Category: Government Transparency

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.

Arkansas House GOP Unveils SIMPLE Plan

Something else (besides the breaking of the Petrino scandal) happened on April 5th:  Republicans in the Arkansas House, poised to take control of the body for the first time since Reconstruction, unveiled their platform for the 2013 general assembly.

(We have previously outlined pieces of the platform.)

I encourage our readers to view the platform at www.ARHouse.org  It is not the typical platitudes.  It is a very detailed, substantive plan with many ideas that have been proven to be fundamentally sound & successful in other states.

SIMPLE is, of course, an acronym:

  • S – Spending Restraints
  • I – Income & Other Tax Reform
  • M – Medicaid Sustainability
  • P – Protecting Arkansas’s Future
  • L – Legal & Regulatory Reform
  • E – Educational Excellence

The entire press conference is not available in one YouTube clip, but since we are a Searcy-based blog, we will share our state rep’s comments.  Here are Rep. Mark Biviano’s comments.  I particularly appreciate the remarks about transparency:

 

Maryland Legislator Fighting to Modernize Ethics Laws

The state of Maryland is considering modernizing their ethics laws, making it easier for citizens to review legislators’ contributions.  A novel idea!  (believe it or not, this is actually an area where Arkansas performs rather well: voters can see contributions & other financial information by searching on the Secretary of State’s website)

Senator Jamie Raskin is the author of the bill to modernize the disclosure process, but shockingly, some state Democrats are stalling.

Of course they support the idea, and they knew the bill was coming so they had plenty of time to prepare, but it seems they only have 5 days left in their session and that may not be enough time to pass the bill.  After all, this is a very complicated matter, posting a few PDFs online and all.  Delegate Maggie McIntosh who chairs the committee considering the bill said:

“I saw this bill coming, and I certainly support the intent of this bill, but there’s a lot to digest here. I just don’t know if we can do it in five days” when the session is scheduled to end.”

Senator Raskin’s main concern & reasoning for proposing this bill is that legislators’ financial information is not readily available to some citizens, particularly the elderly, and voters have to go to great lengths to obtain information.

“We are talking about people who are dealing with millions of dollars,” Raskin said. He said it was unreasonable to make people travel 90 minutes for information that is already public “and can easily be put online.”

The bill passed the Maryland Senate unanimously last month.

 

We Passed! Arkansas Gets D+ For Government Integrity

The headline speaks for itself and as one of Arkansas’ finest legislators, Rep. Andrea Lea, told KARN’s Donna Kelley:

“It’s not surprising.  Disappointing, but not surprising.”

There is a little hope that Arkansas’ score might see an increase in the future with the state’s online checkbook reportedly scheduled to launch in July.  But anytime New Jersey, Illinois, & Louisiana score ahead of your state on an ethics rating, you tend to worry.

Some of the factors in the score were “Public Access to Information” & “State Pension Fund Management.”  Arkansas received an ‘F’ in both categories.

Here’s a really neat-0 chart from State Integrity Investigation that shows how Arkansas was scored and why (click on the image to visit SII’s website & see how each score was determined):

 

Nic Horton