by Max Brantley
Today members of Arkansas Community Organizations (ACO) , Local 100 United Labor Unions and other organizations gathered in front the Pulaski County Election Commission at Markham andBroadway in Little Rock to urge voters to vote against Issue 3. Spokespeople for the organizations said thatvoters should beware of the promise of jobs made by supporters of the amendment and understand the real dangers Issue 3 poses to state and local government in Arkansas. The group said that our tax dollars would be better spent on early education, after school programs, job training and other needed services rather than local Chambers of Commerce and risky tax subsidies to big corporations. The organization also pointed out thatsome parts of the economic development agreements that the state and local governments make with corporations are exempt from the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.
“It’s wrong to use our tax dollars to fund wealthy special interest organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce. Public money should be used for the common good. Issue 3 would lift the 5% cap on revenue bonds and allow legislators to bet an unlimited amount of our tax dollars on potentially risky ‘economic development’ projects. If these projects fail, the taxpayers are left in the dark holding the bag,” said DonnaMassey, president of Arkansas Community Organizations.
“We note that the same legislature that placed Issue 3 on the ballot voted against increasing funding for early education. Supporting and funding programs that have a track record of success is a much better investment of our tax dollars. Beware the promise of jobs. Don’t let the Chamber and the special interests fool you. Voteagainst Issue 3,” said Toney Orr, organizer for Local 100 United Labor Unions.
Mr. Orr along with Jim Lynch and Mac Miller were the three plaintiffs that sued the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock over their yearly subsidies to the Chamber of Commerce. The plaintiffs won in Pulaski County circuit court. Legislators placed Issue 3 on the ballot in response to the court’s ruling. Both Mr. Lynch and Mr. Orr spoke at the rally.