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Smart talk, June 11 

Good timing

 

Arkansas in the recent legislative session revived its publicly financed incentives for the movie industry, adopting a 15 percent rebate on production expenditures in the state. Wonder if a recent Associated Press review of the incentives, offered by most states, might have affected the debate?

The article said states had given $1.8 billion in benefits from 2006 to 2008. But some experts questioned whether taxpayers came out ahead on the giveaways. Among others quoted was a policy analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston who concluded that Connecticut's incentives had produced additional tax revenue from filmmakers' spending that offset some, “but not all” of the cost of the credit.

Arkansas's rebate clearly won't be recouped simply by direct spending, because it's more than twice the state sales tax rate and the highest possible state income rate, the two most likely ways that money spent in Arkansas might produce new revenue. Backers of incentives also claim a multiplier effect as such money moves through the economy.

 

Duck and cover

 

Headline on Democrat-Gazette outdoor writer Bryan Hendricks' column June 4:

“Hunters could get liberal season”

 

Juneteenth!

 

If you've got nothing else going on the weekend of June 18-21, you could do worse than to head south to tiny Wilmar in Drew County for their annual Juneteenth celebration. Known around those parts as “June Dinner,” Juneteenth has been celebrated in Wilmar every year since at least 1900 and possibly as early as 1870 — which would make it the oldest Juneteenth celebration in the country outside of Texas. Juneteenth commemorates the arrival of federal troops in Galveston, Tex. on June 19, 1865. The newly arrived Yankees informed local slaves that they were free, sparking a raucous celebration. Black Galveston began celebrating the date as a holiday every year, and the tradition has since spread to African-American communities nationwide. Legend has it that one of Galveston's freed slaves migrated to a homestead in Wilmar around 1869, bringing the tradition with him.  These days, the weekend of June Dinner in Wilmar is one of the hottest tickets in Drew County, swelling the hamlet of around 570 souls to more than 5,000, and featuring a parade, talent shows, great food, and an all-around good time. Pro tip: Wear your Obama for President T-shirt.

 

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