Watt’s myth-busting needs to be reviewed E-mail
Opinion
Thursday, 13 February 2014 11:13

By Steve Helm, USD No. 480 Board Member

It was interesting reading the Conspiracy Theories Opinion article in the Leader & Times on Feb. 4.  Not being one to just believe what is printed, I researched the six myths supposedly debunked by L&T Publisher Earl Watt.

Myth 1 — half cent or full cent?

Being one of three USD 480 Board Members on the Sales Tax Committee tasked to meet with Mayor Harrison and Commissioner Denoyer to discuss the sales tax option months ago, I can assure you that during the meetings an additional half-cent sales tax was being proposed by the city, which would have totaled a 1 percent increase.  I’m not sure at what point the city dropped their request, but it was never at a meeting I attended in person or via phone.

So Myth No. 1 is actually TRUE.

Myth 2 — More schools will run Liberal out of water

Of course it is absurd that new schools will cause Liberal to run out of water.  It’s the commercial plants that we should be worrying about.

Myth 3 — National Beef will close any day

The $20 million plant expansion by National Beef may or may not be true. A search of Seward County Real Estate Appraisals has the entire National Beef facility appraised at approximately $21 million for property tax purposes. Unless National Beef is willing to guarantee via a bond or some other instrument that they will not close for the next 25 years, Mr. Watt your statement “The fact is National Beef isn’t going anywhere” is simply your opinion.

Myth 4 — Only $100,000-plus homes will pay the tax

Of course property taxes will apply no matter what the appraised value.

Myth 5 — Most of Liberal’s population rents their home and won’t pay

Renters will probably pay higher rents due to increased property taxes as landlords cannot suffer through another year of massive property tax increases.

Myth 6 — Liberal’s sales tax will be the highest in the region

Mr. Watt, it’s amazing that you had to go out of state to find two cities with higher sales tax than Liberal’s sales tax. For your information, sales tax is only a single part of the tax structure. I did some research on each town, either by telephone or Internet, so let’s look at each town individually as they are right now:

Liberal – 8.4 percent

Dodge City – 8.6 percent

Garden City – 8.4 percent

Woodward – 9.825 percent

Guymon – 9.5 percent

 

Mill Levy

Liberal – 160

Dodge City – 187

Garden City – 151

Woodward – N/A

Guymon  – N/A

Property Tax on residence valued at $235,000

Liberal – $4,200

Dodge Cty – $4,900

Garden City – $3,965

Woodard – $2,260

Guymon – $1,890

 

Taxes to tag new vehicle – purchased for $30,000

Kansas – $3,000+

Oklahoma – $1,100, $92.50 per year after first year

State income taxes from my experience, it seems that both states have similar state income taxes.

When looking at the above comparisons, it’s no wonder that per your statement both Woodward and Guymon are growing.  Property taxes are about 50 percent less and initial vehicle taxes are over 60 percent less than residents of Liberal pay. No wonder we have so many vehicles illegally tagged out of state by Liberal residents who have avoided paying sales tax on the initial purchase as well the annual tag renewal.

So myth No. 6 is somewhat TRUE

Citizens of Liberal, make sure you are getting the FACTS and not conspiracy theories.

 
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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press.

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