Arkansas Democrats Erroneously Accuse Republicans Of Supporting A Tax Increase

by Jason Tolbert ( 16 views 

A lot of press releases hit my inbox. Most are expected and on script.  Some are expected but surprising, such as one yesterday from the Democratic Party with Rep. Barney Frank boasting about their platform change to include support for gay marriage.  But some are so out of the normal that they leave you scatching your head.

Such was the case today with a press release from the Democratic Party of Arkansas (DPA) entitled “Arkansas Republicans Vow to Raise States Sales Tax Days before Tax-Free Weekend.”

Huh? I thought Republicans want to lower taxes. So much so that in the past Democrats accused them of doing it irresponsibly. So now the DPA is attacking them for wanting to raise them? That can't be right.

Turns out – it isn't.  The press release is based on a post on the liberal Max Brantley's blog where Max made this claim based on an early draft of the Arkansas Republicans' party platform.  However, if they had clicked on their own link supplied in their press release, they would have seen where Brantley later posted a “correction and update” where he explained his mistake.  The final platform approved by the party does not have this provision.

Amazingly, instead of issuing a retraction and correction, the Democratic Party of Arkansas changed their website to link to a pdf copy of the platform draft on Brantley's blog.  Apparently, they don't want the facts to get in the way of a good attack line.

They also dug in on twitter.  When confronted by the story, they pointed to an old Arkansas News article from when the GOP House caucus unveiled their SIMPLE Plan last Spring. The SIMPLE Plan can be found

here, but you will not find support for a sales tax increase there.  Rather, the article quotes Republican Rep. Denny Altes, who says he plans to introduce a bill phasing out the income tax with a sales tax increase.

Now Rep. Altes is a nice guy, but he introduces all sorts of bills that never go anywhere, such as his bill last session to impose a new half a percent wage tax to prop up the state's unemployment compensation fund. In fact, he already introduced the bill to phase out the income tax and phase out the sales tax. It did not get a single co-sponsor and died in committee.

This hardly supports the Democrat's rhetoric.  Perhaps we will eventually see the DPA issue a retraction and apology as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) had to do today.

Last month, the DCCC issued a host of cookie-cutter press releases such as one I got entitled “Congressman Griffin’s Re-election Funded By Chinese Prostitution Money?” that tried to tie him in a bizarre way to billionaire Sheldon Adelson.   Today, they issued the following statement…

In press statements issued on June 29 and July 2, 2012, the DCCC made unsubstantiated allegations that attacked Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of the opposing party. This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we retract them. The DCCC extends its sincere apology to Mr. Adelson and his family for any injury we have caused.

Perhaps the DPA will follow their lead instead of just changing their link and pointing to an obscure bill filed by Rep. Altes, but I would not hold my breath.  Right now, it appears they are trying to pour water on the bill Republican Rep. Matthew Shepherd passed with broad bipartisan support creating a very popular back-to-school sales tax holiday.