by Christine Keller
About 2 weeks ago, we mentioned in an email to our members that the City of Springdale is holding a special election on August 14, 2012 (3 weeks away). To refresh your memory, you may click here to read the sample ballot and election information.
Here are some fun facts about this issue:
* If this is voted down, the sky will not fall. They will simply find ways to buy only what is necessary and live within their means, just as the rest of us have to do.
*If you ever buy anything in the City of Springdale, it affects you.
* The City of Springdale had existing debt which was renewed to finance the Arvest Ball Park. That debt is still several years away from being paid off, and is being paid with proceeds from the other cent of the existing 2-cent tax.
* The ballot includes selling bonds (BONDS=DEBT) for road improvements, fire department improvements, and park improvements, but it is all very vague, with no specific plan for voters. According to some city council members we spoke with, this could possibly finance a new trail system, but that is not certain and the point still stands that there is no specific plan for voters. The ballot language simply says, “Collections of the Tax not necessary to pay bonds will be used for other lawful purposes.”
* While it may not specifically raise taxes TODAY, the things they want to buy with this debt will require additional tax revenue down the road for maintenance.
* Any time you use debt to fund city operations, that means that taxpayer dollars will be spent on interest to repay the debt rather than on the things people expect to pay for when they pay their taxes.
* The necessities are actually affordable within their existing budget without using debt. They only want debt to “get the money faster,” which is not a smart use of YOUR money. It only ensures that debt becomes a vicious cycle.
* Arkansans NOW are living under a state/local debt load of an astonishing $4305 for every man, woman, and child in the state. That in addition to the unfunded pension liabilities, which adds another $11,000 of debt per family of four. When is enough debt finally ENOUGH?
As tea partiers, while we oppose excessive taxation and debt, we understand that some taxes are necessary. This particular issue on the ballot is whether or not the voters approve of using an existing 1-cent portion of the City’s 2-cent sales tax to purchase $71 million of new debt. Naturally, they will try to sell this to the public as “this does not raise anyone’s taxes,” same as the highway debt mantra last November, which even some conservatives bought.
The mayor who proposed this and the people who support this are hoping no one will really know about it and it will quietly pass (with 5% voter turnout, as usual). That is the usual method of keeping “we the people” under a heavy load of debt and taxes. It’s as if they are completely unfazed by the economic situation the entire country is in, and that debt is a perfectly good way to run city operations. It’s a phenomenon going on all over the state and country. So, the only way to stop this is for YOU to step up and get involved. (It’s been going on for a long time, but it’s up to us to say “Enough!”)
Tell all your Springdale contacts. If you live in Springdale, be sure to vote. Post/hold signs saying something like “No more debt. Vote no Aug. 14” (or worded your way). Write to the newspapers. We wish we had the manpower and the funds to stop every new debt/tax measure that comes along. Someone has offered their place of business in a high-traffic area to post a sign. What can you do to help?