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.
There will be a story in Wednesday’s edition of the Searcy paper about the pro-A&P tax group putting their fliers in mailboxes without stamps — a violation of federal law. But that’s not the real story. The real story here is that the paper is reporting the incident.
This is a paper that, like many across the country, bends to the left. (If you need any evidence of this, see this hit piece they ran on little ole insignificant me. They even had a piece yesterday outlining how much better the current proposal is than the 2009 proposal.) They also turned a blind eye to the ethics violations of our sitting county judge and endorsed the bypass tax, if I remember correctly. So it is certainly news that they are now turning against the pro-tax crowd. Quite frankly, it’s a great indication that the tax is doomed — a claim support by the paper’s own empirical evidence.
Using their own creative scientific method of hiring college students to conduct research, the paper conducted a poll showing the A&P tax failing by 12-points. They also recently conducted a poll that showed state Rep. Mark Biviano leading his Democrat challenger Kyle Osborne (who, incidentally, supports the A&P tax) by 16 points while just days before, Biviano released an internal poll from a well-respected polling firm showing a 26-point lead. So I think it’s reasonable to assume that the tax poll may be off by several points as well, although I can’t say I am completely surprised– they have a history of screwing these things up.
As I have been telling folks for a while, before any polls were conducted, you should not be surprised if the tax is defeated handily and by a larger margin than last time — perhaps by as much as 16-18 points.
The activists on the ground (as opposed to the ones at the paper) know they’re in trouble as well: last week, Alderman Don Raney told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette that Searcy needs the tax to help “disabled children” and the elderly. Besides being disgusting, these tactics are clear signs of desperation.
Don’t be surprised if you see the paper run a few more favorable A&P tax pieces between now and the election — they’ll come under a wave of pressure from the city political establishment after tomorrow’s bombshell hits. But even they know the gig is up.
If you’re thinking about voting for the latest Searcy tax proposal, you should know that you apparently won’t be voting for improvements to the city pool–which, in my estimation, is the impression that most Searcy voters are under (the last A&P tax was proposed to fund the previous mayor’s pet project, an aquatic center, and the most recent proposal was preceded by city officials bemoaning the need for pool improvements in the local paper).
The Parks & Rec committee has apparently released a list of projects they would like to pursue with the A&P money over the next five years. Maybe I am missing something, but I do not see any pool improvements listed. From the paper:
The tax is forecasted to bring in $971,392.68 in one year, based on five months of 2009 A&P revenues. The tax does not have a sunset.
For the first five years, the large projects are as follows:
Year one: Sports complex expansion with land acquisition and development.
Year two: Expansion and development of the bike trail
Year three: Riverside Park expansion
Year four: New park development
Year five: Soccer complex drainage.
Undoubtedly, someone will rebut my comments here by claiming this list is not extensive. I’ll concede that point. But don’t you think that, if the pool repairs were of highest priority, it would be listed?
This whole thing is one big mess. The city passed this tax without listing any specific projects, but knowing full well that people would assume it was for pool improvements. Now, this list comes forth, without any pool repairs listed? It’s almost as if the city council had to pass the A&P ordinance before they could find out what it was going for (reminds me of another one of my favorite politicians).
Many of you may have been willing to pay for pool improvements, but are any of the things on this list so vital that you still support a cumulative 4% tax increase?
And take a look at Year Four: a new park? We can’t afford the parks we have, which is why we need this new tax, so if we get it, we are going to build MORE parks, which we also will not be able to afford!
They also expect us to believe that raising these sales taxes and spending all of this money on parks will magically attract businesses and new residents to Searcy.
More mismanagement by Searcy officials, facilitating more distrust in Searcy voters.
Oh by the way, the Searcy city council passed their latest tax increase on Tuesday evening by a vote of 7-0. Alderman Mark Derrick was not in attendance.
The 1% tax would be applied to prepared food in the city of Searcy (concession stands, delis, bakeries, all restaurants, coffee, fountain drinks, etc.). The 1% rate can be raised to 2% or 3% at a vote of the city council.
The proposal also carries a 3% tax on lodging, which includes room rentals. You can read the full proposal here.
The issue will be put on the November ballot before the voters of Searcy, where I predict it will get obliterated.
How will you vote? Let us know in the comments section.
The mayor has passed along these figures that show how much the last A&P tax (which was overwhelmingly rejected by voters at the polls) brought in during its tenure:
August 8, 2012
To: Members of the City Council
From: David Morris
I have asked our City Clerk/Treasurer to furnish me with the amount of the collection of the former advertising and promotion (A&P) tax, that was collected in Searcy in 2009. As you know, the former A&P tax was one percent (1%) on prepared food and three percent (3%) on lodging. The tax was collected for approximately five and a half (5 ½) months.
The actual collections for the five (5) full months were as follows:
July 2009 $79,287.48
August 2009 $79,550.03
September 2009 $82,519.80
October 2009 $84,861.82
November 2009 $78,527.80
The average of these five (5) months of full collections is $80,949.39 per month. Assuming that monthly average continued, the annual revenue generated would have been $971,392.68.
We mentioned the debate between state rep. Charlie Collins & columnist John Brummett last week. I attended the debate and wrote a review for The Arkansas Project.
Here’s an excerpt:
Today, one day after the debate, Brummett has set fire to the blogosphere, demonstrating his ability to play fast and loose with facts by publishing this dazzling analysis of the debate that reads more like a red carpet review, with a tinge of Brantley-esque Koch conspiracy. He managed to make at least two demonstrably false statements in the article; they deserve to be corrected. So let’s do that!
Read the full story at The Arkansas Project.
The following letter was submitted to The Patriot by former White County Judge Bob Parish. Mr. Parish served the people of White County as judge for ten years, garnering nearly 70% of the vote in his last election. In 2006, Parish supported current Judge Mike Lincoln as his successor, but has since withdrawn his support.
This letter was also submitted to the Searcy paper as well as the Bald Knob paper. They have declined to print it.
May 7, 2012
In 1989, White County voters passed a one percent county-wide sales tax. The purpose of the tax was to keep White County offices and services to the county afloat. At that time, all departments were facing a real threat of employees being laid off and services to the county being reduced. There was very little money in the treasury.
On August 8, 1995, the tax was challenged due to allegations of misuse of funds. A lawsuit was filed against White County, which resulted in the tax being struck down by an Arkansas State Supreme Court ruling in 1998.
On June 23, 1998, in a special election, White County voters went to the polls to abolish the original sales tax ordinance and to approve the adoption of a new one percent sales tax within White County. This ordinance remains in effect today.
The ballot sets forth the usage of the county’s portion of the one percent sales tax revenues:
- 50% for county roads
- 25% for county general
- 10% for non-mandated services
- 10% for capital improvements
- 5% for volunteer fire departments
Judge Michael Lincoln has used county road funds for graveling and hard-surfacing city streets, platted sub-divisions, private lanes, and other non-county roads throughout the county. Many of these roads have not been dedicated to the county, nor has a court order been filed regarding the acceptance of dozens of these roads. Two examples include recently opened and paved city streets in Letona, where new housing has been developed; and the Dayton sub-division located near Judsonia. Using county labor, materials, or equipment to build or maintain non-county roads is misuse of county funds and therefore, an illegal exaction. The practice of using county road labor, equipment, or materials on non-county property reduces potential jobs for contractors who may desire to bid on the projects.
In 2003, White County was not allowed to use county funds for the promotion of a one-half percent sales tax to fund the building of a new law enforcement center. Judge Lincoln hired an individual to promote the passage of a one percent sales tax to be used for the Searcy bypass project. This individual is being paid an amount of $2,000.00 per month by the county – another misuse of county funds.
When revenues generated by the sales tax ordinance, which was approved by White County voters, are not used as ear-marked on the ballot, it is an abuse of taxpayers’ money. The misuse of our penny tax this way jeopardizes all 16 incorporated cities and all volunteer fire departments. We stand to lose approximately 10 million dollars per year.
Judge Bob Parish