Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas
Against NLR tax increase
Why does North Little Rock need a tax increase? A flier that was mailed to me stated that with Little Rock and Newport as well as Garland and Jefferson Counties increasing their tax rates, North Little Rock needs to increase its tax rate to stay competitive. So increasing taxes keeps us moving forward? I have been told by politicians for years that lowering tax rates attracts businesses. Is that not why North Little Rock gave Caterpillar $10-$13 million over ten years to locate here? Perhaps Mayor Hays believes that the tax rate should be shifted from corporations to the working man. I wonder if the citizens of North Little Rock agree.
Second, hasn't the tax base been broadened with the addition of Caterpillar's newly added 600 jobs, the opening of Dickey-Stephens Park and the many bars, restaurants, retail outlets and galleries that have opened in the now flourishing Argenta district? Usually a government can lower taxes as more pay into the system. Is that not the theory of trickle down or supply side economics? Is that not why corporate tax rates have been cut in half over the past 30 years?
Unlike every other city in Arkansas, North Little Rock runs its own electric company. Every penny of profit generated by North Little Rock Electric goes into the general fund. Twelve million was budgeted in 2011 alone. That's $12 million that the city takes in before one cent of tax revenue is generated. Oh, and by the way, sales tax is charged on that $12 million. Well, that is if you are not Caterpillar. It should also be noted that electric rates for residents were increased 38% in May of 2008. Yes, we are paying 38% more for our basic utility than we were just three and a half years ago.
Now let's evaluate why North Little Rock may be short of money. First, there is that Inland Maritime Museum. How much revenue does that generate? How much money was spent defending the city in that TIF lawsuit to use school money to build a parking garage for a private hotel firm? If Holiday Inn or Hilton or Marriott or whatever other hotel company thought they could make money off of building a hotel in downtown North Little Rock, then they would build one. The reason that the Wyndham is the only hotel downtown is because that is all that the downtown area can support.
I have no problem voting for a tax increase, I voted for the increase to build Dickey-Stephens Park. But I believe the city should adequately fund the police and fire departments, maintain the roads, parks and school system before spending money on pet projects. I will not support funneling off money for essential purposes to fund other pet projects and then be told that the city needs additional revenues for essential projects. Fund what a city is supposed to provide for its citizens and then spend the additional revenues however you wish. But try to properly fund those essentials and then ask for a tax increase for your pet projects and see if the good people of North Little Rock will support it.I doubt it. That is why all voters of North Little Rock should vote against the proposed tax increase on Nov. 8.
North Little Rock
The kids are all right
In recent weeks I have heard the young people of the "occupy" movement being compared to the hippies of the 1960s. Often it is said in a derogatory manner. One thing we should remember about those young people who took to the streets back in the '6os to protest the war in Vietnam, segregation in the South and the state of the environment almost everywhere; those kids were right. I believe these kids today are right as well.
Tea Party winning the debate
As Tom Norrell's head spins (Letters, Oct. 26) while spitting split pea soup, in his attempt to prove what hypocrites Tea Party members are for, gasp, using a tax funded facility, he has warmed my smaller government heart. The fact that all he can do is use a pejorative (where the most common practitioners are liberal Democrats), and then try to claim we are all hypocrites for using what we've also helped pay for (yes, we do pay taxes), shows we are winning the war in framing the debate.
I know Norrell won't be happy until we have a single payer payroll system where the federal government sends us what they think we need, instead of an employer paying us for something we've actually earned or produced. I know we are on target when the venom flies towards us.
Norrell would be shocked at how many government employees are Tea Party members because they see the waste on a daily basis. What we are really debating is how much government we need or can afford. The Tea Party isn't anti tax or anti government. What we do know is that government can't be all things to all people so let's set priorities instead of building a government based on politicians purchasing votes (think farm subsidies, loopholes and various tax credits). Maybe I'll join the Occupy Wall Street crowd next since they're against bankers giving money to politicians, and the vast majority of the Wall Street money is going to Democrats.
The first GenXer
It was very kind of you to acknowledge that I've been a columnist here since 1993 (Media column "No New Brummett," Oct. 26). I'm 46 now and remain a first-year GenXer.
Oh, wait, I'm mistaken. And so are you on multiple points you tried to make, though the point about Gwen was interesting as the only woman. (However, even that isn't totally correct if you include Brenda Blagg in northwest Arkansas.)
And none of the columnists you mentioned — even Brantley or Greenberg — have the following of Brummett.
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Arkansas Business Publishing Group