Smart Talk 

New at the zoo

Some new Asian natives are making a home on the Little Rock range. The Little Rock Zoo has announced that is now home to two male blackbuck antelopes, acquired from the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.

The antelopes are displayed in the pronghorn exhibit, along with two Sarus cranes, also an Asian species. Both are a year old. Blackbucks have white rings around their eyes and long, spiral horns. Their fur turns from brown to black when they reach sexual maturity at the age of three.

King Wally

“Wal-Mart, along with Target, K-Mart, Home Depot, and the other big box merchants, represent … the rise of the historically low-wage, low-benefit retail sector to the commanding heights of U.S. capitalism, where these retailers now wield the market power to squeeze or force offshore those manufacturing and transport firms that once provided the favorable social terrain upon which potent unions and a liberal, interventionist state could flourish.

“A visit to Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., will graphically confirm this new reality. There, Colgate-Palmolive, Walt Disney, and some 700 other ‘vendors’ have established branch offices, staffed by thousands of young, transplanted cosmopolitans from New York and similar venues. Like supplicants before the king, they seek favor and fortune from this new sovereign that can make and break towns and companies around the world.” — Nelson Lichtenstein, a history professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, in the June issue of The American Prospect magazine.

One hamburger, hold the taxes

The Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau unveiled last week a new accounting system for collections of the 2 percent tax on restaurant gross receipts, otherwise known as the burger tax.

LRCVB tax policies became an issue after the Democrat-Gazette reported that the Arkansas Travelers had not paid the tax on concession sales at Ray Winder Field until 2005, though there’s disagreement on when it became clear that taxes on concession sales were required.

The new system was accompanied by the release of more than three years worth of “exception” reports — lists of restaurants that LRCVB believes are in arrears on amounts due. These amounts could be subject to dispute (or have been settled since last week), but the report listed these as the top 10 amounts owed after the first three months of 2007:

Jim’s Razorback Pizza, $3,057; Jim’s Razorback Pizza, $2,640; Cotham’s Restaurant, $2,382; Fazoli’s, $1,804; Larry’s Pizza, $1,752; Burger Mama’s, $1,667; Nu Cuisine and Lounge, $1,325; Java Roasting Company, $1,140; RSVP Catering, $991, and Cafe Africa at the Little Rock Zoo, $958.

In all, the report listed 51 accounts delinquent on a total of $31,183 in taxes.



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