIONAL $200 in taxes over it's cost today.

The city needs to learn to live within their budget, just like the rest of us do.

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cutny 7 years 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.

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bobberboy 7 years ago

Yes. All you people out there that want something for nothing - hey, nothing is free. Supporting the library is a great way to help individuals who can't afford to buy a book. It's a gift to the poor.

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jonas 7 years ago

informed: Maybe they had this guy asking the question:

http://www.joystiq.com/media/2006/05/wiiline09.jpg

Or perhaps her:

http://freethumbs.dreamstime.com/19/big/free_191962.jpg

Either way, I could see getting three positive responses.

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aeroscout17 7 years 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.

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smitty 7 years ago

Someone do the math on a person who now budgets $20-30 a week for groceries and how much is taxes. That amount can pay for a loaf of bread, or a gallon of milk, or some fresh fruits and vegetables, or a package of meat all because of the current tax rate.

A tax increase takes food out of the mouths of the poor. It's more than difficult to have empathy for the home owners tax base when you are on a fixed income or the working poor(legalized slavery) and struggling.

If this reaches a vote I will do all within my powers to defeat the tax.

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years 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.

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macon47 7 years ago

MARION, BLESS HIS LITTLE POINTED HEAD HAD A GREAT SUGGESTION. Since the MT bus system is such a money pit, Lets just offer rides at no charge , FOR FREE ! It hardly takes in enough money to pay someone To count it and take it to the bank, so at least We would have that savings.

NOW ,MY IDEA

Next for the next year, just charge everyone 5 bucks Admission to the library. After 12 months you will Find out how really important this facility is OR ISNT. Sounds simple to me Plus it is easier than axing the hack tax

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average 7 years 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.

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Pywacket 7 years ago

Oh, lord, no! In fact, they ought to lower all taxes. 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.

(Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go dust the Ike & Mamie photos on my piano.)

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paladin 7 years ago

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

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Norma Jeane Baker 7 years ago

I wonder how many people they had to ask before they got three that said, "Sure, tax the crap out of me."??? You can't tell me that they asked ONLY 4 people this question and got these results as a random sampling.

BOHICA

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years ago

Why not make downtown Lawrence a "Special Shopping District" have that area collect an additional 3% sales tax.

It's only 3 cents for every dollar spent.

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buffalo_star 7 years ago

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

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gccs14r 7 years 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.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years ago

Well I might take a train I might take a plane, but if I have to walk I'm gonna get there just the same I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come They got a crazy way of taxing there And I'm gonna get me some.

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x96merrill3 7 years 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?

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Das_Ubermime 7 years ago

Given how high the property taxes are, creating the highest sales tax in the state with this increase seems irresponsible. Why should Lawrence cost so much more than the rest of the state?

What is more, the plan for using the money generated is vague. It seems that the projects they want to use it for would cost more than the increase would provide. They need to prioritize their expenses and look at how to cut costs.

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Lee Eldridge 7 years 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.

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Kat Christian 7 years 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.

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blue73harley 7 years ago

No, the city needs to budget more efficiently. Plus we don't need no stinkin' Library/Palace. I would rather see a satellite.

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jonas 7 years ago

What's it going to be used for?

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