1 2 > 
1 of 2
Great opinion piece, Bob!
Posted: 14 October 2012 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  784
Joined  2012-10-10

Just read the opinion piece you wrote for the local publication that doesn’t charge for citizen input.  Excellent take on the sales tax issue.  Certainly agree that the pathetic side of politics becomes apparent when your cronies want money.  We have how many local politicians proclaiming to be fiscal conservatives?  The politicians who will question professional seminars for City staff and will suggest social service dollars need cut go to bat for their buddies will rally to an eco-devo tax.  They will champion a tax for the Chamber yet voice dissent over a $15/year subscription to a trade journal. 

Again, good article.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 October 2012 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  100
Joined  2011-07-25

thanks larry.  the column is available here ...

http://manhattanfreepress.com/efreepress/efreepress2012/FreePress 10.11.12.pdf

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 October 2012 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  478
Joined  2012-10-10

My position on the ½ cent sales tax is not one that is favorable to the Chamber.  I believe that if the tax fails it will result in higher county taxes.  I also believe that it will be impossible (due to a lack of political fortitude) to cut much more from the city budget.  As you have pointed out; my list includes travel (Some of the Staff is off in Washington D.C. this week at AUSA Conference), magazines and yes even some further tweaking of SSAB to tighten the belt.  The future Bond and Interest Fund for the city will drive up the mil levy as much as 4-5 mills in 2014 and 2015.  I have seen the renewal of the tax as the only means of providing some debt relief.  I have been on the commission for a little under two years.  During that time I have pushed to have the tax continued, but in a redirected fashion.  I personally wanted at least 70% of the tax to go to debt relief.  The politics of the County and City prevented that from taking place.  The resulting city resolution and the tax that will be voted on in November was the best that could be crafted under the circumstances.  It is not what I personally desired.  But it provides about 1 million in property tax relief each year for ten years (2 mils).  It also provides the opportunity to use the remaining funds for infrastructure instead of the traditional economic development (if 3 votes on the City Commission can be garnered).  The movement of the funds into Infrastructure is not necessarily something the Chamber would support over traditional Eco Devo.  The reality is that the tax as currently proposed is the best compromise that could be achieved.  A no vote is going to make the debt situation worse, not better.  I should also mention that I favored the City wide tax as a distinct 1/4 cent sales tax so as to include the Pott County side of the city. That 1/4 cent initiative was derailed by the County Commission and the Kansas AG ruling or comment.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 October 2012 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  784
Joined  2012-10-10

Wynn… if the referendum fails, can the City not put another on the April ballot for the specific purpose of property tax relief?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 October 2012 04:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  478
Joined  2012-10-10

Yes and that is one of the options.  Maybe an April 1/4 cent sales tax city wide.  I would like to see it all go to Property tax and infrastructure.  But, I believe that enough support exists for the Economic Development idea that a strong push to include a Eco Devo component will be in evidence.  The result may look much like the current proposal, but with the added benefit of having the entire city included.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 October 2012 06:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  100
Joined  2011-07-25

if it looks like today’s and today’s fails, then the spring one will as well.  that would be really obnoxious to put the same question to the folks.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 October 2012 05:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  784
Joined  2012-10-10

Bob, I appreciate Wynn’s right to his opinion that this tax is a “good thing”.  You and I… and I hope a lot more… don’t see it that way.  Wynn’s replies, however, do show his belief that nothing can happen in this town without the Chamber’s blessing.  Yes, why would the Commission ever put the same tax referendum on a Spring ballot as what failed in November?  The ONLY reason to do that would be their strong ties to the Chamber.  If they were to regurgatate this same idea in the Spring, it WOULD be “obnoxious”... arrogant… and a slap in the face to the citizenry who elected them to represent the whole people, not to be puppets for a special interest group.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 October 2012 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  100
Joined  2011-07-25

it would also be a waste of money because it would fail again, larry.  everyone needs to talk to friends and family about the importance of voting this tax down, big time.  even bigger than the billboards, radio and newspaper ads sponsored by the elite who can afford and demand such central planning nonsense.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 October 2012 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  478
Joined  2012-10-10

Bob and Larry I hope you have time on Monday 29 October at 6:30 PM to take part in the ½ Cent Sales Tax Town Hall meeting at the City Library Auditorium.  This is an Our Manhattan hosted event and will not include the canned County and City Slides.  It is an open discussion about the good and bad parts of the tax. It is maybe not all good, but also not all bad.  I agree with you that trying the same thing in April; if this tax fails in November; is not a good idea.  A ¼ cent debt reduction tax would be a winner (at least for me), but only if the Commission has enough votes to push it through.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 October 2012 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  100
Joined  2011-07-25

i attended.  no one there other than politicians.  so, i left. 

i believe people know enough to make a decision on this absurd question and, hopefully, will vote it down.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 October 2012 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  141
Joined  2012-10-21

The Manhattan Living Wage Coalition has also been vocally opposed to the renewal of the half-cent sales tax because there currently isn’t a requirement that businesses applying for eco-devo benefits have to pay a living wage.  The group has been running radio and print ads recently.  The radio ads are also available on their Facebook page.  Has anyone disputed that half the jobs created with the eco-devo funds have been low paying jobs?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 October 2012 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  100
Joined  2011-07-25

the answer to your question, kathy, is ‘no.’  but it’s not only the pay, it’s the reality of giving tax money to private companies that galls a lot of folks.  how is that different than eminent domain - taking private land and handing it over to private developers?  it’s not. there’s little or no community benefit from that sort of activity, plus the ethics are deplorable.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 October 2012 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  478
Joined  2012-10-10

The LWC makes a point about jobs being created that are under the 12 dollar amount.  That is true and they point to GTM which is valid.  But this is all spin as it pertains to events that took place years ago.  It is not a focus on the future.  They fail to point out the recent track record of Economic Development.  First the application procedure for requesting economic development funds was changed to heavily weight in favor of higher wages.  This resulted in the last two companies (Prathista and Civics Plus) all paying above the living wage.  That should be considered a success.  The one company that did not pay above the living wage for all employees was in fact MATC – they applied for funds for additional classroom buildings.  They had two employees on the books that were below the living wage.  But the funds provided gave them classroom space to train people for jobs that pay above the living wage.  Does it make sense to deny classroom space because of the pay scale of two employees?  I have only voted on three of the “eco devo” applications.  I like the MATC and the CivicPlus applications the best of the three.  Some thoughts on the LWC position:

1.  The LWC has already achieved most of its goal by the changes to the economic development application.

2.  Future applications should and will be judged on their total merit.  The more they pay in wages the better.  But flexibility is needed like on MATC.  Is it better to have classrooms that provide better jobs in the long term or is it better to reject an application because of two employee wages?

3.  A no vote on the ½ cent sales tax will not force a change of perspective in the view of any City Commissioner on the topic of whether or not government should determine wages.

4.  A no vote will not provide any incentive to increase wage levels.

5. A no vote on this topic demonstrates a very myopic viewpoint.  The tax is about five things, roads, smaller cities, debt reduction and finally infrastructure/economic development.  Many people tend to label this tax as an economic development tax, which it is not.  The break out of funds would go 33% to Riley County Road and Bridges, 2% to the smaller cities in Riley County to use as they please, 23% to City of Manhattan Property tax Relief, and 42% to be allocated to Infrastructure and/or Economic Development as determined by the City Commission.  In reality the City Commission could use all of the funds for Infrastructure and none for economic development. So the LWC will vote no because they are concerned about the fact that over the past two years economic development funds were given to MATC and two people were paid less than the living wage.  Kill the tax on that issue and gain, pot holes in the County Roads, a 9 mil or so tax increase between County and City, added pressure to reduce CIP projects and further cuts in special interest projects like library expansion.  Does not seem to me to be a very brilliant idea. 

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 October 2012 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  100
Joined  2011-07-25

conservatives should be wary of calling others myopic when they call for the taking of private money to hand out to private companies.  i’m astonished at your comments, mr. butler.  you seem to have lost your bearings that got you elected to uphold conservative principles.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 October 2012 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  478
Joined  2012-10-10

Bob, your focus is only on one part of the tax, the economic development part.  A narrow focus can in fact be accurately described as myopic.  The way economic development was done over the past ten years – four of which were under your tenure on the Commission, was not perfect.  If this tax had been put back on the ballot in the exact fashion as was done in 2002 I would vote no.  But the fact is that this tax is not an economic development tax.  It is a five part tax, with economic development being the last of the five priorities.  If the tax passes the Commission is not required to spend one dime on eco devo.  But they have the option of spending a portion, 1 to 42% based on circumstance.  It is a different, holistic, better and flexible tax.  When I ran for office one of my primary goals was to get this tax renewed with proceeds directed toward debt reduction.  That was the goal.  I have not lost my bearing.  I am focused on the mission of debt reduction.  This tax will help in achievement of that goal.  It ensures 23% of the proceeds to the Bond and Interest Fund and it gives us a chance to use the remaining amount for infrastructure projects to eliminate future bond issues.  That was the goal.  I would have liked to see this as a 100% debt reduction tax, but that was an impossible, it was voted down 3-2 by the current commission.  I tend to concur with your comments about the old economic development tax.  But the inference that the tax on the ballot today is a repeat is totally false.  The path ahead is different as the worst case would be that 42% of the funds would be voted by the City Commission into economic development for the entire ten year life of the tax (It will not be a unanimous vote as I will not support giving the lion’s share to eco devo).  A yes vote provides an opportunity to actually have a positive impact on reduction of the City Debt.  A no vote will not help the city debt picture or solve the debt problem.  The idea of a ¼ cent tax for debt reduction - a 5 year tax - is an alternative in April, but I still fear the votes are not present to get this idea on the April ballot.  What we have on the ballot today may be as good as it is ever going to get.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 October 2012 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  100
Joined  2011-07-25

precisely the thought processing for eminent domain, nice. 

“But the fact is that this tax is not an economic development tax.  It is a five part tax ...”

Profile
 
 
   
 1 2 > 
1 of 2
 

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | The Manhattan Mercury, 318 North 5th Street, Manhattan, Kansas, 66502

Reproduction of any kind is prohibited without written consent.