As we debate the merits of the Searcy Bypass Tax proposal, it is important to dig into the numbers & assess the costs in real terms that translate to the lives of every White County citizen.
As most of you are aware, the proposal is a 1% increase in the sales tax that would be in effect for 21 months. It is set for a vote on September 13th (vote at your local precinct). The county projects that this tax will bring in close to $18,000,000. That’s a big number, as evidenced by all of those zeros, but let’s talk about how that government number translates into real money.
According to the 2010 census, there are 77,706 residents of White County, Arkansas. Therefore, based on the projections, each resident will bear the responsibility of $231.64 in taxes. This raises another very important question: what could you do with $231.64?
Personally, I think I might put that money towards an iPad or maybe that new chainsaw I’ve been wanting. Maybe I would use that money for a few gallons of gas, go see the Hogs play, or give it to my local church for a mission project. Honestly, I am not exactly sure how that money would be spent. I think that choice should be mine, not the government’s—especially in these troubled economic times.
But what about those struggling to get by right now? I can live without my iPad or a new chainsaw, but what about those 9.5% that are out of work, struggling to make ends meet? Have we stopped to consider how this tax will affect them?
The Census Bureau also reports that 16.5% of White County residents live below the poverty line. That is barely $11,000 per year for a single person or barely $22,000 per year for a family of four. Every dollar is critical in one of these households.
I wonder what they could do with that 1%? Maybe they would spend it on frivolous things like food for the kids, or school clothes, or gas for the car? But the real question is: do they want to spend an extra 1% on utility bills, food, clothing, and other bare essentials?
$18,000,000 may not seem like much money to the politicians—they won’t feel the pain of this tax. But to White County residents who are struggling to pay their electric bills, this is real money. And it’s time we start being honest about the real impact of burdensome taxation on the poor in our community.
- Nicholas Horton, Chairman, Citizens for Responsible Taxation
The Arkansas Patriot is a conservative organization dedicated to equipping citizens with the truth, insuring transparent government, and encouraging citizens to question their government boldly. Contact The Patriot email@example.com