Ready for a tax election? UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ready for a tax election? UPDATE

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2006 at 4:03 PM

County Judge Buddy Villines has called a special meeting of the Quorum Court at 7 p.m. Wednesday to consider ordinances calling a special election Sept. 12 on a quarter-cent sales tax increase to pay for county jail construction and operation. (NOTE: I have corrected the original post, which erroneously said there were two separate proposals, one for operation and one for construction.)

 

The ordinance to put the tax increase to a vote has 10 sponsors – JPs Green, Dicker, Goss, Dean, Massey, Williams, Roberson, Johnson, Lewison and Rollins. That means it will pass. But Tuesday night, it appeared the Quorum Court is short the necessary votes to call a special election on the increase.

 

The Pulaski County Republican Committee, which wants to use the jail tax as a wedge issue to elect Republican candidates, notably an opponent of Kathy Lewison, has already issued a statement opposing the proposal.

 

A letter from Jim Magnus, the GOP county chair, says the tax increase is too much, though it doesn’t say how much would be acceptable. The committee also opposes a special election. It favors general election consideration, when more people traditionally vote, as opposed to the presumably narrow interest voters in a special election. (Our observation is that this conventional wisdom cuts both ways.)

 

I’m undecided on this method of financing, though not the need to do something about the jail. I don’t like using the sales tax. But various progressive voices have made the case that there are few realistic options. Cutting the fat isn't one. Jails are expensive and we have an oversupply of people qualified to live there.

 

I understand the special election argument and am happy to see a general election vote. The situation is dire. If it doesn't persuade voters that something must be done about the jail,  they deserve what they get by refusing to vote money to solve it.

 

Our cover story June 15 amply illustrated the frustration and cost of turning burglars and other thugs loose because the jail has no room to house them. That cover story is worth reading because of one thing Republican Magnus said. He said it is wrong to “reduce the contribution to the jail budget of the cities in this county when they already pay a smaller share of the jail cost than they ‘contribute’ in inmate population.”

 

This categorically untrue, if you understand jail funding. It’s true that the passage of the new taxes would release the cities from annual contributions to the jail fund.  But if a sales tax is passed, roughly 65 percent of the proceeds would come from within the boundaries of Little Rock and 24 percent from North Little Rock, based on our analysis of state revenue figures on the existing one-cent county sales tax. Similarly, Little Rock and North Little Rock property accounts for nearly 75 percent of  the money the county receives from its countywide property tax levy. In short, though the county may appropriate jail spending from ITS revenue flow, the vast majority of that money flows from within the cities that produce most of the criminals. It would be fairer to say the cities are subsidizing sheriff’s patrols out in the unincorporated areas of Pulaski County.

 

 

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (41)

Showing 1-41 of 41

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-41 of 41

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Jason Rapert vs. Wikipedia

    Sen. Jason Rapert against the world: Wikipedia edition.
    • Jan 23, 2016
  • Campus gun bill clears committee

    The so-called compromise amendment that will allow anyone 25 or older with a training certificate carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses was approved in a Senate committee this afternoon.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum — removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

  • Fort Smith and contempt for open government

    Is there really any doubt that some members of the Fort Smith City Directors spit on the state Freedom of Information Act?
  • Another bank acquisition for Arvest

    Arvest Bank, the Walton banking enterprise, is acquiring Bear State Financial, led by Richard Massey, for $391 million, all cash. Bear State, based in Arkansas, has 42 branches and other operations in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
  • Donald Trump in Arizona. So what's new?

    Donald Trump's appearance in Arizona last night was vintage Trump — self-centered, reckless, factually challenged. The audience loved it.
  • Troubles mount for Sen. Jake Files. Maybe others, too

    Sen. Jakes Files has serious problems, based on an FBI affidavit filed Monday in Fort Smith. One new question is how many other legislators have problems based on spending of state surplus money?
  • Womack gets questions. He doesn't answer

    The resistance mustered a turnout for a rare public appearance by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, which meant a ferry ride from Peel, Ark., and a drive almost to Missouri. He didn't seem happy to see them.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Tuesday's open line

    • Well, one long Psychotic break...how sweet. Fact of the matter is that folks over played…

    • on August 23, 2017
  • Re: Donald Trump in Arizona. So what's new?

    • RYD, do you really think they give a shit about what you think., but keep…

    • on August 23, 2017
  • Re: Womack gets questions. He doesn't answer

    • "Well there is nothing y'all can do about it, thank God." Probably not, once Diktator…

    • on August 23, 2017

Blogroll

 

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