“Donating To Parks Is Better Than Raising Taxes.”

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. In fact, the new concession stand at the 13- and 14-year-old boys’ field and the bleachers and a press box for the pee-wee football league JD Yingling argued so earnestly for last December as needs that could only be fulfilled with the A&P tax were completed a short time ago without a penny of A&P tax money.

Cities like Heber Springs and Cabot have used the A&P tax to fund some improvements. However, Heber Springs has had to levy a permanent sales tax and has had to incur massive debt to pay for their improvements. Cabot has also had to use other funds to supplement their A&P tax receipts for their projects. Recently, Benton reported their A&P tax revenues have fallen off year to year. Mayor LaForce has said in TV and radio appearances that if the A&P tax is passed, it will be insufficient for the capital improvements on the Parks and Recreation Commission’s wish list.

So, what do we do? Whether the A&P tax passes or not, we need to brainstorm as many ideas as possible to fund our parks and recreation facilities. Some suggestions are:

· Analyzing the budget for wasteful spending to eliminate

· Soliciting corporate sponsorship and assistance for improvements from local and regional businesses

· Charging token fees for the leagues and tournaments that play in our recreation facilities

· Setting up a fund to accept tax deductible donations for our parks and recreation facilities.

I’m sure as a city we can brainstorm many ideas other than some form of tax. Hopefully, we can take the best of them and address as many of our parks and recreation needs as possible.

The fund for tax deductible contributions has an extra incentive for us to donate: Saving money on our state and federal income taxes. With those savings, we’ll have more money to put into the local economy. Donating to our parks is better than paying taxes to fund a new government bureaucracy (the A&P commission), which more than 460 municipalities in Arkansas do not have.”

Russel Hiatt

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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 arkansaspatriot@gmail.com Follow The Patriot on Twitter and Facebook.

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