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Citizen committee would oversee new sales taxes


Hang out in some Lawrence political circles long enough and a couple of things are likely to happen. One, you'll get a headache. Two, you'll hear about how voters got duped by the 1994 countywide sales tax. Some contend the one-cent sales tax was supposed to sunset after 10 years. Of course, it is still with us. Others, have contended that the tax was only for a few very limited purposes - the jail, the health facility, property tax reduction and park projects. Both contentions are wrong. The [ballot language][1] from 1994 never did mention a sunset. The tax is here to stay. And the language - although it spells out all the above-mentioned specific projects - also included the lovely lawerly phrase "including, but not limited to the following purposes."It appears that two new sales taxes that voters likely will be asked to approve in November, will be different. There's been no talk of making the sales taxes "general purpose" taxes. Instead they'll pay for only public transit and infrastructure projects. More specific ballot language is expected to emerge in a week or so. And commissioners have clearly said they want both taxes to expire after 10 years, unless voters go to the polls to renew them. But for folks who still feel burned, City Manager David Corliss has recommended that a sales tax audit committee be formed. It was one of many recommendations included in his proposed 2009 budget. This one actually will stick, in all likelihood. The concept is that average citizens would be appointed to the committee. They would be charged with reviewing all the revenues generated by the sales tax and all expenditures of the sales tax money. The committee's main job would be to ensure that each project actually fits into one of the categories that voters approved. Corliss had seen that Sedgewick County had created a [similar committee][2] to oversee a sales tax to build a new arena there. Some commissioners here already are applauding the idea. "I think it is a great idea," Commissioner Mike Amyx said. "People would have friends and neighbors on this committee, and they could tell them whether we were doing this right or not." But of course, all of this could be putting the committee before the cart. Voters have to approve the sales taxes first. Voter turnout in November could be 80 percent or more. What do you think? Will folks be in the mood to approve a sales tax for transit? And what about one for infrastructure? ¢¢¢ Yes, this is a full-service blog. We'll even get into proper pronunciations. At several recent meetings folks have been mispronouncing the mayor's name. It is not Mike Dever, as in rhymes with cleaver. Instead, it is Mike Dever, as in rhymes with ever. Actually, when Dever and I first met on the campaign trail, he told me it rhymed with never. A good mnemonic device, but a lousy campaign slogan. [1]: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/1994/nov... [2]: http://www.sedgwickcounty.org/arena/tax_committee.asp/


Steve Jacob 9 years, 8 months ago

"The tax is here to stay"Um, I am pretty sure you can a get a vote and get rid of a voter approved sales tax.

Becky 9 years, 8 months ago

There is a simple way to handle this VOTE NO!!!!!!!!! No need to have a committee isn't that what the city commission is for? Good God you guys just keep upping the ante of stupidity to the point that I just want to take a loss on my home and get out of town! This used to be a good town to raise your kids in. It was a fun town not too not too small. Not any more! City hall wants to pretend that every citizen in Lawrence has a pocket book and job security as large as theirs.Is this city being run by GOOF BALLS or what?

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 9 years, 8 months ago

Save the trouble, we know you idiots will raise taxes even in the middle of a recession. Thank you, Lynn

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