Governor Asa Hutchinson has been touting his internal survey that says you want to keep your taxes high. According to the Governor’s internal survey, 62% of the 800 Arkansans polled support or lean towards supporting a one-half percent (0.50%) sales tax for highways and roads.[i] The Governor is selling his tax (Issue #1) by claiming it is merely the continuation of a tax.
Do you want to pay a high sales tax or is his poll rubbish?
We don’t buy his internal poll for two reasons. First, pollsters are having to admit the opinions of conservative voters are underrepresented in polls because of who will and won’t respond. Second, Asa wasn’t giving the respondents the full picture. For his poll to come out the way he wanted he had to keep those responding in the dark.
Liberal Bias In Polls? You Bet There Is!
The pollsters all said Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald Trump and become President of the United States. The pollsters were stunned when Donald Trump beat her. At first, they tried to explain away the failure of their polls by theorizing that many Donald Trump voters were just too embarrassed to admit they were voting for him. That excuse fell apart as other polls not involving Donald Trump had similar errors that didn’t fully account for conservative voters.
It is not just a polling problem in the United States. After Nate Silver’s poll was way off in an election in Great Brittan, he wrote “The World May Have A Polling Problem.” He said, “it’s become harder to find an election in which the polls did all that well.“[ii]
Not reaching a cross section of voters is an ever increasing and serious problem for pollsters. Technology has changed. The rise of cell phones and the decline of landline phones makes it more difficult for pollsters to target a cross section. Plus, with so many telemarketers calling you and with caller ID as your only defense, how likely are you to answer calls from unknown callers? If caller ID shows the caller is a pollster, how likely are you to answer the phone? Even if you consider taking the poll, how can you be sure the poll is not designed to target you for fundraising, depending on how you response.
A Huffington Post article asked, “Why Do The Polls Keep Getting It Wrong?” And then the title followed up with “Many Republicans Have Stopped Taking Surveys.” The author, Dr. Benjamin Knoll, Ph.D., abandoned the “shy Trump voter” theory for another theory – either pollsters didn’t reach conservatives or conservatives declined to participate. [iii]
Why might conservatives be less likely to participate in the polls? Dr. Knoll says, “As the polling industry has increasingly come to be perceived as part of the “elite establishment” by many populist conservatives, a growing proportion of the Republican electorate may simply be refusing to participate in public opinion polls. This, in turn, leads to their voting preferences being underestimated in public opinion surveys.”
A similar article appearing in the Wall Street Journal last month was titled, “Why Political Polls Are So Often Wrong.” The title went on to say, “Fewer landlines, fewer people willing to talk. And somehow conservatives tend to be undercounted.”[iv]
Back to President Trump, most polls still predict nothing but doom and gloom for the president, but the conservative voters who don’t answer calls from pollsters keep filling arenas around the country to see he President.
Do you think Governor Asa Hutchinson is concerned his internal poll may substantially undercount conservatives who will vote against high tax? Don’t be silly. He doesn’t care, because his poll is nothing more than a publicity stunt to try to convince you that your neighbors want the tax and you should too.
Governor Hutchinson’s poll is nothing more than a publicity stunt to try to convince you that your neighbors want the tax and you should too.
Things The Governor Didn’t Tell Respondents
The other problem with the Governor’s internal poll is what the Governor is telling people and what he is leaving out. In the next few months, voters will learn more, and the more they learn the harder they will click “NO” to the tax.
What he is telling people is – it is merely continuation of a tax so don’t worry your pretty little head over voting for a tax.
Lets set the record straight and add some pesky facts that he omitted:
- New Tax: It is a NEW tax, not the continuation of a tax. Yes, there is an existing one half percent sales tax passed to pay off bonds for specific four-lane highway projects; the bonds will be paid off in 2023; and when it was passed you were promised tax relief once the the bonds are paid off. Asa’s NEW tax would go to roads and highways generally, but unlike the existing tax, has nothing to do with paying off bonds for specific projects.
- Nearly Impossible to Repeal: Not only is Asa’s NEW tax a permanent tax, it is being put into the Arkansas Constitution so that it would be extremely difficult for the people to ever repeal. The legislature could have passed the tax with just a majority vote but that tax wouldn’t have been as hard to repeal in the future.
- High Sales Tax State: Arkansas has one of the highest sales taxes in the entire country. It is listed as the ninth highest state sales tax in the nation at 6.5%. Then, when you look at the combination of both the state and local sales taxes, Arkansas has the 3rd highest combined state/local sales tax rate in the country.[v] The governor wants to keep your sales taxes very high at a time when we should be striving to reduce our sales tax to be competitive with other states.
- Revoking Your Tax Relief: Passing the tax means the sales tax relief we were promised when the tax for bonds was passed will be revoked and instead we will continue to have extremely high taxes.
- Already Increased Gas And Diesel Taxes For Highways: At Governor Hutchinson’s urging, the state just passed increases in taxes on gasoline and diesel fuels to be used for roads and highways. Although our fuel taxes were already high, the new tax is the equivalent of an additional 3¢ a gallon to gasoline and 6¢ a gallon to diesel fuel.
- Surplus Funds Available: State tax collections are setting records. Just in the month of November collections grew by an additional $23 million over tax collections in November of last year. The increased collections are largely due to income tax collections. The new report is just collections of general revenue and does not include increases in “special revenues” which are taxes designated for specific purposes (such as fuel taxes).
Just looking at sales taxes, the Democrat-Gazette reported “A $9.1 million, or 4.5%, increase in sales and use tax collections from a year ago to $214 million, which beat the forecast by $3.2 million, or 1.5%.” Asked about how the internet sales tax is adding to sales tax collections, John Shellnut of the Department of Finance and Administration said the collections probably exceed the DFA estimate.[vi] (Apparently, DFA has no way of knowing just how much the internet sales tax will bring in despite throwing out a low-ball number of $21.8 million as an estimate when the tax was being debated earlier this year.)The internet sales tax is paid by you on your purchases from sellers located out of the state. You may recall that instead of using some of this new internet sales tax money for highways, the Governor wanted to keep it and pass new taxes for highways. That means collections from the internet sales tax and from increased collections from other taxes can be used to grow government and give away even more money as crony capitalism, such as the incentive money given to Chinese communist companies that then become clients of the Governor’s law firm.
- Spending More On Highways Doesn’t Have To Mean Passing Taxes: Being for better highways does not mean you have to be for another tax. First, Arkansas is already collecting more tax money than expected. Second, it is time for politicians to do their jobs and quit automatically giving budget increases to state agencies without ever evaluating whether the agency is doing a good job or if their programs are needed. Third, Arkansas needs to quit giving away your tax money to pick winners and losers in business.
If the Governor had given respondents the full picture, how many Arkansans’ besides some “tax and spend” Democrats would say they are leaning toward voting for the tax.
What Message Will The People Hear?
Asa’s crazy claims remain unchallenged by the mainstream media. That means many voters will walk into the polls having heard nothing but the Governor’s slant. Don’t let your neighbors fall victim to being “low information voters.”
To get the word out would you:
Share this article on your Facebook or Twitter, send it as an email to relatives, or print it off to show others?
Consider signing up to follow Conduit For Action where you will see further responses to Asa’s big tax plans? (You can unfollow at any time). Asa is just getting started on his push to keep sales taxes high; and we are just getting started … setting the record straight on Asa’s high taxes and wasteful spending.
[i] Hutchinson makes clear: Road-fix tax tops ’20 list, Democrat-Gazette, 11/27/2019
[vi] State revenue for November sets a record, Democrat-Gazette, 12/04/2019