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LJWorld.com weblogs Town Talk

A different type of sales tax increase

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Giving companies a break on the amount of taxes they must pay - a property tax abatement - has long been a controversial subject in Lawrence. But what about government giving businesses the authority to charge customers an extra amount of tax? Should that draw ire as well? Beats me, but I am sure the subject is going to get more attention at City Hall. Already the City Commission has given one business the authority to charge an extra tax. The Oread Inn hotel project near the Kansas University campus [will charge an extra 1 percent sales tax on all its sales.][1] In other words, if you stay at The Oread or eat at its restaurant, you'll pay an 8.3 percent sales tax instead of the normal 7.3 percent sales tax charged everywhere else in the city. The development group of the hotel - which includes Lawrence businessmen Thomas and Tim Fritzel and Todd Sutherland - will get to use the extra 1 percent in tax revenue to pay for the hotel's underground parking and other infrastructure, such as road improvements near the hotel. The extra sales tax is part of what's called a transportation development district, a state-created incentive that is used regularly in Johnson County communities. Now a second Lawrence development [wants the same type of deal.][2] Developers with the proposed Bauer Farms project at the northeast corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive, want the ability to levy an additional 1 percent sales tax in the development. City commissioners haven't yet approved that request. Instead, they'll consider adopting at their meeting tonight a new policy concerning the subject. You can read all about the details [here.][2]But forget the fine details for a moment. What do you think of the general concept? Are you OK with one development charging you one sales tax rate, and another across the street charging you a higher rate? But what if, as is often argued, these special taxing districts are the key to the project being built or not built? Is keeping the city's tax rate uniform worth losing out on a major new development? In these tight economic times, they're questions that probably are going to get asked more often. [1]: http://www.lawrenceks.org/web_based_agendas/2008/02-12-08/02-12-08h/oread_subsidy_feasibility_analysis.pdf [2]: http://www.lawrenceks.org/web_based_agendas/2008/08-12-08/08-12-08h/bauer_farm_tdd_request.pdf

Comments

Catalano 6 years, 4 months ago

Oh for crying out loud. Where is Sven on this one?

Charles L Bloss Jr 6 years, 4 months ago

No only no, but hell no! I will not stay at a hotel, or patronize a business that is allowed to raise the sales tax just for their business. Thank you, Lynn

Keith 6 years, 4 months ago

I thought the development community was reflexively against increased taxes. Oh I get it, increased taxes are ok as long as someone other than the developer pays them.

SMe 6 years, 4 months ago

Sure I'm fine with it and I hope others will be just as fine with it as I am and NEVER, EVER, NEVER spend one thin dime in their facilities!

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