Issue No. 2, a legislatively-referred proposed constitutional amendment, doesn’t have a cheerleading group or a set of detractors and that has left voters undecided and unsure of its fate.
State lawmakers referred the measure for voter consideration in the 2011 General Assembly. It gives city and county governments three new financing powers.
Issue No. 2 would authorize cities and counties to create districts for development and redevelopment projects that would be funded by bonds tied to a sales tax collected within the district. In some states, these are referred to as STAR (sales tax revenue) bonds and are used to create entertainment districts.
The proposal would also authorize a municipality or county to issue bonds and levy a local sales and use tax for the purpose of retiring unfunded liabilities of closed local police and fire pension plans.
Finally, Issue No. 2 would amend Amendment 78 of the Arkansas Constitution to provide that annual principal and interest payments on short-term financing obligations could be paid for by general revenues or special revenues. This would allow cities and counties to finance a fleet of police cars or expensive road grader equipment with a dedicated revenue stream.
Without much public education or a high-profile media campaign, voters offer mixed opinions on the ballot issue’s fate. From our latest Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll of 868 likely Arkansas voters, we asked:
Q. Another proposal would allow cities and counties to use sales taxes to finance bonds for development and redevelopment projects and to retire unfunded liabilities of closed police and fire pension plans. If the election were today, would you vote for this measure?
30% Don’t Know
“As we’ve witnessed in previous issue elections, if there is not strong support or opposition to an measure, voters often lack clarity in how they will vote,” said Roby Brock, executive editor of Talk Business. “It is hard to say how voters will decide on this measure this year. Will they understand the issue enough to cast a vote for it on Election Day? Or, by not understanding the technicalities of the measure, will they vote against it? This remains to be seen.”
This survey was conducted by Talk Business Research and Hendrix College on Thursday, October 18, 2012. The poll, which has a margin of error of +/-3.3%, was completed using IVR survey technology among 868 likely Arkansas voters statewide.
All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business and Hendrix College.
For interviews, contact Talk Business executive editor Roby Brock by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Jay Barth of Hendrix College by email at email@example.com.