February 13, 2012
***************************FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE********************************
Refer all inquiries to Jeff Oland, Chairman of Washington County Tea Party (888) 311-4348
Washington County Tea Party Opposes 1/4-cent sales tax increase proposal from Ozark Regional Transit
The Washington County Tea Party has joined the list of opponents to the proposed 1/4-cent sales tax increase currently being discussed at the Washington County Quorum Court. If approved, the tax proposal could be on the ballot as early as May 22, 2012. Washington County Tea Party is urging the Washington County Quorum Court to stand up for Washington County taxpayers and join Benton County Quorum Court in rejecting this tax proposal at the next quorum court meeting in March.
Jeff Oland, Chairman of the Washington County Tea Party, points out that numerous “special elections” in Washington County have caused taxpayers to be squeezed to the breaking point already. “While the rest of us must find ways to live within our means, all levels of government and certain special interests continue to look to taxpayers as the first option to fund whatever they want,” he said.
Washington County Tea Party is concerned that the taxpayers would end up paying many times more than ORT actually needs if this tax proposal passes. “It is similar to someone needing a small car to get to and from work but demanding that taxpayers buy them a Rolls Royce instead. Naturally, taxpayers balk at that, because the demand is unreasonble,” Oland said.
“Another misconception being thrown around is that people who rely on the bus will lose their bus service if this tax does not pass. That is not true,” Oland said. “Ozark Regional Transit does not seem willing to try to find affordable solutions that are within its budget. The rest of us must find ways to live within our means. We expect the same from government.”
It is noted that even in a larger city like Tulsa, public transit utilizes vans. Many empty buses are currently being driven around Northwest Arkansas and it is right to wonder if now is the time to demand taxpayers pay for even more buses. Washington County remains a mainly rural county. Since Benton County Quroum Court has already rejected a similar proposal from ORT in Benton County, the vast majority of Washington County residents, who rarely or never use the bus system, would be funding Ozark Regional Transit for both Washington and Benton Counties if this passes.
Once a tax like this on the books, will it ever retire?
A couple of expanded routes have been tried in other parts of the county in recent years and subsequently discontinued for lack of riders.
Since Ozark Regional Transport is 83% subsidized by government funding, which means money that came from taxpayers, Washington County Tea Party thinks the taxpayers of this county have the right to know if their tax dollars were used to pay for advertising and transporting people to and from the quorum court meeting in ORT buses to lobby to increase taxes.