citizen1 (David Reynolds)

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Letter: Climate strategy

These gimmick programs and rebates are pure fantasy. The proponents really need to think about reality.

There will never be a net refund to anyone. It will just be offset by fee increases from companies paying these carbon taxes which will then be passed on to their customers. This is just another tax increase. To manipulate the public into going along, the tax increase it is sold as an "Income Redistribution Scheme". Thus you & I will pay more and nothing will really change except our taxes increased.

All the man made climate alarmists & fee program proponents need to think about what you are proposing and what is really happening.

The following cost examples are occurring because of unintended consequences because we are already doing what you request...

1) The electrical utility companies have very large fixed operating costs.
What happened when solar & wind energy implementation & increased home energy efficiency increased enough to reduce revenues to electrical utility companies? Utilities raised there rates. Thus all that is gained from a cost point of view is customers paid high costs to implement solar & thermal home efficiency, their solar/wind & energy efficiency credits were then diminished by increasing rates making solar & wind energy less attractive.

2) The Global Warming folks demanded reduced gasoline consumption. So car fuel efficiency increased, electric cars & hybrid cars are driven, we drove less miles, and gasoline consumption decreased & revenues from gasoline taxes decreased to the states & feds so much so we do not have the money to repair our roads.
What are we doing? Restructuring the tax system to "Pay By The Mile". The objective is to be revenue neutral, but that is not possible.
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2...
The critical Point in this article is the cost of the program is estimated to be 40% of every dollar collected. This is a 40% increases in fuel taxes.

3) Georgia has just raised their fuel taxes to cover gas tax revenue short fall.

4) Seven states are adding annual registration fees to hybrid & electric cars.
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015...
This makes these cars less attractive.

This promise of rebates to citizens are manipulations & falsehoods perpetrated on the general public just like "Climate Gate" & the silly "97% agree" statement.

July 5, 2015 at 11:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Property tax votes

Maybe on the precedent. I understand the need for rules/regulations. I also understand they can be too rigid.

One thing about rules, they can't anticipate every situation. Rules shouldn't be so rigid that compromise can not be worked out so that accommodation can occur without violating the spirit of the rule.

All the best Melinda.

July 2, 2015 at 10:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Property tax votes

Melinda I realize the good face you are putting on the Walmart lawsuit. That's fine. But the city knew they were on shaky ground.

Again no compromise.

July 2, 2015 at 3:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Property tax votes

Melinda I am curious. Why couldn't the city compromise on the Cracker barrel signage issue given their unique situation?

With regard to Tanger dying...Cracker barrel seems to do just fine all by themselves with their sales. My wife & I travel al lot. Never once did we concern ourselves with neighboring businesses.

Additionally with regard to the time lines. Reputations can be hard to change...they have no timeline. Only deeds & a change in the folks people interact with can change that.

July 2, 2015 at 2:46 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Property tax votes

It is hard to comment on your post because you do not seem to comprehend the problem outlined above.

A big part of the problem is attitude!

You see, the very language you use is derogatory toward business. Instead of using the term "Major Retailer" you use, what has become a derogatory term in it's implications, "Big Box".

The problem Lawrence has displayed is a lack of willingness to compromise & in that process even if the company decides not to do business here, both sides walk away believing the process was a good one. Thus building good will. We have a "my way or highway" attitude. We have not figured out how to understand that in life & economic development getting half a loaf is better than getting no loaf.

Regarding your Burger Hut Comment. Again you fail to understand, Lawrence needs a "mix" of job opportunities to match skills & growth opportunities.

With regard to wages. Not everyone in Douglas County has the skills to work in those "high Paying" jobs everyone talks about. Some people want to be a mechanic, a chef, a train engineer, work in a factory of some type. Everyone has different interests, desires, family situations, & lifestyles that influence their careers.

I am the first to say let's have the highest wages in Lawrence possible. But there is also the reality that every job has a "skill requirement that dictates a market value wage" based on it's contribution to a companies goals.

If you try to force wages onto a company beyond the positions "market Value" based on contribution, the company will walk away.

So Lawrence must balance our "expectations" to "reality".

When that balance happens and we learn to compromise, then we will have good economic growth & our taxes will become more affordable.

July 2, 2015 at 12:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Property tax votes

So you are saying if a company comes to Lawrence & pays wages like KU you would be happy to have them not pay any taxes at all into perpetuity?

July 2, 2015 at 11:57 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Property tax votes

Richard to clear up any misconceptions about market values of real estate versus real estate taxes. Market value is not the key factor in setting Appraised & Assessed valuations & the mill levy. The primary factors/questions are: "1) How much "net income" do we need to support the city, county & school budgets after the other various sources of income are subtracted? 2) What level of aggregate valuation & mill levy do we need to provide the "net income" requirements of question (1).

There is not much reality in fact in the amount of Appraised Valuation & thus real estate taxes paid. It even states that fact on the tax bill, if one read the fine print.

July 2, 2015 at 10:11 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Property tax votes

Hi Melinda, it's late so I am not going to quote everything off the top of my head, but here is what comes to top of mind.

First we need to remember Businesses do not need to be in lawrence, they present us with opportunities. They are not going to change their business model to suit some progressive ideology.

Cracker Barrel wanted a store by the turnpike & we killed it because they wanted a large sign & it violated the sign ordinance. It's the turnpike for crying out loud, not 7th & Mass. Their sign is how they drive their business & sales taxes for the local community. Flexibility is not Lawrence's strength. Unless it is something we want.

American Eagle was driven away because they weren't the type of jobs we wanted...tell that to the families on unemployment or the "first job" opportunity to someone starting out. 640 (varies seasonally) employees in Ottawa. We have this "belief" that entry level jobs are careers & thus all jobs are to pay like hi-tech or professional positions. Most of us started out in these type of jobs. Personally I started out delivering "ice" on the back of a horse drawn cart & place it in the precursor to the refrigerator, the "ice box".

Sued Wal-Mart by trying to change the rules. Shame on us! We lost millions in retail sales tax revenue during the process & cost tax payers $100's of 1000's in attorney & court costs while losing the case. Why, because we don't like the way they pay & their benefits, and some displaced dislike for Walmart. If working at Walmart is so bad why did 100's of Lawrencians line up to apply for jobs when they opened? Sometimes we misguidedly project our personal biases on others inappropriately.

We ran off a developer (can't remember the name at the moment), & The Delaware Indian Project which was estimated to bring $50mm a year to Lawrence. All to save "prime" agricultural land. I guess when the economy finally dries up from actions by Washington & no growthers we all will need a communal plot to grow our vegetables.

Turned down a retail development south of K-10 & they asked for Nothing in incentives just approval. Luckily they are back.

Oh yes, we have our friend who provides all of the "learned studies" regarding retail space trying to restrict retail development.

Wal-Mart distribution is gone. About 900 jobs in Ottawa.

I am sure others can add to the list.

Yes others can provide all the positive rationalization for running those businesses off. Regardless the business community sorts thru all the fog and renders it's judgement...Lawrence is a hard place to do business. The question becomes is the effort worth it?

Yes we have had successes & we will in the future. But first we have to climb out of this ditch we have driven into.

Sorry for the sarcasm, but in the past we have acted so inexcusably & irrationally.

July 1, 2015 at 11:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Property tax votes

Just to demonstrate how disproportionate the property tax burden is in Lawrence. Our major employers pay no property taxes...KU, Hospital, City & County Government, Non-Profits, etc.They do not even pay sales taxes. Some like KU do not always even source their purchases locally.

What is really interesting about this situation is we support & cater to these organizations, and speak warmly about the jobs & benefits they provide the community.

Yet let a company that wants to provide jobs, & at least pay sales taxes, ask the city to meet the city's competitors for the companies services request tax relief...well that request is anathema to our sensibilities.

This is one of the problems Lawrence has...it can't see the incongruity of its thinking & decisions.

As a result our economy suffers & taxes & fees rise.

July 1, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Property tax votes

Interesting points, but the city & county needs to look inward.

There is this tendency to say well we should be getting more support from the state or federal government. Maybe so & maybe not. Clearly we are all interconnected, and each branch (local, state & federal) needs to do their part. I am speaking about growing the economic pie; growth in the # of available jobs, new business start ups, existing companies moving to the county, etc. With an improved economy comes improved affordability

The feds aren't doing their part. There is 42.9% unemployment if you count the 93mm (29% of the US population) not even looking for work. What a waste of humanity. This is unacceptable! Yet we must support them through the benefits they get for just sitting at home. How do we pay for them & the wishes of a city commission?

Additionally, the recent misbehavior by the last commission regarding the recreation center has demonstrated the city is not a reliable partner in prioritizing and controlling costs. Clearly we couldn't trust them with the vote, so why not trust the people who are paying the taxes? The city still does not publish a readable cost vs income statement to know if the recreation center is paying for itself or is it an additional drag on the community budget? Hopefully this will improve.

To me the question is "What is our government doing at all levels to lower our cost of living & improve the economy, so we can keep more of the merger wages we receive in this town?

I understand why people want to be able to vote on property taxes. They are just trying to have a voice in controlling their costs so they can feed, clothe & shelter their families, and maybe with some luck, enjoy a few extras. Is that too much to ask? Costs in Lawrence are too high for most families. The number of families on "no cost or reduced cost lunches" is so high it is shameful. The preponderance of jobs in this town are clerical & in the entertainment industry & shops (most of them low wage positions).

Lawrence, over the recent decades, has been very anti-business. We have run off companies, and employment opportunities. The current chamber & city commission have an excellent opportunity to change this. The new Peasley Training Center is a major benefit to the community and employment opportunities.

We want everything & the citizens don't have the financial capacity to support everything. Why not let the folks paying the bill say what they are willing to support?

In spite of protestations of some above, the citizens should have this voice in approving tax levels.

July 1, 2015 at 10:57 a.m. ( | suggest removal )