Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Holt Opposes Highway Bond Issue



By Mark Moore (click "comments" below for article).

19 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

from candidate's website www.jimholt.us in the "news" section. Audio sound bites are there too...


State Senator Jim Holt’s Urges People to Vote Against Ballot Question One on Dec. 13th

After much prayerful consideration, I urge my fellow Arkansans to vote against ballot question one, the so-called “Arkansas Interstate Highway Financing Act of 2005”. Although I have the greatest respect for my fellow candidates and office holders who favor this bond issue, after weighing the pros and cons I cannot convince myself that this is a good deal for the people. I would like to explain my reasons for this difficult decision.

I urge people to vote “no” on this ballot question because voting “yes” is like taking a credit card out of your pocket and handing it to the Highway Commission and telling them to spend it however they think best. The question contains language that would allow them to issue new debt without the consent of the voters. I don’t know anyone who would do that with their own credit card, but that is just what this bond issue does.

None of what I am saying is meant as disrespect to the current members of the Highway Commission. I know them as individuals and they are fine people performing valuable service. We should give them the resources they need to do their job, and I believe we can do it without incurring more debt. I am especially opposed to open-ended debt that can be added by future Highway Commissioners whose character I cannot vouch for. I am against this ballot question- not the Commissioners. I am not out to make the current Highway Commissioners the heavies here, they’re not. This is just an unfortunate misfire that we need to vote down.

I am opposed to this ballot question because I am in favor of more and better roads. Using debt to build roads means we get much less road built per road dollar spent. This plan will cost us $217 million dollars in bond fees and interest in order to get $100 million dollars a year to fix roads each year for the next ten years. We could save the money for more than two years of road repair and improvement just by paying as you go. Plus, the debt is simply not needed. Our current state budget surplus is in excess of $120 million this year. That is more than enough for spending all of the money they are asking for without wasting any on fees or interest. Add to that we are going to get a stream of income from Federal Maintenance funds and fuel taxes. If we don’t commit those income streams to bond repayment, then we will have them available to improve roads on a pay-as-you-go basis.

If we take on this debt, our ability to deal with future unanticipated needs would be hampered, because the money due us for many years out would already be committed to re-paying the bonds.

Some have claimed that giving future Commissions the power to place you in continual debt is a “cost saving” measure. They say this is because special elections are expensive and it is cheaper to only ask you once. That is only true if one insists on calling for a special election to decide such issues rather than waiting on a regular election to decide them.

If elected it will be my policy that votes for all such questions should be held on days when we are already going to have an election, either General or Preferential Primary. That way, not only does the state save money, but the people are not put at a disadvantage while trying to protect their pocketbooks. It grieves me to say this, but having a special election two weeks before Christmas, as this one is, is bad public policy. It is bad policy because the special interests which stand to gain much will be more motivated to vote than the general citizen who stands to lose, but lose only a little each time. In this way, the special interests can continually add more taxes and debt burdens to the general population. The more just solution is to patiently wait for a regularly scheduled election, and put our ballot questions to the people at those times only.

I made a mistake when I voted to refer this plan to the ballot, and I ask the forgiveness of the voters for my mistake. I thought at the time it was just the same as the 99 ballot question. Like many others, I did not notice the subtle language in this bill that would make the debt indefinitely renewable. I now take this opportunity to make amends by asking the people to fix it on Dec. 13th by voting down Ballot Question One.

I realize that Arkansas needs good roads, and we need to take care of the ones we have, but voting for this will not insure that you get them. There is no specific promise about where they will spend your money. In fact, the wording allows the money to be used for such things as access roads on the private property of favored special interests rather than a specific stretch of highway improvements between say, El Dorado and Little Rock, or from Fort Smith to Bella Vista. I would like to be able to say that the legislature would always prevent that from happening, but there is no guarantee of that either.

I agree with a Democrat on this issue- Thomas Jefferson. He said that, “We must not allow our rulers to load us with perpetual debt.” I urge the people of this state to make the special effort it will take on December 13th to protect your family’s liberty and income by voting against the bond issue.

Thank you and may God bless the People of Arkansas!

8:32 AM, November 29, 2005  
Anonymous Harvey Edwards said...

This also goes hand in hand with our State Government to make better use of the tax dollars that come from each gallon of gas we buy. That should be a manageable tool but it isnt.
While many in politics are talking about the huge profits that the oil companies get,(after refinement expenses) , the same politicians never mention that many times that amount is being collected by the government in fuel taxes. Before government begins the blame game they should look into their pork pots and take a responsible lead.
I commend Holt for thinking this through. There is a difference between a politician and a man of principles.

PS The other argument is that the oil companies dont fix our roads, Where does the asphalt come from?

11:51 AM, November 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for Jim.

2:28 PM, November 29, 2005  
Blogger terrymcdermott said...

I am happy to see that Jim Holt is against this measure.

4:12 AM, November 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Banks supports it so I am for it.

P.S. Matayo supports it too!

9:49 AM, November 30, 2005  
Anonymous The Truth said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:32 PM, November 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holt asked for forgiveness what for unless he admits he voted wrong

6:13 PM, November 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto... "Good for Jim"

11:53 AM, December 01, 2005  
Anonymous Harvey Edwards said...

"This blog is run by a bunch of ............ signed by the truth

Moderator.
What are the chances of banning the writings of (the truth). his/her comments have no value except to spew hatred. I get sick just reading such garbage as that above from (the truth) if that is who it truly is, I understand that sometimes folks misrepresent themselves or others here for their own sicko needs.

3:45 PM, December 01, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very much for Asa, but i am glad that somebody in our party is advocating a no vote. It is interesting that even those supporting it, like Asa, are not speaking about it publicly.

10:49 AM, December 02, 2005  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I don't think much of the so-called "truth" blog, but that had to have been an impostor. They are a lot of things I don't like, but I can't see them putting up racist posts.

9:16 PM, December 02, 2005  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Asa sounds mighty conflicted when he talks about the bond issues, and I have heard him discuss it more than once. I don't think he has any heart burn with Jim Holt coming out against it.

9:17 PM, December 02, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion Sen. Altes and anyone who voted for it and our still supporting the bond issue is the only elected official who has any creditability opposing this issue.

With his vote SENATOR Altes said I oppose it and I don't want to see my tax dollars wasted on an election.

Those that voted for it (such has Senator Holt) are showing that they did not think through their votes before while in session.

While I don't agree with the bond issue I am tired of candidates pandering.

8:44 AM, December 03, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:44

Perhaps you should read the post before you comment. Holt admits he made a mistake on that vote. Here, I will make it easy on you.....

"I made a mistake when I voted to refer this plan to the ballot, and I ask the forgiveness of the voters for my mistake. I thought at the time it was just the same as the 99 ballot question. Like many others, I did not notice the subtle language in this bill that would make the debt indefinitely renewable. I now take this opportunity to make amends by asking the people to fix it on Dec. 13th by voting down Ballot Question One."


Is it pandering to admit that you made a mistake? Then is Asa pandering when he admitted that he did not catch that provision when he first endorsed it either?

9:52 AM, December 03, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holt has more credibility than the people who refuse to admit this bond issue is a mistake.

9:54 AM, December 03, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pandering? How is that different from doing what the people want for a change? I wish more elected officials would "pander" to us. Pander to us on illegal immigration, pander to us on taxes and debt.

How is "pandering" in this instance any different from "serving"?

Better a man who "panders" to the people than one who "panders" to the bond daddies and bankers who want to keep us permanently in debt.

10:03 AM, December 03, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did he see the language was it was he was to busy thinking about his next race and not serving

1:16 PM, December 03, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you mean why did he NOT see the language? I guess for the same reason that Asa admitted that he did not see the language when he read it. It is written in very subtly and gives the appearance of being the same proposal that was voted on in 99.

Perhaps you would rather have a person who tries to bluff through his mistakes rather than own up to them and try to fix them.

Holt's candor and self-effacing honesty is a refreshing change from what we usually get in politics- stuff like your ugly accusations for example.

1:29 PM, December 03, 2005  
Anonymous The Truth said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:30 PM, December 05, 2005  

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