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For the tax

As the legislature considers Gov. Beebe's proposal, many representatives and the public will have their first exposure to the gas severance tax, which has remained in the shadows for 50 years. The League of Women Voters (LWV), a non-partisan organization, has held a long-standing position regarding this issue: Severance taxes should be equalized and increased.

Some entirely reject reforming the gas severance tax ... “Just say ‘NO' to taxes” honors long-standing philosophies and pledges. Others are concerned opportunities to profit from development require offering industry incentives. The world's insatiable hunger for energy will continue and untapped resources will appreciate in value. Rather than support our regressive tax system, we should see this increase as a progressive opportunity to move away from the over-used sales tax.

Whether an increase is achieved with the governor's plan, Sheffield Nelson's initiated act or an entirely different legislative proposal, a gas severance tax increase is justified.

Adjusting the severance tax is the first step. Measures to reduce the environmental impact of drilling and transmission will be debated as water quality and quantity concerns arise. Visit the LWV of Washington County's website www.lwvarwc.org to become more familiar with this subject.

Joyce Hale, LWVWC president
Fayetteville

Gas prices

This is the answer to lower gas prices:

As long as we continue purchasing vehicles that burn gas, the auto companies will continue making them. It's time for Americans to stop purchasing cars that burn gas and demand cars that use other fuels. Most of us are accustomed to driving new cars as a status statement. Screw status and let's force the move to other fuels. Only trade when the auto companies have a car you can trade for that does not burn gas or burns very little gas.

Think about it. If you, for example, made tires that would only last a couple of months and everybody complained about it but continued purchasing them, why would you spend the money in research and development? Once your sales dropped to a point where you no longer could produce the short-lived tires, you would either stop making tires or improve your product for the public.

We, the American people, hold the key to lower gas prices. All we need to do is insert that key and unlock the door.

Now is the time to make the change. This costs nothing. As a matter of fact, it actually saves on additional car payments. Drive the cars we have until the large auto companies decide to do their part. We know the gas companies will not lower their prices. They say they don't have control over pricing. Stop using the gas and they will learn how to take control.

Charles Pool
Paragould

Instant voting

Recently, friends and colleagues have brought the topic of instant runoff voting (IRV) to my attention as a partial solution to election reform.

IRV uses ranked ballots to simulate a traditional runoff in a single round of voting. Voters rank candidates in order of preference. They may rank as many or as few candidates as they wish, with lower rankings never counting against higher rankings. This process continues until one candidate receives a majority and results are checked.

Voters know that they can confidently support their top choices with an election outcome that reflects the reality of the winning candidate actually having a true majority of votes. In some instances, this gives the public a chance to acknowledge that they are willing to support a third-party candidate. Big media is forced to address this issue, and the tide begins to change as all Americans feel that their vote does count, after all.

IRV is not a new concept. Here in Arkansas we've had IRV for absentee overseas military ballots since 2005. It's time we extended IRV to all races for every office, from every local race all the way up to our presidential election.

Another equally important reform is the National Popular Vote movement currently gaining momentum from California to Arkansas. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee that the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will win the presidency.

Julie Hendrix
Little Rock

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