Friday, July 6, 2012

Jim Lynch says no to Little Rock's bond vote 9/11

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 1:50 PM

bondissues.png
  • Jim Lynch

It's hot. It's summer. And the city of Little Rock plans a special election Sept. 11 on a three-mill property tax to support a $105 million bond issue for streets and drainage. Maybe nobody but supporters will notice, the political thinking goes.

I remain generally well-disposed to ongoing basic infrastructure work. But questioning has begun about the request for a new tax levy, which comes not long after a sales tax increase aimed to raise $500 million over 10 years, including $195 million in capital projects.

Enter Jim Lynch, a city political activist of long standing who was among those who opposed the city sales tax campaign. Opposition like his was integral to defeat of the tax in low-income neighborhoods. He says again the city is seeking too much. I'd take exception to him on one point — I think the city's push for a new tax to pay for infrastructure (equally split among city wards though the need varies among the wards) is indication of the city's tacit acknowledgment of the emptiness of the cherished city hall propaganda that growth pays for itself. It doesn't. A permanent infrastructure program financed more by old parts of town than new proves this. We should have impact fees, of course, as well as ongoing infrastructure programs. But it would also be nice if city officials would stop blowing smoke.

Lynch's explanation follows of the chart he prepared above of city bond issues over the last half-century. It's from a letter he sent to a city board member announcing his opposition to the tax proposal.

LETTER FROM JIM LYNCH

...I prepared this chart last year during the sales tax campaign.

The tall column in red is the 3/8 cent tax approved at the Sept. 13, 2011 election.

Fair enough, the voters said "Yes". During that campaign I and others raised the question of the amount of taxes ($500 million Tax — Too Much! Committee). Now, less than one year later, City Hall proposes another $105 million capital expenses IN ADDITION TO the record-setting $195 million approved 10 months ago.

(Please note that the dollars in the chart are inflation adjusted so the amounts can be fairly compared, year-to-year and deade-to-decade.)

LR over the last 40 to 50 years has, on average, issued a capital improvements bond issue about every six or so years. And, the $195 million is a 10-year plan, but, the question remains...

How Much is Enough? Now, we are supposed to accept $300 million ($195 million plus $105million) is needed for the next decade. This sum equals $30 million per year....compare this money with the green columns in the chart....and these were bond issues expected to last every six years or thereabouts!

I and others continue to resist the City Hall line that "growth pays for itself" because the results are now apparent that it DOES NOT. LR, during the 1970s, 80s and 90s almost tripled its land area and at every juncture we were told "not to to worry" about these new territories will not be a financial burden. The results are obviously otherwise.

(I make some distinction between the westerward annexation push and the SWLR annexation of Mabelvale and vicinity. Mabelvale had thousands of residents unserved with clearly needed local services when the annexation was initiated. By contrast, no one lived in the Deltic Timber acreage west of LR's city limits.)

I strongly support public services and have supported most of the bond issues in the green columns but I cannot support the next one proposed for a September election. We need better policies to grow our existing neighborhoods instead of constantly creating new ones out of raw acreage because land developers insist on doing so. And, with the recent controversy of a city-sponsored entity (Tech Park Authorty Board) ready to bulldoze stable, moderate income homes in the central city, a vote for still even more city taxes is just beyond my limit.

Tags: , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (16)

Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Dexter Suggs resigns as Little Rock school superintendent

    This just in from state Education Department: Today, Commissioner Johnny Key reached an agreement with Dr. Dexter Suggs that resulted in Dr. Suggs’ immediate resignation as superintendent of the Little Rock School District.
    • Apr 21, 2015
  • Lawyers plead for mercy in Fort Smith forum shopping case

    Twelve of the lawyers facing punishment by federal Judge P.K. Holmes in Fort Smith for moving a class action case against an insurance company out of his court to a state court where it was speedily settled have filed their argument against sanctions.
    • Jun 16, 2016
  • More legal headaches for Dexter Suggs

    Dexter Suggs may have cleared out his office before the workday began today, but he still has lingering legal matters as defendant in lawsuits against him and the state.
    • Apr 21, 2015

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Lessons from Standing Rock

    A Fayetteville resident joins the 'water protectors' allied against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • Child welfare too often about 'punishing parents,' DCFS consultant tells legislators

    Reforms promised by the Division of Children and Family Services are "absolutely necessary," the president of DCFS's independent consultant told a legislative committee this morning. But they still may not be enough to control the state's alarming growth in foster care cases.
  • Donald Trump taps Tom Price for HHS Secretary; Medicaid and Medicare cuts could be next

    The selection of Tom Price as HHS secretary could signal that the Trump administration will dismantle the current healthcare safety net, both Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Fake economics

    Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Most Viewed

  • Little Rock City Board to consider resolution asking legislature to repeal R.E. Lee, MLK Jr. holidays

    Also before the board: A rezoning request to build a Popeye's along Markham and a resolution to rescind a Planning Commission denial of a private wastewater treatment plant outside of city limits.
  • Bills filed to end 'fair dismissal' process for teachers in takeover districts and principals statewide

    Reps. Bruce Cozart (R-Hot Springs) and Mark Lowery (R-Maumelle) have filed two bills aimed at rolling back the labor law that establishes due process for firing teachers and certain administrators in Arkansas.
  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • The baby penguin open line

    The Little Rock Zoo announced that a new baby penguin was hatched yesterday. It's the seventh chick hatched at the zoo. It's sex won't be known for a couple of weeks, the zoo said. Afterward, the zoo will hold a naming contest. Also, consider this an open line.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation