by Mark Moore
Some of you may know that I filed for Lt. Governor as an independent in an effort to advance a lawsuit by Neighbors of Arkansas against the unjust changes made in the law in 2013. These changes make it harder to get on the ballot as an independent. I will not be on the ballot as part of the remedy, but I remain confident that the law will soon be thrown out as unconstitutional. Similar laws have in the past, and there is no way there can be “equal protection” under the law when one’s access to the ballot can be made harder every time one attempts to access the ballot outside of the two parties whose misrule has so harmed our nation.
During that process, before it was clear that our (three of us sued as candidates, the other two for local offices) being placed on the ballot was not going to be a part of the remedy, I held myself out as a candidate. I even got invited to a forum. One co-hosted by the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce and the Union County NAACP. This forum is to occur on September the 30th. Since I went to the trouble to answer the questions (in case access to the ballot this cycle was still an option) I thought I might as well share my answers with you. With that set up, here are the questions which will be asked at the forum tonight and how I would have answered them. If you don’t think the system is broken, compare how I would answer them by how they are being answered by the candidates that the system is offering you…..
“As Governor how would you promote new business utilizing Arkansas residents and resources?”
By getting myself and my ego and my administration out of the middle of it. By replacing the fear of government meddling with the expectation of fair play and justice.
The way this state has been doing things is that they have a generally unfriendly business climate with lots of taxes, regulations, and a high cost of government overhead, but if you are one of the favored few who has sucked up to the political class then you get subsidies and special deals. They have a board and a commission for everything and half the time they get captured by the insiders in the industry and just raise barriers to entry for other Arkansans. It is past time we dialed that back and let the markets and the customers determine who the winners are, not base business success on being connected to the system. Good honest businesses want to focus on pleasing customers, not lobbying the legislature or obtaining permits from the government.
Look, if someone wants to start a hair-braiding and nail painting shop out on Rock Island Row they should not need to jump through a bunch of government hoops and licensing and stuff to do that. And if someone wants to build a multimillion dollar business, say a chain of hardware stores, they should be free to focus on pleasing their customers instead of having to run to Little Rock all the time to beg the Governor and the legislature not to take their tax money and give it to a competitor from some national chain in order to bribe them to come to this state.
That is the dishonest accounting by which our current political system says that they “create jobs” in Arkansas. They take money from all over the state and then spend it subsidizing a business. Then they look only at that business and say “look at the jobs we created”, but they don’t count how many jobs were lost over the rest of the state because they sucked money out of the other communities. It is no wonder many national chains stop short of coming to Arkansas. Those who are good at what they do want to transact business, not suck up to politicians.
I keep hearing talk about lowering income taxes, but if you really want to help our business climate, lower sales taxes. They are too high both relative to surrounding states and the internet. Border communities like this one risk losing sales of big ticket items especially. Really, if something is manufactured in this state, its sales should not even be taxed here. We got the taxes on the profits of the company.
One last point- we are missing out on the boom in natural gas in large part because Governor Beebe raised taxes on the extraction of natural gas by 1,600%. Revenues from the tax the next year DROPPED 10%. Can you imagine how many companies must have reduced operations for that to happen? How many jobs were lost? People need to feel confident that when they invest in this state that we won’t immediately try to loot them once they start making money. Right now, I don’t think they have that confidence.
Mark Moore is a proponent of a philosophy of government known as “Localism”. In the end, it is either going to be globalism or localism, because no other view of government can protect its population from globalism. To learn more, check out Mark’s book “Localism, a Philosophy of Government.”