ISSUE 1 in a nutshell

ISSUE 1 proposes a new tax for highways and roads. The new sales tax will be one half percent (0.50%). If passed it will go into effect after a temporary tax and bond issue for four lane projects expires in 2022. The tax in Issue 1 will go into the Arkansas Constitution and will be permanent.

Issue 1 is a bad idea.

Arkansas taxes are too high. Even if you are for more tax money for highways, Issue 1 is NOT the way to do it!

Plus, ….. putting any tax in the Arkansas Constitution is a terrible idea. Not being able to shift the tax money from highways to a more urgent need during an emergency is ridiculous. And this permanent source of funds will make the Highway Commission even less accountable.

  1. WE ARE TAXED TOO MUCH ALREADY.
  • Arkansas is a high sales tax state. Arkansas has one of the highest sales taxes in the nation, and we need relief.
  • It cancels promised tax relief. This tax will cancel the tax relief we were promised when voters agreed to the existing temporary tax.
  • Huge tax increase last year for highways and roads. The state already passed a huge tax increase for highways and roads when last year it increased the taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel.
  • Even more tax increases last year. The fuel tax was not the only tax increase passed last year. The largest new tax was the internet sales tax on your out-of-state purchases. There were also tax increases on cell phone bills, water bills, and tobacco products.
  • Wrong time. Arkansans and the Arkansas economy are suffering from the Covid-19 lockdowns, especially at this time Arkansas needs tax relief, not a tax burden.
  1. PUTTING A TAX IN THE ARKANSAS CONSTITUTION IS A TERRIBLE IDEA.
  • Stuck with it forever. Once in the Constitution it will be nearly impossible to ever change or repeal the tax.
  • Can’t respond to budget crisis. During a state budget crisis (like with Covid-19) this tax money won’t be available to shift to more urgent needs and can only be used for highways and roads.
  1. NOT THE ANSWER, EVEN IF YOU WANT MORE MONEY TO GO TO HIGHWAYS AND ROADS.
  • Using existing taxes. There was another legislative plan to increase funding for highways. It would have shifted funds to highways by cutting waste from other state expenditures. We know the cuts would have been easy to accomplish because the state had no problem cutting state agency budgets during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Plenty of time to act in the future. You do not need to be stampeded into putting a tax in the Constitution. If politicians want more taxes, they still have plenty of time to pass a tax by law in a future legislative session (Constitutional Amendment not needed) and have the law come into effect at the same time Issue 1 would have become effective.
  1. HIGHWAY COMMISSION NOT ACCOUNTABLE.
  • Oversight limited. Because the Highway Commission was created in the Arkansas Constitution, oversight by the legislature is limited. Giving the Commission a pile of money in the Constitution will make it even easier for the commission to thumb its nose at the legislature.
  • Wasting your money. Here is just one example. At the same time the Highway Commission was demanding more tax money, they gave away $1 million to the University of Arkansas for a building.  That money would have filled a lot of potholes.

BE INFORMED. GO VOTE!

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