Visit The Arkansas Project!

TAP fb picJust wanted to post and remind you all that, while The Patriot has gone a bit dormant — for now — you can still keep up with my writing over at The Arkansas Project. I’m posting daily about happenings at the state capitol.

The Arkansas Project <– click it. Read it. Bookmark it.

Oh, and don’t worry — The Patriot will be back, probably around the time the Searcy City Council proposes their monthly tax hike. And that could be sooner rather than later.

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Weekly Segment With Paul Harrell Begins Today at 5

Starting today, I will be doing a weekly segment on The Paul Harrell Program out of Jonesboro every Thursday at 5 p.m. We’ll be discussing exciting topics like Arkansas politics, public policy, and other happenin’s from around the state.

You can tune in at 101.3 FM in northeast Arkansas or online from anywhere in the whole world at www.AnswerTo.Us. The shows are also archived on the site, so if you can’t tune in live, you can go back and listen at your convenience. Thank God for technology!

Hope you enjoy the segment.

Nic Horton

Searcy A&P Tax Rejected Again, As Predicted

Many of you have written, inquiring about the results of the A&P tax in Searcy. In short, it was a rear-kicking:

FOR: 3,289

AGAINST: 4,312

That’s a margin of about 14% (I predicted a larger defeat than the last go around, which was 10%, and said the margin could be as much as 16-18 points).

(Sorry for being so slow to the party here — I was up until early Wednesday morning doing live election coverage for The Arkansas Project and have been quite busy since, prepping for the upcoming general assembly and traveling for work)

I’ll have more analysis of the tax election in the coming days, but let me just say here now, as I told the folks on Newstalk 99.1 FM on Tuesday night:

I hope the city gets the message. I hope they can finally realize that the people of Searcy do not want the A&P tax — not now, not ever.

I’ve been saying this for years – they have called me crazy, accused me of being “against the children,” blah blah blah. But guess what? I’m right. The people of Searcy have affirmed this once again. Unfortunately, as I predicted on the radio, the fight is probably not over. The hosts were shocked by this statement — “This is a settled issue,” the said. But, the very next morning, Alderman Don Raney apparently left the door open to another run at the tax in his post-election interview with the local paper.

I’m not trying to be a sore winner. For whatever reason, there is a fairly large faction in this city that now thinks that the city is now doomed and their children’s futures are doomed because higher taxes have not been forced upon the people of Searcy. Scarily, they seem to think my fiscal conservatism poses a greater threat to threat to their children’s’ future than Obama does. If you hold these viewpoints, please seek psychiatric help immediately.

But here’s the really scary part: A failed city council candidate with a WordPress account is now more in touch with the people of Searcy than the 8 city alderman, who voted for the tax, and the mayor. 

This is a problem that needs a solution. A serious disconnect exists between the people of Searcy and their “leaders.” It’s (past) time to start working to bridge this divide.

More analysis (and perhaps a few samples of recent hate mail) to come!

Nic Horton, Editor

Update: Political Sign Removed From Searcy School Grounds

The aforementioned A&P tax sign

I drove by Sidney Deener school this evening around 8:00 p.m. The aforementioned pro-A&P tax sign (pictured right) was no where to be found.

No word if the sign that was being displayed at Southwest Middle School is still up or not. If someone goes by there, let me know if you spot it.

I know of at least one concerned citizen that read my earlier story about these signs that were apparently on public property and contacted Searcy Public Schools directly. On the eve of this pivotal election, what a great reminder of the power of citizen engagement. You can make a difference; you can hold your government accountable. 

If you haven’t voted yet, there is still plenty of time. Arkansas voters, visit http://www.VoterView.org to see where you vote.

Nic Horton

Are Searcy Public Schools Endorsing the A&P Tax?

I posted last night about the awful Tim Tebow tax sign that has popped up in Searcy. Now a citizen watchdog has submitted this photo of a pro-tax sign in front of Sidney Deener elementary school:

The watchdog also confirms that a sign is being displayed in front of Southwest Middle School as well.

If the signs are on school property, it is unclear at this point whether or not that would be illegal, but as a general rule, it seems to be a no-no to put election signs on public property. At the very least, I think these signs — which clearly imply endorsement of the tax by these schools — are being inappropriately displayed. Public property shouldn’t be used for electioneering and that is a principle that is woven through Arkansas ethics laws. That property belongs to all of us taxpayers, including me. I don’t want it being used to push a tax hike.

If the signs are not on school property, then they are in the right of way, which is a violation of the city code, according to the city of Searcy Code Enforcement’s Mike Cleveland. He made a few candidates move some signs last election cycle because they were “too close to the street,” telling them it was against city law to put signs in the right of way — I wonder if Mr. Cleveland will enforce the law in this case?

I have also personally seen a sign at the entrance of Harding University on Race Street which leads me to believe that the pro-tax workers, in all of their recklessness, are simply sticking signs wherever they want them and not thinking of the legal ramifications.

Cindy Barker of the White County Election Commission tells me that the commission has no jurisdiction over sign placement until election day. She says this issue would likely fall under the purview of the state Board of Education.

Anyone requesting more information about the propriety of these signs can contact the Arkansas Department of Education here. I would also recommend contacting the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

Tim Tebow Supports Searcy A&P Tax?

Have you heard the good news? About the tax that can heal the sick, raise the dead, and cure all the ills of the city of Searcy? It’s called the “A&P tax.” In fact, this tax is so wonderful, even Tim Tebow supports it! Don’t believe me? Check out this new (misleading and improper) campaign sign in front of Mayflower Foods in Searcy:

That white sandy beach look pretty nice — does that come with an A&P tax too??? Wow!

And not only does Tim Tebow support the tax that comes with bunnies, unicorns, and white sandy beaches, but it will only cost you ONE ONE-HUNDREDTH of a cent! WOW! Is there anything this tax CAN’T DO?

(In case you’re missing the sarcasm, the tax will actually cost 1 cent for every dollar spent on prepared food [including coffee, donuts, popcorn at the movies, etc.] and 3 cents for room rentals including meeting rooms and hotel rooms, but the makers of these signs, whoever they may be, apparently didn’t learn their decimal rules very well. More evidence of the failures of public education.)

So, in summary, the proponents of the A&P tax have now:

  • Violated federal law (more info here)
  • Used Tim Tebow’s and the University of Florida’s images, presumably without permission, on a campaign ad which certainly raises legal questions
  • Blatantly misrepresented the cost of the tax

Not to mention their scare tactics and bullying on social media and elsewhere, accusing fans of responsible governance of being “against the children.” Clearly these people deserve more of our hard-earned money to waste!

But seriously folks, why should we trust these people? They passed the tax with no plans for how to spend it–all they knew was that they “needed it. Now they’re breaking the law (again) in an effort to shove this thing down our throats, despite the fact that we’ve already emphatically rejected it before.

No word on who paid for these signs. However, given that these people are committed to doing everything above board, I’m confident these signs will be listed on their campaign expenditure reports.

Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday.