Governor Asa Hutchinson says his top priority for 2020 is to pass ISSUE #1 which would impose a permanent one-half percent (0.50%) sales tax to be used for highways and roads.
What he doesn’t want you to think about is:
- Arkansas’ sales tax is one of the highest in the nation
- In 2019 Arkansas passed gas and diesel fuel tax increases for highways
- Arkansas passed several other taxes in 2019
- Arkansas is collecting record amounts of tax
- This tax is permanent and will be nearly impossible to repeal because it is being added to the Arkansas Constitution.
- If the tax fails, you will get sales tax relief in 2023 when a temporary tax expires. The temporary tax is to pay the debt for specific highway projects.
Passing the tax is not just bad, it is crazy.
You can expect the Governor to present a list of those who support the tax. But, the list won’t mean much since the endorsements will be from those who risk nothing and can benefit by playing ball with the governor.
Although the list is not out yet, the usual suspects include politicians who don’t have an opponent, the Chamber of Commerce, and big businesses that receive taxpayer money.
- State Senators and Representatives. Expect Asa to roll out a list of state legislators who endorse the tax. BUT the endorsements will be from legislators who have NO OPPONENT in the upcoming election and risk nothing. Only 10 of the 35 Senators and only 38 of the 100 Representatives have an opponent in the primary or general election. So, most legislators risk nothing by endorsing the tax because being unopposed means they won’t have to face a voter backlash in the election. No risk and they gain favor with Asa by being on the “Team Asa Tax And Spend Bandwagon.” Who knows, maybe some of the unopposed legislators who endorse the tax will have enough brownie points to get one of the high paying state jobs Asa has been handing out to legislators.
- County officials: County officials risk nothing because they are not up for reelection in 2020.
- Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber of Commerce is the most consistent supporter of more taxes.
- Big Business: Some big businesses will be on the list. But think about it, most will be businesses that owe Governor Hutchinson a favor because they have received state taxpayer money from Asa. Crony capitalism is bad for Arkansas but brings lots of supporters for politicians.
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The only thing that stands in the way of Asa’s well-funded effort to pass his crazy tax is an educated electorate. Don’t let your neighbors and friends fall victim to being “low information voters.”
For further reading on Issue #1 see: ASA’S CRAZY POLL – People Prefer Higher Taxes