by Max Brantley
A Talk Business/Hendrix poll today shows voters mostly in the dark on a legislatively proposed constitutional amendment that is a Trojan horse for yet another giveaway to real estate developers.
A NO vote is the proper option, as we've said before.
The poll says that 35 percent favor it, 35 percent oppose it and the rest are undecided. Not surprising. There's been no talk about it and no organized advertising so far. If any emerges, it will be a last-minute dishonest blitz from real estate developers anxious for approval of a deal by which compliant city and county officials (see Little Rock, whose board is controlled by the business community) would authorize a sales tax on hamburgers, groceries and everything else to subsidize commercial development, typically the likes of big sporting good stores and entertainment districts.
I bet some developers are waiting in the wings to seek this subsidy in Little Rock and that the chamber of ocmmerce-controlled board — which thinks free enterprise means free financing on the taxpayer tab — has lots of good ideas about taxing local people to benefit private interests. Sure they'll create some new waitressing and clerk jobs. But they'll also kill some at competitors elsewhere who don't enjoy such subsidies.
The amendment also makes it easier for local governments to borrow money and would allow taxes to shore up police and fire pension funds. Police and firefighters are the figleaf for another naked grab at corporate welfare, stymied by court rulings in the case of the Tax Increment Finance boondoggle, another real estate developer enrichment scheme.
Hold your breath: Looks like Teresa Oelke and the other running dogs at the Koch boys' Arkansas lobby and I are in agreement on this one. Haven't seen them doing any mailing on this one, however.
Oh, Jesus, I've just learned Debbie Pelley is against Issue 2 as well because it will supposedly fund UN projects. If Jerry Cox joins in, I may have to rethink.