Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Four Reasons to Vote NO on Highway Bonds Dec. 13th!

From Debbie Pelley (click "comments" below for article).


Anonymous Debbie Pelley said...

Four Reasons Why Voters Should Oppose Ballot Question #1 on December 13, 2005

(Arkansas Interstate Highway Financing Act of 2005)

1. Voting for Ballot Question #1 would actually take away the citizens’ right to vote on future highway bonds and transfer permanent bonding authority from the people to a governor appointed highway commission.

2. It would give five appointed highway commissioners sole authority to obligate Arkansas taxpayers to repay long-term government debt for forever.

3. It would remove public and legislative approval in deciding where tax dollars are spent on the interstate highways.

4. It would give highway commissioners a revolving credit card to borrow against future taxes, almost doubling the cost of interstate highway repairs. For example, Arkansas citizens will pay almost $1 billion in taxes in exchange for borrowing $575 million for road repairs in the current interstate highway bond program. Taxpayers should not pay almost two dollars in taxes for one dollar of highway money.

Six Alternate Solutions

Spend current taxes available wisely.

State and federal motor fuel taxes along with vehicle registration fees should be the core taxes used for highway improvements. For example, these taxes will generate about $6.5 billion in federal and state highway dollars to Arkansas over the next five years, sufficient to maintain state highways if spent wisely.

Consider tolls to offset new highway construction costs.

Existing highways should remain toll free. However, tolls are a viable option to pay for building new highways.

Avoid bond financing and free up even more tax dollars.

For example, in 1999, Arkansas voters authorized the state to sell bonds and borrow $575 million against future taxes to repair 380 miles of interstate highways. Most of that work is completed. However, according to the Federal Highway Administration, the final bill to taxpayers will be about $952 million once the bond principle, interest, and fees are finally retired in 2014. Paying two dollars in taxes to get one dollar of road is not sound fiscal policy.


Prioritize highway improvements on such criteria as population growth, traffic volume and economic growth areas rather than distributing taxes evenly among highway districts.

Never neglect the interstate highways...and no further bond financing will be required.

In the 1980s and 90s, the Arkansas Highway Commission neglected the existing interstate highway system, generally spending only what Congress mandated. By 1998, the Federal Highway Administration rated our interstate highways among the worst in the United States.

For this reason, the Arkansas Trucking Association supported an increase in the diesel tax in 1999, with the condition that all proceeds go to the interstate highways. Our organization also supported selling bonds to raise $575 million because the interstate highways were in desperate need of repair and bonds were the most expedient way to repair the roads – but it was the most expensive on taxpayers, costing almost $1 billion by the time the bonds are paid. Going forward, bonds should be a measure of last resort and only if voters approve them.

Return the power over highway taxes to publicly elected officials.

Forty-nine states cannot be wrong. Arkansas is the only state in the U.S. that empowers a five member appointed highway commission to decide how and where to spend highway taxes without legislative approval. Ballot Question #1 would now remove the public’s oversight as well.

5:54 PM

JustSayNO said...
Last night the Lonoke County Republican Committee voted to oppose the issue. Hopefully many others will do so as well. Who sets an election for December 13th to begin with, that's proof enough that the Governor knows voters will reject this perpetual debt on the peoples backs issue. Tell everyone you know to vote against the issue on Tuesday December 13th.

9:32 AM

Anonymous said...
This will be paid through diesel tax and mostly federal funds. What better way to repair interstates -- No new taxes! Let the truckers pay for our interstates. Vote yes. And why on Earth would the Lonoke Republicans decide to vote against it without even inviting their governor to speak about it? Sounds like a Democrat's way of doing things.

12:14 PM

Anonymous said...
Before making up your mind, read up on the issue at:


At least make an educated decision. And please consider that we don't want our interstates to get back to the condition they were before 1999.

12:18 PM

mark m said...
We get the diesel tax for roads whether it is used to back bonds or paid to roads directly, so 9:32 I would say your point is moot. The same thing with the federal funds. As for the "no new taxes" part, I don't see how you can assure us of that. The proposal clearly states that general revenues will be used to pay the bonds if the other funding sources fall short.

I want to decide on this thing based on real differences, not misdirection.

6:45 PM

Anonymous said...
Well 12:18, I am not convinced that our roads would return to their pre-1999 condition if this particular bond fails. And if we use 20 years worth of money now, we won't have it then unless we keep borrowing.

6:48 PM

Anonymous said...
THIS WAS Senate Vote - SB430 Senator Holt voted for this. did he vote wrong on this bill

3:34 PM

Anonymous said...
Voting to refer it to the voters in not the same thing as supporting it. It is just saying I won't decide this for the people, I'll give them the chance to decide for themselves. And there was sure nothing in SB340 that called for a SPECIAL election, much less one two weeks before Christmas.

Most all of the candidates have come out in support of the highway bonds, but has Holt?

10:37 PM

Anonymous said...
So we are the only state that leaves this to a highway commission? Why?

4:38 PM

Anonymous said...
Bill Clinton started forming all of these commissions so that he would have some appointed offices to sell in exchange for campaign contributions.

2:44 PM

Anonymous said...
It had to be refer to the people.

Senator Holt had a choice to vote no, yet he did not. Now he has not said whether he supports it or not.

6:04 AM

Anonymous said...
Sure, all debt issues are supposed to be referred to the people. That is not the point. The point is that voting to let the people decide an issue is not the same thing as being in favor of the issue.

Last I heard Holt was undecided. I'd like to know where he is on this.

10:32 AM

"The point is that voting to let the people decide an issue is not the same thing as being in favor of the issue."

So under your logic, Senator Holt should have voted for local option on the gambling bill.

Remember you can't have it both ways

11:47 AM

Freedom ToVote said...
The issue at hand has nothing to do with how any elected official voted. That has been done, now it's time for every taxpayer in Arkansas to vote against the measure, which would be a disaster for the state and generations to come. Ten or fifteen years from now, there is the very real possiblility, that the Federal matching funds that pay a large portion of such debt will be bankrupt, if not sooner. That would mean that funds from General Revenue would have to be pulled from everything to cover the debt or default on the issue. The proposal stinks just based on the fact it is not a special election, it is a special interest election. Calling for an election less than two weeks before Christmas is just wrong, period. In a true democracy the voters should be encouraged to turnout and have a voice in issues like this, obviously the backers of it know it's a stinker, and would be crushed in a primary or general election. We need to pass legislation that will allow special elections to deal with taxation or the issuance of debt to be held only in a primary or general election. It would be far more representative of the peoples true voice and votes, plus save a substantial sum of taxpayer money on holding elections such as this one. VOTE AGAINST BALLOT QUESTION ONE TUESDAY DECEMBER 13TH.

12:20 PM

Anonymous said...
I am still having a problem with the entire idea of not holding the Leg responsible for their vote on this

1:41 PM

7:57 PM, November 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is trying to have it both was Dano. The constitution says all issues of debt should be put before the people. It says nothign about gambling and local options being done that way. And anyway gambling options are constantly being put on the ballot, locally and state wide.

By all means hold the legislators responsible- but hold responsible those who urging you to vote for it, not those allowing you to vote against it!

The vote only means that they said we should vote on it, not that they approve of it. If you want to hold someone accountable, make it the people that are urging you to vote for it.

If a legislator had voted against putting it the ballot he would be accused of denying the people a choice!

9:20 PM, November 22, 2005  
Anonymous Dan Fielding said...

If a legislator had voted against putting it the ballot he would be accused of denying the people a choice!

or he would be accused of standing up for what he believes in. I still think people are haing it both ways.

I live no near the gambling communities why should I not let them have local option. Senator Holt voted against those you do not hear me saying that he denied them the right to vote on those.

6:38 AM, November 23, 2005  
Anonymous mark m said...

Ahh, naming Senator Holt. So at last you reveal your true agenda. It is not about holding "the legislature" accountable, but rather finding an avenue of attack against Senator Holt.

I have found that people who desire to attack Senator Holt are not really interested in explanations or reasoning, but I will give it another go in case you are an exception.

There is more than one way gambling can come to Arkansas- through the ledge or through the people in a petition, or through the people in a referendum. Not so with debt. Debt issues, by constitutional mandate, can only come through a vote of the people.

As such a legislator must be especially sensitive when voting on matters of debt questions not to short circuit serious proposals (even a flawed one like this )for debt. IN other words, they are indeed only voting to give the people a choice, not making an endorsement, when they refer a ballot question to issue debt.

But surely you don't contend that any of Jim's opponents are against the bond issue? Did not Matayo vote for it too? And isn't Chuck Banks going around the state talking about what a "team player" he is? Will he buck the governor and Asa and oppose this ballot question?


8:47 AM, November 23, 2005  
Anonymous Dan Fielding said...

First of all Mark M Senator Holt's name has been mention though out this thread. Has he publicly come out against this ballot title? As far as attacking Senator Holt I have not do so. It was brought up that Senator Holt supported this in the Senate.

See Below

" Anonymous said...
THIS WAS Senate Vote - SB430 Senator Holt voted for this. did he vote wrong on this bill

3:34 PM "

I agree with many of the points brought up about this issue by Debbie Pelley. Just trying to have a honest debate about wheather we should hold eb=veryone who voted to allow this to get on the ballot accountable.

10:35 AM, November 23, 2005  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Fair enough. I just don't think "allowing" something to "get on the ballot" is much of an outrage item. There is too much to be outraged about that they passed into law without giving us a chance to vote to slap it down!

11:00 AM, November 23, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where does senator Holt Stand

7:55 PM, November 25, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

last I read in the papers, he was undecided. that was two weeks ago or so.

11:11 PM, November 26, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

definitely against it.

8:48 PM, December 13, 2005  

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