Today, Asa Hutchison has asked that Mike Beebe take down his television ads in which he claims that he will “eliminate” the grocery tax. This is after Beebe acknowledged that he was not eliminating the grocery tax any time soon. Beebe went so far as to criticize Hutchinson for saying that the tax should be eliminated immediately.
During a forum hosted by the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce in Hot Springs, Beebe asserted that eliminating the tax immediately would be a “huge mistake,” citing other, more important spending priorities as well as concerns with the “budgetary process.”
“Mr. Beebe is not only retreating from his promise to eliminate the grocery tax, but now he is actually criticizing me for sticking to my promise to get rid of it,” Hutchinson said. “If we can’t find the political will to end this unjust tax when we’re sitting on more than $700 million in projected surplus money, we’ll never do it. We’ll have 20 more years of the same inaction we’ve had for the last 20 – folks saying that they want to get rid of the tax, but always finding a reason that they can not. It’s a depressingly familiar old song.”
Hutchinson has been kind enough to help Beebe out if he didn't want to take down his ads.
As an alternative, Hutchinson suggested that Beebe could alter his current ads at little cost by simply adding a truth-in-advertising disclaimer at the end, similar to those used by pharmaceutical companies: “Mike Beebe’s claim to eliminate the grocery tax may result in inaction, disappointment and more empty promises from public leaders.”
Well, we know that Beebe is not going to change his ads. He knew from the start that he was not telling the public the complete truth. Hutchinson just needs to make sure the public really understands what Beebe is telling them. I'm sure the Hutchinson campaign is working on a really nice TV ad.