Last week, the local paper reported that the White County government had hired a Searcy resident to promote the Searcy Bypass tax proposal (set for a vote on September 13th).
That’s right: you, the taxpayers, are paying someone to convince you that you need to give them (the government) more of your money.
According to other reports, this “Economic Development Liaison,” Jim House of Searcy, is being paid $2,000 per month by the county government. (Citizens for Responsible Taxation is working to confirm this amount)
The county judge and proponents of the tax have said that House is being paid only to liaise between the judge and the mayors, that he only “volunteers” to promote the tax. Well, he sure has spent a lot of time and effort “volunteering” in the last few weeks. Stop insulting the intelligence of the people of this county: Jim House is being paid to promote this tax increase.
When a friend of mine learned of this situation, he remarked, “This is The Beast feeding The Beast” or “government feeding itself.” I nodded in agreement.
But then I got to thinking about it. He’s wrong. This isn’t The Beast feeding The Beast. This is you feeding The Beast. This is your money being spent, without your direct consent, to promote an effort to take more of your money.
After inquiring with the Arkansas Ethics Commission, I can say that these actions do appear to be legal—but are they morally sound?
Is it moral for government to spend your money in this way? We know there are ethics laws that keep city or county employees from promoting a government agenda while on the job. How is this situation any different?
Some members of the quorum court have reported to CRT that there is $30,000 in the county’s “economic development” account. It has also been indicated that Mr. House will stay on staff after the election to continue promoting “economic development” around the county. Is this full $30,000 for him? Are we going to spend $30,000 on an Economic Development Liaison with no actual economic development experience?
Regardless of where you stand on the bypass or on the tax itself, can’t we all agree that this is an improper use of our money? Couldn’t that $30,000 be spent on improving our roads (a task that we are often told is neglected because of a “lack of revenue”)?
These are serious questions about the proper role & conduct of government, including a strong argument for serious reforms to Arkansas ethics laws. I challenge every White County resident to consider these facts carefully & take a stand.
– 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 at email@example.com