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usuallysilent 
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Recent Comments

Re: “The case for Martha Shoffner

I find it disturbing that the only female constitutional officer would be attacked personally and called demeaning names such as queen and princess. I agree that she has done a great job. Why does the press not cover a female officer's success yet cover such demeaning things?

Has anyone else noticed the striking similarities between Tullis' website queenmartha and the greedymontydaveport one?

Posted by usuallysilent on 08/05/2010 at 11:38 AM

Re: “Challenge filed on freebie cars

I've been involved in ethics reform for decades. The 1992 measure on salaries was to stop the use of expense accounts to supplement the low salaries found in the Arkansas Constitution. It was not related to state owned vehicles. Not long after passage, then AG Winston Bryant ruled that with regards to state vehicle use constitutional officers were exempt. AG's Pryor, Beebe, and McDaniel have not ruled differently. ALL 3 used state vehicles for personal use and made no reimbursements to the state. Gov. Beebe now says that he did pay taxes though on that personal use, but did NOT reimburse the state. One would assume because he agreed with AG Bryant's ruling on the matter.

Now, what I don't understand is why media attention has been so harsh on our only female state constitutional officer. Yes, she made some good points in a very careless manner. Nobody has yet to say that the state officials are not allowed to use their state-provided vehicles. No law has been sited, yet she was lambasted for refusing to make a legal opinion and state what she would do. It's the job of the Attorney General to interpret the law and again, that was done by Bryant after the passage of Amendment 70.

So now many are attacking Shoffner for not reimbursing the state for personal use of her state-provided vehicle, yet only AG McDaniel has offered to do so at 1972 mileage rates (15 cents vs. current 48 cents). Gov. Beebee, Lt. Gov. Halter and the other MALE state officals have not said they would reimburse the state (taxpayers). They simply said they'd pay FEDERAL taxes on the personal use. Still no one is even sure if that's legally required. People do not pay federal income on health care and many other perks. The Gov. does not, to my knowledge, have to pay federal income taxes on his free housing and lodging. While security may be required by law to get around the vehicle issue, it's not required that he accept food and housing from the state (taxpayers).

So my question is this. Why is everyone including the Ark Times making a much bigger deal out of Shoffner and not the men? I know I am not alone in my concern because many I have talked to have felt the same. In fact, I've had more people defend Shoffner's "tell it like it is" response than the response from the men which has been weak and contradictory.

Look at the following from the most recent ADG article in Sunday's paper. It's clear that it has not been established if the vehicle use is exempt or not.

==================================

Rep. Robert Moore, D-Arkansas City, is to be House speaker for 2011 and 2012. He said he likely would be exempt from paying taxes on commutes in a state vehicle because he is eligible to receive mileage payments for drives to the state Capitol from his home. Internal Revenue Service regulations allow those payments to be taxfree.
He said he hasn’t decided whether to accept a state vehicle but having one might be cheaper for the state than paying him mileage from Arkansas City, which is about 120 miles from Little Rock.
Regarding the tax question, he said there is a “significant disparity of opinion” and the Legislature in 2011 likely will consider ways to address it in law.
The current speaker, Rep. Robbie Wills, D-Conway, drives a state vehicle, which the House considers tax-exempt.
Unlike Moore, Wills isn’t eligible for mileage reimbursement because he lives within 50 miles of the Capitol.
========================================

We most definitely need to clarify the current law since nobody seems to accept AG Bryant's opinion. Personally I think it's clear the law allows the use, but some disagree. Instead of everyone rushing to do what the Republican Party or the media things should be done, perhaps the voters should be the ones to decide. I don't think the Republican Party, nor the media has a right to speak for the voters. Obviously they do according to their actions.

Posted by usuallysilent on 07/19/2010 at 5:25 AM

Re: “Might Shoffner get an opponent?

Regarding the Green Party, I do not expect them to allow the likes of Mr. Tullis to use their party for political gain. I'd suggest they do some research on Mr. Tullis before making a huge mistake. I would encourage them to field a candidate for every office.

By the way ArkTimes, AG McDaniel does not have a Republican opponent either so Shoffner is not the only one.

Posted by usuallysilent on 07/19/2010 at 5:13 AM

Re: “Might Shoffner get an opponent?

I've been involved in ethics reform for decades. The 1992 measure on salaries was to stop the use of expense accounts to supplement the low salaries found in the Arkansas Constitution. It was not related to state owned vehicles. Not long after passage, then AG Winston Bryant ruled that with regards to state vehicle use constitutional officers were exempt. AG's Pryor, Beebe, and McDaniel have not ruled differently. ALL 3 used state vehicles for personal use and made no reimbursements to the state. Gov. Beebe now says that he did pay taxes though on that personal use, but did NOT reimburse the state. One would assume because he agreed with AG Bryant's ruling on the matter.

Now, what I don't understand is why media attention has been so harsh on our only female state constitutional officer. Yes, she made some good points in a very careless manner. Nobody has yet to say that the state officials are not allowed to use their state-provided vehicles. No law has been sited, yet she was lambasted for refusing to make a legal opinion and state what she would do. It's the job of the Attorney General to interpret the law and again, that was done by Bryant after the passage of Amendment 70.

So now many are attacking Shoffner for not reimbursing the state for personal use of her state-provided vehicle, yet only AG McDaniel has offered to do so at 1972 mileage rates (15 cents vs. current 48 cents). Gov. Beebee, Lt. Gov. Halter and the other MALE state officals have not said they would reimburse the state (taxpayers). They simply said they'd pay FEDERAL taxes on the personal use. Still no one is even sure if that's legally required. People do not pay federal income on health care and many other perks. The Gov. does not, to my knowledge, have to pay federal income taxes on his free housing and lodging. While security may be required by law to get around the vehicle issue, it's not required that he accept food and housing from the state (taxpayers).

So my question is this. Why is everyone including the Ark Times making a much bigger deal out of Shoffner and not the men? I know I am not alone in my concern because many I have talked to have felt the same. In fact, I've had more people defend Shoffner's "tell it like it is" response than the response from the men which has been weak and contradictory.

Look at the following from the most recent ADG article in Sunday's paper. It's clear that it has not been established if the vehicle use is exempt or not.

==================================

Rep. Robert Moore, D-Arkansas City, is to be House speaker for 2011 and 2012. He said he likely would be exempt from paying taxes on commutes in a state vehicle because he is eligible to receive mileage payments for drives to the state Capitol from his home. Internal Revenue Service regulations allow those payments to be taxfree.
He said he hasn’t decided whether to accept a state vehicle but having one might be cheaper for the state than paying him mileage from Arkansas City, which is about 120 miles from Little Rock.
Regarding the tax question, he said there is a “significant disparity of opinion” and the Legislature in 2011 likely will consider ways to address it in law.
The current speaker, Rep. Robbie Wills, D-Conway, drives a state vehicle, which the House considers tax-exempt.
Unlike Moore, Wills isn’t eligible for mileage reimbursement because he lives within 50 miles of the Capitol.
========================================

We most definitely need to clarify the current law since nobody seems to accept AG Bryant's opinion. Personally I think it's clear the law allows the use, but some disagree. Instead of everyone rushing to do what the Republican Party or the media things should be done, perhaps the voters should be the ones to decide. I don't think the Republican Party, nor the media has a right to speak for the voters. Obviously they do according to their actions.

Posted by usuallysilent on 07/19/2010 at 5:09 AM

 

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