Shawnee tax breaks
Most people object to government redistribution of income to those favored by political bodies. Shawnee is repeatedly following such policies, most recently with the shopping center near Bell Road (12-24, 913, “Shawnee advances shopping center, despite objections”). It will take about $10 million of public funds to subsidize the developer. It is the most recent of such actions by the city council.
Recently, a mayoral candidate touted his support for the community improvement district (CID) at 10 Quivira Road, noting that the center recently sold for $24 million, an increase of $17 million over its value when the CID was approved. That is a deal that a real estate guy can fall in love with. But it took an increase in sales tax to almost 10 percent, paid by the people of Shawnee, to get it done.
To date, the developer has not shared its profit with the taxpayers of Shawnee. The same mechanism and the same result at Bell Road, i.e. taxpayer subsidized profit to a developer, is now supported by the city council with just one “no” vote.
Residents pay a hidden tax of 5 percent as a “franchise fee” on utility bills in addition to property taxes. They pay the additional sales taxes buried in their grocery bills.
Meanwhile, the city waives nearly $1 million per year in excise taxes that would be paid by developers while hoodwinking the voters to approve a new sales tax to fund one of the basic functions, along with police and fire protection, of city government — street maintenance.
Candidate Barack Obama took a lot of heat for discussing redistribution of wealth. We need look no further than city government to see it at work in Shawnee.
James J. O’Connell
Thank you, Gov. Sam Brownback. I paid my personal property taxes, which encompassed the largest increase I have ever seen.
Meanwhile, the taxes of the large, profitable, corporations in Kansas have been slashed to 0.0 percent. I know this trickle-down economics is supposed to bring more jobs to Kansas.
How is that working for you? You have a huge deficit to overcome, and Kansas’ credit rating has been downgraded.
You are also pushing legislation to no longer be able to claim personal property taxes as a deduction on income taxes. This will put even more money in your coffer.
Please use my money wisely.
Football game ads
Football season has drawn to a close with games almost 24/7. For many viewers the commercials were repetitious, unimaginative and especially of no interest to those who don’t have toenail fungus, suffer erectile dysfunction or are satisfied with their existing TV service.
Occasionally commercials are clever, but often it’s difficult to figure out the product or service being advertised. I guess we must wait for the Super Bowl to bring out the best in advertising.
The rest is about as exciting as political campaign advertising.
Obama’s Cuba plan
It is no surprise that most Republicans, including Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are unhappy with President Barack Obama’s groundbreaking deal with the Castro government in Cuba. They say the president is selling out and is the “Appeaser in Chief.”
I realize Rubio and Cruz are two of our more junior members of the Senate, but are they too young to remember the fall of the Berlin Wall? In the 1987, President Ronald Reagan famously said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” The truth was, Gorbachev didn’t have to tear down the wall. The East Germans with a taste of freedom, democracy and capitalism demolished the wall themselves.
Because of the Castro regime, the good citizens of Cuba have been denied basic economic freedoms since 1959. With the new initiatives that the U.S. initiated, I have no doubt that the “wall” in Cuba will come down as well.
In Johnson County, the only way to have a uniform billing method for wastewater services would be to combine the Johnson County Wastewater bill with the water bill. The administrative cost savings would help slow down accelerating wastewater charges.
The rule of 72 shows the annual wastewater bill doubling in 11 years using the county’s 2014 6.5 percent annual increase figure. The new Johnson County Wastewater unified rate billing model could discourage newcomers to the Johnson County housing market; or at least make houses with septic systems and ones with a combined water/wastewater bill more desirable.
You would think as a true utility, that past due charges would always follow the person named on the bill. Not so with Johnson County Wastewater’s billing model.
The property owner is liable for all past due amounts and all collection costs. Nonpayment in full could result in a lien on the property. Wastewater services are not tax deductible. Accelerating wastewater charges and increasing delinquencies will tend to drive rents higher.
Equality of use was one of the reasons for creating and redefining the Johnson County Wastewater bill. Hope that a separate wastewater bill is not part of a long-term countywide vision. Politicians come and go, and voters will forget during a multiyear conversion of a sewer tax to a fee basis billing system.
To send letters
Visit the Letters website at kansascity.com/letters to submit your letter to the editor for 913. The website form, with helpful reminders on required information replaces an email address for online submissions. You may also mail letters of up to 300 words to 913 Letters, The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd. Kansas City, MO, 64108. Online letters are preferred.