Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Severance Tax Passes, No Loyal Opposition in Arkansas

The severance tax increase on natural gas passed, and 100% of the funds extracted from honest businessmen will be hoarded by the state rather than returned to the people in the form of offsetting tax cuts. This is at a time when families in Arkansas are hurting, but the state treasury is overflowing. The natural gas industry went along with the increase (out of fear something worse would happen to them if they did not) so it was hard to argue that the increase should not be enacted. All that was left was the issue of what to do with the money. Conservatives, both Republican and Democrat, wanted to use the money to fund a tax cut to hard working Arkansas families. Liberals, both Republican and Democrat, wanted government to keep all of the money. In the end, we discovered that over 3/4ths of our legislature are liberals, regardless of how they represent themselves when election season rolls around.

I wish we had an opposition party in this state, but sadly we have two political organizations both of which favor more money in the hands of government and less in the budgets of families. Hardly a peep was heard from the state Republican Party in all of this. Rep. Aaron Burkes of Rogers was vocal against it, but to show you how encouraged he is, the man about to leave the legislature while he is still eligible for more terms! Sure, a few local Republicans complained, but there was no leadership and no organized opposition on what should have been an easy chance to get a tax cut- after all the Governor needed 3/4ths of the vote to raise this tax.

There is no loyal opposition in state newspapers either. While the Democrat-Gazette was at least willing to give opponents of the tax 1/20th of the space of tax proponents in their articles, other papers were unwilling to do even that. Anthony Childress of the Jonesboro Sun wrote a column in which he only quoted officials whose offices were the direct beneficiaries of the tax increase! Is this what passes for "journalism" in Craighead and Greene Counties? It is unconscionable that the only people Mr. Childress chooses to quote are government officials whose offices will be the direct beneficiaries of this tax increase. That article is better described as propaganda designed to herd people, rather than a serious look at a public policy issue.

I gave Mr. Childress the opportunity to set me straight if I missed something in his article, which is a fairer shake than Arkansas families got in his piece. He did not return my e-mail. Right now, power does not have to defend its actions with logic, reason, or morality. But Truth has a power and a morality of its own, and in time will assert its primacy. For now, they don't have to give you, or anyone else, an explanation.

Now the GOP House members pretty much did stand firm. Sometimes a good one makes it to the House. If they want to move up from there though, they have to favor big government where big business wants it. When you move to the Senate you find that only one Republican Senator, Denny Altes of Fort Smith, voted against this bill. All the rest of those "conservatives" voted to let the already fat state government spend all of the money.

It really is shocking the disparity in the voting that exists between GOP house members and GOP senate members in this state. The evidence supports the contention that the Republican Party works against the advancement of true small-government conservatives and selectively favors the advancement of those who will vote for larger government. This is how the GOP got stuck with its loser crop of Presidential contenders. The conservatives were all Congressmen whom few had heard of. Those who were better known and in higher offices were the liberals.

I already told you that Senator Denny Altes was the only Republican in the Senate who stood up to the statists on this vote. Below (list from underthedome.com) is the vote in the house. The people in green voted for the government. Those in red voted for Arkansas families. They represent patriots we can be proud of. Sadly, where they are Republicans, they represent people who will get little-to-nothing in the way of support for higher office from a state Republican party which has sold out to business interests who "partner" with the government to spend your earnings.

District 1: Steve Harrelson (D-Texarkana)
District 2: Larry Cowling (D-Foreman)
District 3: David "Bubba" Powers (D-Hope)
District 4: Bruce Maloch (D-Magnolia)
District 5: Willie Hardy (D-Camden)
District 6: John Lowery (D-El Dorado)
District 7: Robert Jeffrey (D-Camden)
District 8: Gregg Reep (D-Warren)
District 9: Eddie Cheatham (D-Crossett)
District 10: Allen Maxwell (D-Monticello)
District 11: David Rainey (D-Dumas)
District 12: Robert Moore (D-Arkansas City)
District 13: Clark Hall (D-Marvell)
District 14: Benny Petrus (D-Stuttgart)
District 15: Lenville Evans (D-Lonoke)
District 16: Earnest Brown (D-Pine Bluff)
District 17: Stephanie Flowers (D-Pine Bluff)
District 18: Toni Bradford (D-Pine Bluff)
District 19: Bobby Pierce (D-Sheridan)
District 20: Johnnie Roebuck (D-Arkadelphia)
District 21: Scott Sullivan (D-DeQueen)
District 22: Bill Abernathy (D-Mena)
District 23: Randy Stewart (D-Kirby)
District 24: Rick Saunders (D-Hot Springs)
District 25: Gene Shelby (D-Hot Springs)
District 26: Mike Burris (D-Malvern)
District 27: Dawn Creekmore (D-Hensley)
District 28: Lamont Cornwell (D-Benton)
District 29: Janet Johnson (D-Bryant)
District 30: Bill Sample (R-Hot Springs Village)
District 31: Dan Greenberg (R-Little Rock)
District 32: Sid Rosenbaum (R-Little Rock)
District 33: Fred Allen (D-Little Rock)
District 34: Wilhelmina Lewellen (D-Little Rock)
District 35: Pam Adcock (D-Little Rock)
District 36: Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock)
District 37: Kathy Webb (D-Little Rock)
District 38: David Johnson (D-Little Rock)
District 39: Sharon Dobbins (D-North Little Rock)
District 40: Barry Hyde (D-North Little Rock)
District 41: Ed Garner (R-Maumelle)
District 42: Sandra Prater (D-Jacksonville)
District 43: Jeff Wood (D-Sherwood) In Iraq and can't vote
District 44: Will Bond (D-Jacksonville)
District 45: Betty Pickett (D-Conway)
District 46: Robbie Wills (D-Conway)
District 47: Eddie Hawkins (D-Vilonia)
District 48: Susan Schulte (R-Cabot)
District 49: Mark Pate (D-Bald Knob)
District 50: David Evans (D-Searcy)
District 51: David Dunn (D-Forrest City)
District 52: Nancy Duffy Blount (D-Marianna)
District 53: Denny Sumpter (D-West Memphis)
District 54: Otis Davis (D-Earle)
District 55: Tommy Lee Baker (D-Osceola)
District 56: Buddy Lovell (D-Market Tree)
District 57: Jerry Brown (D-Wynne)
District 58: Tommy Dickinson (D-Newport)
District 59: Lance Reynolds (D-Quitman)
District 60: Johnny Hoyt (D-Morrilton)
District 61: Nathan George (D-Dardanelle)
District 62: Shirley Walters (R-Greenwood)
District 63: Frank Glidewell (R-Fort Smith)
District 64: Jim Medley (R-Fort Smith)
District 65: Tracy Pennartz (D-Fort Smith)
District 66: Rick Green (R-Van Buren)
District 67: Steve Breedlove (D-Greenwood)
District 68: Michael Lamoureux (R-Russellville)
District 69: George Overbey (D-Lamar)
District 70: Stan Berry (R-Dover)
District 71: Eddie Cooper (D-Melbourne)
District 72: David Wyatt (D-Batesville)
District 73: J. R. Rogers (D-Walnut Ridge)
District 74: Chris Thyer (D-Jonesboro)
District 75: Joan Cash (D-Jonesboro)
District 76: Ray Kidd (D-Jonesboro)
District 77: Charolette Wagner (D-Manila)
District 78: Billy Gaskill (D-Paragould)
District 79: Mike Patterson (D-Piggott)
District 80: David Cook (D-Williford)
District 81: Johnny Key (R-Mountain Home)
District 82: Curren Everett (D-Salem)
District 83: Beverly Pyle (R-Cedarville)
District 84: John Paul Wells (D-Paris)
District 85: James Norton (R-Harrison)
District 86: Monty Davenport (D-Yellville)
District 87: Mark Martin (R-Prairie Grove)
District 88: Marilyn Edwards (D-Fayetteville)
District 89: Jim House (D-Fayetteville)
District 90: Roy Ragland (R-Marshall)
District 91: Bryan King (R-Green Forest)
District 92: Lindsley Smith (D-Fayetteville)
District 93: Jon Woods (R-Springdale)
District 94: Eric Harris (R-Springdale)
District 95: Aaron Burkes (R-Lowell)
District 96: Keven Anderson (R-Rogers)
District 97: Mike Kenney (R-Siloam Springs)
District 98: Donna Hutchinson (R-Bella Vista)
District 99: Horace Hardwick (R-Bentonville)
District 100: Daryl Pace (R-Siloam Springs)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does the yellow color mean? Cowardly?

8:42 PM, April 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was Lindsley Smith's deal?

8:44 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Yellow means that Ragland voted "present", which in some ways is as good as a red vote, but I suppose it could be considered less courageous than telling Beebe "no" outright.

For some reason, Smith did not vote on this bill. The other none-voter was deployed in Iraq- a legitimate excuse if I ever heard one.

9:51 PM, April 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did this legislation also appropriate the money raised from this tax increase?

7:45 AM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

While it did not appropriate the money to any specific road building project, the bill does assign 95% of natural gas revenues to highways. See page 8 or so here...


If we can build outrage for this travesty it is my hope that some patriotic legislator will write a bill in the regular session which undoes the provision that 95% of the funds go to the highway department and returns them to the general treasury. The bill would also contain language giving the people of this state 100 million dollars a year in tax relief, preferably through a generous personal income tax exemption.

8:03 AM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:13 PM, April 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ragland voted "no' on the Senate version of the bill.

11:19 AM, April 03, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No surprise that Lamoureux voted for the tax.

Glidewell surprises me a bit. I wonder what the folks in Fort Smith think of that.

Kenny, too. I bet Siloam Springs voters won't appreciate another increase in the size of the largest employer in Arkansas (the state government).

Feeding the beast. It's not just Democrat dirty work anymore.

4:58 PM, April 03, 2008  

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