Library promises transparency in tax campaign | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Library promises transparency in tax campaign

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 9:32 AM

I got a mailer yesterday from the Coalition for Neighborhood Libraries. This is the group that will be pushing for voter adoption March 13 of a reduction in a library property tax millage from 1 mill to .9 mill, but to extend the payout of a bond refinancing by five years. This will allow the library, thanks to a drop in interest rates, to net $19 million for more books, CDs, DVDs and other resources; more computers, expansion of branch libraries; expansion of the space for Arkansas history and geneaology; more parking; money for a new West Little Rock branch; a new auditorium for programs downtown.

I had to ask Library Director Bobby Roberts my baseline question:

Will the library itemize expenditures in the campaign to pass the tax?

As I indicated this week on the coming Pulaski Tech tax vote, I've decided to oppose any tax campaign in which expenditures aren't itemized. Mayor Mark Stodola said it was beyond his power to get the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce to itemize expenses in its shadowy campaign for a city sales tax, just as it has been impossible for him to get the chamber to fully tell taxpayers how it spends the $200,000 in tax money it gets every year. I'm just one vote, but it's going to vote from here on out for full accountability. Those who won't disclose campaign spending won't get my vote.

Said Bobby Roberts, who'll be using Mary Dillard as a political consultant as he has before:

I agree with you about the reporting & we will itemize how the money is spent in the report. In our case the Coalition does not pay very much through Mary. That is we pay directly to the vendor supplying the services so almost all of the coalition's expenditures will show in the report. Most goes for printing & mailing.

See how easy that was Mayor Stodola, Chamber officials, Markham Group?

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