by Max Brantley
The North Little Rock School District asks for circulation of some information about hours and location for voting in its special millage election, to be completed Tuesday.
The sweeping plan to reconstruct and reconfigure district schools is a product of a long study process and the 7.4-mill tax increase is worth a serious look.
By the way: Don't be confused by reporting in Democrat-Gazette this morning on the supposed unforeseen impact of the school election on tax increment financing in North Little Rock. It's pretty much a non-issue, except a marginal positive in favor of the tax vote. The law has always been clear. School millage devoted to bonds cannot be tapped for private projects through tax increment finance districts. Because a lawsuit derailed — and ultimately will kill — Mayor Pat Hays' Midnight in Argenta TIF District, the shifting of tax millage to debt repayment if the tax is approved will put that millage off-limits for expropriation by TIF private development schemes in the currently contested or future TIF districts. Good.
The TIF law was a bad idea, poorly implemented, and of almost no use statewide because our property tax system doesn't provide the free flow of money taxes in other states provide for support of TIF projects. It was mainly intended to skim cream for developers' benefit in already prosperous places like Fayetteville, Jonesboro and Little Rock. It hasn't worked out and schools are the better for it.