by Max Brantley
Their money is negligible against the corporate money that has been poured into the city campaign to raise the sales tax by 200 percent so City Hall spending can increase by 26 percent annually, but opponents have gotten some printed material together, as the photo of a campaign worker sent by organizer Jim Lynch shows.
The opponents got support this morning from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which editorialized against the entire tax proposal — "Too big, wrong time out of touch."
The Arkansas Times has endorsed the tax editorially. As you know, my personal feelings are more mixed.
I tend toward believing our poll that the tax will be approved and that many good purposes will be served by it. Not so good: Some squeaky wheels will be greased. Some ill-thought purposes will be served in unaccountable ways. City Hall will set off on an orgy of spending that will require 10 Debra Hale-Sheltons to be adequately monitored.
For TAP: A link to the occasion when the chamber of commerce types rolled out their research park, forgetting a small string attached — that taxpayers were to pay for it. The chamber, of course, knew for a fact taxpayers would be the suckers. That link includes some other links to the flavor-of-the-day nature of research park investments with tax money. This link recounts the utter lack of diversity of governance. Can you believe a statute that REQUIRES a seat for the chamber of commerce, but none for working people or the general public? Of course you can. This is Arkansas. We're just lucky the chamber doesn't get ALL the seats (though, of course, they essentially do.) More fulminations on that point here (this link will take you in turn to an article in The Economist deriding the notion that building office parks is the path to economic development).
Noted: D-G this morning addressed the research park idea. Still missing is any suggestion that anybody besides Little Rock taxpayers is going to put up any money for the thing. Entrepreneurs, ideas, energy and private capital build businesses — office parks don't. Didn't we just invest a jillion to link up research institutions in Arkansas through a superfast, superhuge connection to other research institutions because location has a whole lot less to do with advancement than information?