The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported yesterday that the Searcy Parks & Recreation Department will receive the excess money from the A&P Tax fund after the refund process is complete. This was part of the A&P Tax refund ordinance that the city council passed last week.
On June 22nd, the Searcy Council passed an ordinance, upon its third reading, to offer refunds of the money to citizens who have their original receipts.
The tax was implemented on July 1, 2009, despite the submission of petitions for referendum by concerned citizens. This was in violation of the state constitution, which calls for the “abeyance” of a tax upon submission of petitions. After a lengthy legal battle, a judge ruled that the city’s defense (an ordinance from the 1930s, limiting the petition deadline to 30 days–the petitions in this situation were turned in past that alleged deadline) was invalid. Therefore, the city had no legal right to deny the petitions & their failure to hold the tax in abeyance led to an illegal exaction of funds.
Per state law, refunds of illegally extracted funds must be offered for refund. While the majority of the council & mayor have maintained that the money was not illegally exacted, issuing refunds with legally exacted money would be illegal in itself.
Refunds begin on July 23rd and will be issued for 180 days.
The current balance of A&P funds is approximately $450,000.
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. The editor can be reached at email@example.com Follow The Patriot on Twitter and Facebook.
Letter to the Editor
“Dear Editor of The Arkansas Patriot,
Today, April 13th, is election day for the Searcy A&P tax. Last year, I voiced my concerns to my aldermen about the A&P tax and its A&P commission and asked them to put Ordinance 2009-10 before the people rather than pass it themselves. Only one of them took the time to respond and explain his position, and I appreciated the congenial discussion I had with him. Before our email correspondence, he said he had not met anyone against the tax, and I had not met anyone for it. While the months since have been bumpy at times, I know both of us have talked to a variety of people who oppose our personal views on the A&P tax, and soon, we will know the voters will on the tax. I am grateful the voters of Searcy have a chance to air our views on the tax and, more importantly, vote on it.
Hopefully, most of you have seen the parks and recreation wish list, the list of things they say they need the A&P tax to fund. For some of those things, the A&P tax won’t be enough, and for others, it won’t be needed at all. Continue reading
Letter To The Editor:
“In a few weeks the citizens of Searcy will finally have the opportunity to vote on whether or not they will be charged an Advertising and Promotion tax on prepared food and hotel services they purchase within the city limits. Proponents of the tax claim these funds will be used to improve the city of Searcy, mainly through the renovation of Parks and Recreation facilities, promotion of local fairs and festivals, and increased tourism from special city events. Opponents of the tax point out that the economic timing is poor for a new tax of any kind, especially one whose funds are not earmarked for such improvements and are managed by members of an unelected commission who are not answerable to the people as to how the funds are spent. Although I’m sure most of you reading this have already made up your minds on this issue, I urge all Searcy voters to CAREFULLY consider these two positions before voting in April.
I will be voting AGAINST the A&P Tax on April 13, and I’d like to explain why. Continue reading