TOPEKA - The Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and union leaders joined together Wednesday, voicing support for a sales tax question.
Both groups attended a news conference for the "Vote Yes to Fix Our Streets" campaign. Topekans vote April 7th on a half-cent sales tax increase to fund infrastructure improvements.
The news conference took place at NE Kaw and Grattan streets in Topeka, in clear view of potholes and missing chunks of pavement.
Union leader Bill Moore says Topeka streets and sidewalks need repair, and the sales tax is the best approach to fund it. He says it allows all people who use the city's streets to share the burden of fixing them. He says people from an estimated 17-county area come to Topeka every day to work and shop.
Moore says, if the sales tax isn't passed, the Topeka City Council will have no choice but to increase property taxes to pay for street improvements, putting the burden solely on city taxpayers.
Chamber member Jim Parrish says street improvements are critical in attracting new businesses to the area. He says crumbling streets present a questionable image for the city.
Moore says putting off the improvement doesn't make financial sense. He says the longer construction is put off, the more costs will increase.
The Chamber's position is in conflict with the Topeka Independent Business Association. That group came out earlier this week against the measure, saying it would bring in more money than necessary.