Monday, August 18, 2014

Today's news: Minimum wage and Mark Martin

Posted By on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 7:25 AM

I'll be traveling today and soon others will be filling in with events of the day. But here are a couple of things to watch for:

* MINIMUM WAGE: Give Arkansas a Raise Now, the group seeking to qualify a ballot measure to raise the state minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.50 an hour by 2017, will turn in 60,000 70,000 additional signatures today in hopes of meeting the required number of registered voters to get the law on the November ballot. Some legal questions lie ahead even if the petitions are certified in a secretary of state review.

click to enlarge WHAT DID HE SIGN? AND WHEN DID HE SIGN IT? Original documents should shed some light on Mark Martin's excuse for his years of illegal double-dipping on the homestead property tax exemption.
  • WHAT DID HE SIGN? AND WHEN DID HE SIGN IT? Original documents should shed some light on Mark Martin's excuse for his years of illegal double-dipping on the homestead property tax exemption.
* SECRETARY OF STATE MARK MARTIN: I hope today reporters will get to county offices in Washington and Benton counties to get the copies of the forms that gave Martin two homestead property tax exemptions — at least since 2008 and perhaps since 2003 — when the law only allows one. Those forms should show whether Martin was telling the truth in saying the illegal double dip was built into the mortgage process on his home purchases or if, as in the case of Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson's illegal double dip, they were signed on different days, each an application for benefit affirming that a house was the signee's principal residence. 

It remains to be seen if Martin will repay the illegal $300 to $350 a year he received and whether he'll pay penalties. The penalty for an illegal double dip is equivalent to the exemption, now $350 a year, but the law limits the penalty to three years.

I hope, too, that Martin will pull back from blaming the bad publicity on his political opponent and simply admit his error and pay up. But that has not been Martin's style in his four problem-marked years as secretary of state. Susan Inman, a competent Democrat with experience in election supervision, is opposing Martin in November.

An ironic side note: Martin hired one of his campaigners to a state job and in that capacity Mark Myers doubles as a Republican political operative and apologist for Martin on social media. Over the weekend, we got into it on Twitter for a time after Myers started huffing about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's indictment for vetoing a bill for a public integrity unit as a bid to force the resignation of a district attorney arrested on DWI. Perry could have then appointed his own person to head the unit.

Without commenting on the indictment, I thought it was a bad time for Mark Myers to be justifying veto of appropriation bills to force resignation of public officials who'd demonstrated bad judgment. How about, I suggested, that the Arkansas legislature refuse to appropriate money to fund the secretary of state's office After all, it's run by a tax cheat who blames maybe 11 years of cheating on his political opponent rather than his own, at best, ignorance.

Speaking of Rick Perry: The Dallas Morning News reported long ago, in a thorough examination of the idea of indicting him for attempts to force a Democratic district attorney from office, that Perry had taken no similar action against Republican district attorneys accused of DWI. This fact may not justify his indictment, but it adds context to weigh his continuing defense that he was justified in the veto to force somebody accused of DWI from office.

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