Thursday, June 22, 2006

Arkansas, City and State Taxes

The Fayetteville tax vote has been set for Sept. 12th. On the ballot will be the extension of the current ¾-cent sewer tax and adding a ¼-cent, bringing Fayetteville’s sales tax to 9.25-cents.
The extension of the sewer tax comes because the mayor and city council did not keep on eye on the project. Now the sewer project is 3 years behind schedule and is about $63 million over budget.

[Mayor] Coody took the lead in trying to shape the debate over the sales tax, trying to play down the problems associated with the sewer project and instead play up the transportation projects that could be financed by increasing taxes to the level they were in 2001.
Although Coody took some blame for the fact that the sewer project is about $ 63 million over budget and three years behind schedule, he did not offer a detailed explanation of where the project broke down.

So, residents will have to pay for it either by taxes or a rate increase. I hope the mayor and the city council have a good explanation for the public. People aren’t going to be happy about paying for such a big mistake. It may endanger the ¼-cent tax that would go for city streets. Fayetteville desperately needs the tax to widen, expand and extend existing streets. Traffic is one of the biggest issues people complain about, so they may go ahead and vote for it. The mayor and city council will really have to get out and talk to people about these taxes.

While I’m on the subject of taxes, let’s look at what the state has. NWAnews

By June 2007, [Governor] Huckabee said it is estimated the state will have more than $ 600 million in surplus funds.

That’s a whole lot of surplus money. It means that Arkansas is collecting too much money. While the rebate being proposed would be nice, I think politicians should be talking about lowering our taxes. The state could just lower the sales tax ¼-cent so that Fayetteville residents won’t feel the pinch. I have heard more about a tax rebate rather than tax cuts. I'm worried that the politicians will think that it's more money for them to budget with. They may think they can increase the next budget because there is more money coming in. It would be a qood question to put to the candidates running this year.

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