by Max Brantley
Here's one possible indication why the Little Rock sales tax campaign is hiding specific campaign expenses by reporting only payments to Markham Group, the campaign manager.
It doesn't want to further rile up local businesses who were passed over for work in favor of out-of-state vendors.
Here's an interesting letter from Scott Schuh to Mayor Mark Stodola. Schuh operates a direct mail business. He hasn't been happy to see out-of-state firms doing the heavy direct mailing that has been the cornerstone of a largely stealth campaign for the tax.
As a long-time member of the Little Rock business community, I am very disappointed to see direct mail promotional work for the sales tax campaign printed and mailed from out-of-state sources. That is a considerable slight to the Little Rock print & mail community and our employees especially with the on-going challenges in our economy and the impact it has had on all of our businesses.
It is further ironic that the out-of-state vendor is inevitably charging sales tax on the print work and it is being paid to their state/county/city and not ours for a Little Rock sales tax campaign!
Business friends at a past Committee for Little Rock’s Future meeting shared that when this question was brought up, your local consultant stated that 70% of the money is being spent locally. Why is that good enough? With your three words “source it locally” this could have been 85%, 90% or better…once again helping Little Rock area businesses that need it so badly.
Trust with our city government leaders is an on-going concern and allowing a consultant to send considerable work out-of-state that could be produced in our own backyard is quite puzzling and a slap in the face to our local print & mail producers.