To listen to Republicans, you’d think that Arkansans are adamantly opposed to any new taxes and that there’s an anti-tax mood sweeping the state which means we must cut taxes. Republicans want us to believe Arkansans hate government and don’t want to give it any more money.
However, based on how Arkansans are actually voting in local elections that doesn’t seem to be the case. This year, 18 cities and counties across the state held elections for new tax increases or tax renewals and 16 times voters approved those taxes.
That’s a dramatic success rate of nearly 90%. Garland County, ground zero for the Arkansas Tea Party movement, even approved a tax increase this year.
Here are the cities and counties that have also passed a variety of sales taxes (either first-time or renewals) in the calendar year 2011 so far: Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Greenland, Lake City, Wynne, Brookland, Bono, Bay, Paragould, Berryville, Newport, Marmaduke, Cherokee Village, Carlisle, Garland County, and Fayetteville. White County and Conway voted against tax increases this year.
Four more tax increase elections are scheduled this year in Caraway, Fort Smith, North Little Rock, and Searcy.
Voters understand that you can’t get something for nothing, and when it comes to taking care of their own communities, they are clearly willing to invest in necessities like streets, economic development, infrastructure, and police and fire protection. Washington, D.C. could learn a lesson or two about public trust from some local Arkansas elected officials.