Tax protest | Arkansas Blog

Tax protest

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Judge Griffen
  • Judge Griffen


Under a blistering sun at mid-morning, a half-dozen poster-waving members of the $500 Million Tax — Too Much! committee urged traffic at 12th Street and University to honk if they oppose the city sales tax proposals. Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, activist Jim Lynch, committee chair Robert Webb and supporters were getting plenty of honks (though one lady apologized to Lynch that she could not support his position, to which he replied, that's OK, it's a free country).

Webb made several points at a press conference mid-demonstration about what he called the "triple sales tax" (a penny added to the current half-cent), which he said would fund "unknowable ideas" and force voters who want their streets repaired to vote for the $6 million "slush fund" for jobs and another $32 million for a "research park." Webb later said the research park would displace low-income residents and would not provide jobs for them, unless it was to "sweep up." (See city's breakdown here.) He said the half-billion-generating sales tax was a "champagne appetite on a Budweiser budget."

Lynch held up a chart that showed Little Rock residents' tax burden growing to $160 million by the year 2020; he said the bill to pay for the cost of the city's failure to impose impact fees on land its annexed out west had come due. Another poster compared past capital projects to the proposal, showing it to be a $31 million increase over money raised in 2004 through a voter-approved bond issue.

Griffen asked the question, "If you had to pay more to get the same things you have, would you?" He said the tax receipts would do nothing for the city's low-income community, arguing the city needs to get rid of its three at-large board positions and go to all ward representation to give people better representation and create a civil service commission for fair reviews of police action.

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