Report filed on Little Rock property tax campaign | Arkansas Blog

Friday, September 7, 2012

Report filed on Little Rock property tax campaign

Posted By on Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 5:56 AM

The committee promoting a continuation of a three-mill property tax for Little Rock streets and drainage work has begun accounting campaign finances.

I won't fully rehash my long history of agitating for full disclosure in ballot issue campaigns. Typically, the campaigns (in Little Rock and statewide — see the highway tax campaign, particularly) have disclosed only payments to professional campaign managers, who in turn have parceled out the money in ways that have NOT been specifically disclosed as the law clearly intends. (The Ethics Commission has decided inadequate drafting didn't make that specific disclosure mandatory and plans to seek changes in the law in 2014 to require it.)

Gary Smith, treasurer of the campaign, and representatives of the Markham Group, again managing the campaign as it managed the city sales tax campaign over which my ethics complaint arose, had said previously there'd be specific disclosure in this campaign.

Having looked, I'm not ready to provide a standing ovation.

Here's the latest filing from the committee Keep Building Little Rock's Future. Through early this week, it had raised almost $60,000 and spent about $31,000. Top contributors were 50 for the Future, $9,600, and, at $5,000 each, the Friday Law Firm, Stephens Group, McGeorge Contracting and First Security Bank.

On the expenditure side, apart from a $1,000 payment to a campaign staffer, all payments are again listed to the Markham Group. They are labeled as to purpose — push cards, printing, postage and the like. But if these costs went to pay sub-contractors, none is listed. Given what's been spent so far, I agree that not much useful information would necessarily be revealed in deeper disclosure. But the principle is key. Think of campaigns where broadcast advertising and get-out-the-vote workers are employed. These are the sorts of things worth knowing. Indeed, even the names and hometowns of direct mail contractors are of interest, particularly to local business people. Did a government seeking a property tax increase, for example, bypass a local taxpaying business to place work in another city?

There's a move toward more disclosure in this report, yes. I also should note that the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce isn't serving as administrator, headquarters and puppeteer of this campaign, as in the sales tax campaign. Of course, this tax doesn't include a $20 million-plus gratuity for a Chamber pet project (tech park), as the sales tax did.

Tags: , , , ,


Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Garland County leaves Susan Inman off election ballot

    Talk about vote suppression. The Garland County Election Commission left Susan Inman, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state, off the election ballot and early voting began without her as an option.
    • Oct 22, 2018
  • Pulaski deputies fire on fleeing car

    Pulaski deputies fired on a vehicle that they said had tried to strike them during an attempt to serve a warrant Sunday night. No one was seriously hurt.
    • Oct 22, 2018
  • City Board won't vote on action against candidate who registered outside ward

    Ward 2 Little Rock City Director Ken Richardson tells me there will be no special meeting on City Attorney Tom Carpenter's finding that another candidate for Ward 2, Valerie Tatum, registered to run from an address outside the ward and thus should be disqualified.
    • Oct 22, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…


  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation