The Democratic Party of Arkansas put out a second press release today digging in on their charge that Republicans plan to raise your taxes.
But this time, after their initial charges turned out to be based on an incorrect report from a local liberal blogger, they changed their allegation to be based on the fact that they just know the Republicans secretly want to raise the sales tax. The charges are akin to President Jed Bartlet’s secret plan to fight inflation (if you are not a West Wing fan – click here for that little inside joke.)
Candace Martin, DPA communications director, now claims that although they don’t have any proof and their last press release was based on a bad report, it doesn’t matter because the Republican platform states that they want to replace the state income tax system with a more “equitable tax plan.” That just HAS to be higher taxes…for someone…right…we all know it…am I right??? (paraphrased)
They also point to an article (but with a bad link) that quotes Republican Rep. Denny Altes from Fort Smith. Altes has been in the legislature since 1999 (a long time with the current term limit system.) He is known for introducing a whole host of bills that don’t go anywhere. And yes, in the previous session he introduced a bill that would have reduced the state income tax with an accompanying increase in the state sales tax. But it should be noted that this bill had zero co-sponsors and did not even get a hearing in committee.
Now if the DPA wants to state that that Rep. Altes will likely introduce such a bill again in the upcoming session that will also not get any co-sponsors or a hearing, then that would be accurate. But this is hardly evidence of a secret, covert Republican plan.
Katherine Vasilos, communications director for the Republican Party of Arkansas, fought back against the charges going so far as to use the “L” word.
“The Democratic Party is clearly trying to distract from the fact that Arkansas Republicans have a plan to provide income tax relief to hardworking taxpayers and they have nothing. The Democratic Party is wrong on the facts and they are lying to the people of Arkansas,” said Vasilos.
“There is no plan to increase the state sales tax. In fact, after 138 years of Democratic Party control, Arkansas’ state and local tax burden ranks above the national average and our top income tax rate is among the highest in our region. That they would knowingly continue this falsehood in order to deflect from the fact they have no answer to why a single person making $33,000 per year is considered ‘rich,’ and has to pay the state’s highest tax rate should raise questions about their judgment and ability to continue leading our state,” she continued. “We are proud to have a party platform and legislative policy plan that provides bold, conservative reform to enhance the quality of life for all Arkansans without raising taxes.”
Nice back and forth and we at Talk Business were pleased to be a part of hosting the dialogue when the two appeared together on our weekly show this past Sunday.