by Max Brantley
It had to happen. When the legislature gave one of the richest women in the world a tax break on art purchases -- in secret -- in 2005, you knew it wouldn't stop there. If Rep. Horace Hardwick of Waltonville can get the Crystal Bridges museum's art purchases exempted from the sales tax, what about other art museums? And what about other worthwhile charities with a few billion dollars fewer assets than Alice Walton possesses?
So it has happened. Rep. Sid Rosenbaum, who's distinguished himself to date mainly by beating a resolution honoring Founding Father Thomas Paine (Paine is too rational for Sid), has introduced a bill to exempt the Arkansas Arts Center, the YMCA and the City Year program for youth from the sales and use tax. At least he's named the beneficiaries up front, something Hardwick failed to do with his wink-and-a-nod tax break for billionaires. (Mary Anne Salmon is carrying this bill on the Senate side.)