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A rendering of the design of the proposed Treanor Architects headquarters building at 1040 Vt.
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It is true that the total number of jobs at all firms given tax abatements is in excess of the total number of jobs promised. The firms that met the promised number of jobs produced more extra jobs than the shortfall experienced by the firms that failed to meet their promises. However, this statistic would have merit only if the jobs would not have been generated in the absence of the tax abatement. This is simply not the case.
The tax abatement is a needless giveaway. The firms would have produced the jobs without the tax abatement. Some of the firms have made public statements to this effect. All of the published research on tax abatements finds this to be true. Property taxes are too small a percentage of a firm’s total operating expenses to be crucial to the decision to build or expand. The firms will even lie to the City saying that without the tax abatement the firm cannot build or expand.
What the report shows is that Lawrence has an ongoing problem with its tax abatement program. In a normal economic development program, non-compliance should be minimal. The PIRC should be discussing what to do with no more that one firm that is out of compliance. Instead, the PIRC is trying to cover up the fact that non-compliance is normal in Lawrence. Six of the eight firms are substantially out of compliance in at least one of the important areas or investment, wages, or jobs. This is not a new or temporary condition; it has been going on for years.
The City has been misled. It has been told by business advocacy organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, that tax abatements are needed to attract firms even though the experience both locally and nationally says the opposite. The City has been led into a position of offering abatements, almost automatically, to firms just for the asking.
Yet, these firms fail to make the promised investments, fail to pay wages comparable to other firms in the community, and fail to produce the promised jobs. In many cases, the firms go out of business before the City can hope to realize any benefits. (Note that the PIRC report is deficient in that it only reports on existing abatements; it does not report of the firms that have been given abatements that went out of business such as Davol or E&E.)
An ongoing problem of non-compliance hurts the City. Word is out; Lawrence is a pushover town. A firm can promise much, produce little, and still keep its tax break.
The City of Lawrence is confronting a severe budget problem. Revenues are not flowing into the City as expected. Social service agencies saw their budgets cut (although the Chamber of Commerce was given even more taxpayer money to further its failed economic development activities). We would all have been better served if we had not offered needless giveaways to firms in the form of tax abatements. Those lost tax revenues are sorely needed.
That is true thus far. However TIF did come up when discussing a variety of projects Tuesday night. TIF and abatements are discussed in some of the websites offered. It's all food for thought.
Merrill, I don't think Treanor is asking for TIF. They want property tax abatements.
Become acquainted with 3 descriptions as to how we taxpayers are far too generous for OUR own good:
Keep in mind Tax Increment Financing...
“Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill)
Not Smart Development Increases Taxes:
Local Expert Thinking With Excellent links
On the tax dollar table:
1. $90 million sewage treatment plant = tax increase attached to sewer rates
2. 31st street expansion - no cost revealed as yet
3. more water and sewer lines who knows where
4. USD 497 tax increase plus new buildings
5. $20 million USD 497 athletic project needs paid for
6. USD 497 Building Maintenace
7. New fire stations
8. More LPD staff
etc etc etc
As used in this act:
(a) "Dilapidated structure" means a residence or other building which is in deteriorating condition by reason of obsolescence, inadequate provision of ventilation, light, air or structural integrity or is otherwise in a condition detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of its inhabitants or a residence or other building which is in deteriorating condition and because of age, architecture, history or significance is worthy of preservation.
(b) "Municipality" means any municipality as defined by K.S.A. 10-1101, and amendments thereto.
(c) "Neighborhood revitalization area" means:
(1) An area in which there is a predominance of buildings or improvements which by reason of dilapidation, deterioration, obsolescence, inadequate provision for ventilation, light, air, sanitation, or open spaces, high density of population and overcrowding, the existence of conditions which endanger life or property by fire and other causes or a combination of such factors, is conducive to ill health, transmission of disease, infant mortality, juvenile delinquency or crime and which is detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare;
(2) an area which by reason of the presence of a substantial number of deteriorated or deteriorating structures, defective or inadequate streets, incompatible land use relationships, faulty lot layout in relation to size, adequacy, accessibility or usefulness, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, deterioration of site or other improvements, diversity of ownership, tax or special assessment delinquency exceeding the actual value of the land, defective or unusual conditions of title, or the existence of conditions which endanger life or property by fire and other causes, or a combination of such factors, substantially impairs or arrests the sound growth of a municipality, retards the provision of housing accommodations or constitutes an economic or social liability and is detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare in its present condition and use; or
(3) an area in which there is a predominance of buildings or improvements which by reason of age, history, architecture or significance should be preserved or restored to productive use.
(d) "Governing body" means the governing body of any municipality.
(e) "Increment" means that amount of ad valorem taxes collected from real property located within the neighborhood revitalization area or from dilapidated structures outside the revitalization area that is in excess of the amount which is produced from such property and attributable to the assessed valuation of such property prior to the date the neighborhood revitalization area was established or the structure was declared dilapidated pursuant to this act.
History: L. 1994, ch. 242, § 11; L. 1996, ch. 228, § 8; July 1.
This is the largest architecture firm in the state of Kansas with offices in St Louis and KCMO.
Why must they be big government tax dollar moochers? If I were a commissioner I would vote no.
The design does not blend in with its surroundings at all. It's too high and too modern. The lines are too horizontal. I am must be missing some information. Where can I read about Treanor's requests from the city?
I don't think it matches the other buildings at all. Gene Fritzel did a great job matching the styles of the other buildings and now someone wants to build something in a modern style which I really like but just not there.
Kind of interesting that Treanor's business is booming in large part due to taxpayer financed projects (see Statehouse, Kansas) and now even for their own in-house project they are seeking taxpayer financing.
Looks nice. Now just build it with 100% private funds and don't ask for subsidized parking. I'm sure there are other architects in Lawrence that would appreciate a competitive advantage at taxpayer expense. I know I'd love it if the city of Lawrence would subsidize my expenses.
i think it's a really pretty building but i think the present building is pretty too. why are we developing downtown in a bad market? wait and see, they're all gonna be back for more "help" from the city.
First off, I'm sympathetic to the sentiment of those of us here who tire of further burdens being put on the local tax payers. As one of them, I truly am. Second, I generally agree that what some folks call corporate welfare is unacceptable.
However, as a lifelong resident who has always enjoyed the downtown area and its beauty (relative to most other parts of town), I am also happy to see my taxes support what I see only as upgrades to the neighborhood.
If there becomes a huge problem with parking downtown, that will be a good thing for the city of Lawrence and the merchants downtown. But it will NEVER become a problem if we don't start getting more residents, businesses, and work force living/working in/near downtown.
see, the developers have all figured out now if they develop downtown they don't have to spend their own money on parking. Once there is a huge problem, the city and citizens will cave, pass another referendum, and build another parking garage on taxpayer dollars.
It is my understanding that this would fill an unoccupied downtown office space through renovation of an existing, somewhat dated building, so not sure what you are referring to t_patriot. Also, of all the parking lots in downtown, the one between this lot and D&D Tires seems to be among the least used. Seems like a good addition all around.
That looks like a beautiful building. Apart from the obvious issues of whether this is a good time for it with existing downtown spaces unable to be filled, how to get improved parking as part of the deal, and making sure this is a private sector venture not subject to corporate welfare from Lawrence taxpayers in these critical budget times, I would certainly support it down the road when the time was right and existing and currently under-construction spaces are better filled.
I'd like to see what they are going to do to improve parking in the area. If they are adding additional space to the building they should be required to add more parking, too.
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I agree - just don't believe they need half million in tax dollars to do it.
This building would look great at that location. A major improvement in aesthetics.
Mike Treanor is a very classy man and does things right. This would be great for Lawrence and would obviously bring more people to downtown. Get it approved asap!!
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