Favorite

Pulaski Tech asks for help 

Pulaski Tech image

Pulaski Tech, the junior college on steroids, will seek general tax support from the community for the first time this summer.

Its board of trustees decided last week to seek its first property tax millage. The amount and date of the election aren't set, but a dog-days vote will be spaced well away from the general election, when anti-tax Tea Party Republicans will be storming to polls to vote against the black president.

One mill would provide more than $6 million for the college and cost the owner of a $100,000 home less than 40 cents a week.

I'm well disposed to Pulaski Tech. I participate in a foundation that supports single-parent scholarships there. Only the hard-hearted wouldn't mist up at the stories of deprivation, desire and achievement I've heard from students to whom money to get a clunker running or buy a job uniform was a small miracle.

Pulaski Tech, with nearly 12,000 students scattered all over Pulaski and Saline counties, is a huge feeder of students to UALR. It trains people for important jobs. Without Tech's supply of trained workers, Little Rock would be hard-pressed to support its private aircraft industry.

Tech isn't asking for a free ride for its students. Concurrent with the tax election, the college's board approved a whopping 7 percent tuition increase.

I won't vote blindly. I want to hear specifics, just as Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said he wanted when I asked him weeks ago if he'd oppose a Tech tax because it didn't go along with his push to move its culinary school downtown. The downtown crowd is still fuming. A Pulaski trustee, Diane Bray, who's closely connected with the power brokers who pushed for the Main Street move, said she believed the school had lost a lot of support. I don't agree with the adjective "lot." But clearly, a small number of small people believe punishment is in order for opponents of the establishment.

Which reminds me: The Pulaski board will meet next month on choosing a political consultant to guide its tax campaign. Already mentioned as a candidate is the Markham Group, which, as I've written before, has become the poster child for money laundering of political issue campaign money. Under a now legally cleared practice, tax campaigns give money to the Markham Group and report only those checks as expenditures. All the specific guts of a campaign's spending are kept secret.

The Ethics Commission wants to correct the legal flaw that allows secrecy. In the meanwhile, the Pulaski Tech Board must insist on public accountability by whoever it hires. The Markham Group, to date, has opposed accountability. It argued before the Ethics Commission that disclosure of spending would reveal "proprietary" strategy, though it routinely makes such detailed disclosure for political candidates.

Reminiscent of the people they worked for in the city sales tax campaign — the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and its puppet government — the Markham Group doesn't cotton to opposition. It has made clear it intends to punish my newspaper for my criticism of their practices. (Join the army.) When my complaint about non-disclosure was pending before the Ethics Commission, the Markham Group even considered bringing up a campaign in which I participated (proudly, by the way) — to oppose a state law designed to discriminate against gay people.

Nice guys, huh? But given where nice guys finish, they'll probably get the job. That still won't negatively influence my tax vote. Non-disclosure of campaign spending will.

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Supremely discredited

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood and her allies continue to discredit the state's highest court.
    • Jul 30, 2015
  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015

Most Shared

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Praising Asa

    Let us now praise the governor for a starkly moderate record, at least in comparison with other red-state executives.
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More on LRSD tax

    When the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and a Walton Foundation-paid lobbyist, long devoted critics of the Little Rock School District, lead the messaging for a quarter-billion dollars in new tax debt for the district, it is cause for caution.
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • A heart in this house

    Since Election Day, I have been at a loss as to how to direct my energy. I am spinning in circles.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Hillbillies

    • Tony, my advice to you is to do what i have done, let it go…

    • on January 19, 2017
  • Re: A week of 'thunderbolts'

    • So poignant. Often, leaders come and go, only to fade into the chapters of history…

    • on January 18, 2017
  • Re: Hillbillies

    • Investigator, you're like an old record that skips and keeps repeating over and over and…

    • on January 18, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation