LR tax vote: A tale of two cities UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

LR tax vote: A tale of two cities UPDATE

Posted By on Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 9:49 AM


The Pulaski County Election Commission has now posted precinct results in Tuesday's Little Rock sales tax election. Two proposals for a penny tax increase total got nearly identical votes in passing about 54-46. Here's the link.

But here's an easier link to quickly eyeball which precincts voted for and against the tax.

This link shows you the Little Rock precinct maps.

I've excerpted a part of the precinct map to highlight how this election was won.

For simplicity's sake, we'll look at the first issue on the ballot, the 3/8ths cent tax that will last for 10 years. It was defeated in 34 of 71 voting precincts and the vote was tied in two. Voters in black and poor neighborhoods went against the tax. The strongest "no" margins, better than 2-1 against, were in Southwest Little Rock, at polls on Baseline Road and in Mabelvale. Black precincts generally disapproved of the tax, but by smaller margins.

The story of this election is the story of Little Rock government — the traditional power base in Hillcrest and the Heights and the upper income neighborhoods along Cantrell Road to Interstate 430. Get a load of these numbers, with polling place:

Precinct 90 357-175 (Second Presbyterian)
Precinct 91 216-122 (Cammack Village City Hall)
Precinct 92 273-135 (St. Paul Methodist)
Precinct 106 398-160 (Heights Fire Station)
Precinct 107 351-151 (Heights Fire Station)
Precinct 108 424-199 (Woodlawn Baptist)
Precinct 109 690-232 (Pulaski Heights Presbyterian in Hillcrest)

Together, these seven precincts voted 2,709 to 1,174 for the tax. That's a 1,535 vote-margin in an election proposition that passed 12,007 to 10,277, or by 1,730 votes. These neighborhoods have always voted heavily. They've nearly always been favorably inclined to support tax increases and they provide the power for election of at-large city board members who constitute the balance of power on the city board. They delivered again. (By way of contrast, Precinct 60, which covers Chenal Valley, voted 353-343 against this tax, which included a fire station for western Little Rock.)

To help orient you on the map above, the western boundary of precincts 107 and 108 is University
Avenue. The southern boundary of 108 and 109 is Markham Street. In short: prosperous people from oldline neighborhoods almost single-handedly outvoted poor people to put an additional tax on poor people's groceries to pay for a plan devised in large measure and funded by the business establishment. Trust them. We'll all soon be trickled on.

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