Friday, October 29, 2010

Voter Education- Arkansas 2010 Candidates and Issues

I recently taught a "voter education" class regarding the upcoming election.  We discussed all of the candidates and amendments that will be on our ballot and I answered some general questions.  I love this stuff and I was happy to be able to share the information with others.  I have decided to post my notes here for anyone who would like to read it and become a more informed voter.  I have compiled this information from a wide variety of sources.  I have tried to include information that sets the candidates apart, rather than list the things they agree on.  Let me know if you have any questions or if you would like me to email the file to you as an email attachment.

The amendments are pretty complicated this year and I have had many people ask me how I plan to vote.  There is a lot of good information on the amendments at the end of my notes for you to read and decide for yourself.  But in case you are interested, I am going briefly explain how I plan to vote and why.

Issue #1- No
This measure seems like a good idea at first glance.  Certainly we want to preserve our right to hunt and fish.  However, when you think about it a little more, you realize that we already have the right to hunt and fish and the powers to regulate it lie with the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission.  This is first and foremost unnecessary and doesn't belong in the constitution.  Should we start creating thousands of amendments to specifically guarantee our rights to do all of the things we do on a regular basis?

My further concern with the amendment is that it paves to way for the judicial branch to have the ultimate authority over hunting and fishing rights.  As a part of the constitution, and activist judge will be able to "interpret" it how he or she sees fit.  This could be soemthing like "The white tailed deer population is shrinking...we need to ban hunting then for 10 years to ensure that future generations have the right to hunt deer".  Or "The spotted owl population is being affected by all of the hunters...we need to prohibit hinting in a large portion of the state to preserve their habitat."  These are just made up examples from my head, but much sillier things have happened.  I just prefer the laywers and judges to NOT have the say on this.

Issue #2- No
It is unfortunate to have to vote no on this one.  There is a law that says the the Arkansas General Assembly can only introduce three ballot issues per election.  Well, apparently they wanted to do more than that this year, so they just too issue #2 and dumped three totally different issues into one.  This makes it ridiculously complicated.

The first two parts have to do with change interest rate restrictions for lenders and for bonds.  I probably would have voted yes for these two parts.  HOWEVER, part three of issue #2 is a total deal-breaker for me.

Part three creates an amendment to allow the General Assembly to issue bonds (go into debt) to finance "energy-efficiency projects" without voter approval.  Current law says that  (in most cases) they have to get our permission before issuing bonds.  So this would create an exception to that as long as the project is considered and "energy efficiency project".  What is an energy efficiency project, you ask?  Oh, that's left up to the legislature to decide?  How much can they spend on these "energy efficiency projects?"  Yep...that's up for them to decide too.

So this amendment would allow our senators and representatives to take on as much debt as they would like, as long as they can justify that the spending is for a "green" project.  Sorry, I don't trust them with that kind of blank check.

Issue #3- Yes
This is the only one that I am voting for.  Currently Arkansas is only able to offer incentives to lure businesses (and therefore jobs) to the state if it is a huge company.  They have to plan to invest at least $500 million and hire 500 people.  The proposed amendment would remove this threshold and allow incentives to be given to to smaller companies.

I think this is worthwhile spending.  So they are only going to hire 300 people?...that's still a lot of jobs!  It's a shame to have a rigid limit in place that prohibits us, as a state, from attracting moderately sized projects.  We are losing this kind of business to surrounding states like Texas  and Mississippi.

So those are my opinions in a nutshell.  I have an opinion on everything :)  Please let me know if you have any questions!  And please vote on November 2nd! (or sooner if you like to vote early.  Those who know me know I like to vote on Election Day!  It's a fun holiday to me!)

Here are my notes...

2010 Voter Education

How to vote?

Early @ Benton County Clerk’s office- 215 E Central Ave, Suite 217
-Now! 8 am-6pm Monday-Friday , 10-4 Saturday (ends @ 5 pm Monday, Nov.1st)

-On Election Day @ your polling place
Tuesday, November 2nd 7:30am-7:30pm
Find your polling place @ (and make sure you are registered)
o   Just enter your name and birth date- very easy!
o   Mine is the First Assembly of God Church

U.S. Senate
U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln- Democrat
·       -Seeking a 3rd term as senator, previously represented Arkansas’ 1st district in the House.
·       -Voted for the passage of Obama’s health-care law
o   Specifically favors forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, allowing parents to cover their children until they are 27 and giving people more choice for health insurance coverage
·       -To balance the budget- says a combination of spending cuts and taxes are needed
·       -Don’t Ask Don’t Tell- one of just two Democrats to join Republicans in a vote to block a recent repeal attempt, however she said she now believes that it should be repealed “If that's what the military's top commanders recommend.”
·       -Tax reform- supports the recently formed “bipartisan debt commission”, charged with helping to bring down the federal debt.
·       -Marriage between 1 man 1 woman amendment- oppose- should be decided at state level.
·       -Pro-Choice

Congressman John Boozman- Republican
·       -Currently serving his 5th term in the House of Representatives
·      - Small business owner before entering politics
·       -Voted against Obama’s health-care law and strongly supports repealing it
o   Specifically, replacing it with common-sense, free market reforms such as: allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines; enabling small businesses to pool together to get the same break as major corporations when purchasing insurance; allowing you to transfer insurance when you leave your job; nuisance lawsuit reform to lower health care costs.
·       -To balance the budget- suggests an amendment requiring a balanced budget and legislation allowing line-item vetoes so pork can be removed from bills
·       -DADT- believes the policy should remain in place because it has worked well and has had no significant problems.
·       -Tax reform- Boozeman says he would like to look into a “fair tax”.  This would completely eliminate all federal income tax and the IRS.  It would be replaced by a 23% sales tax.
·       -Marriage between 1 man 1 woman amendment- support
·       -Pro-Life

U.S Congress District 03
David Whitaker- Democrat
·      - Lawyer, served in the Air Force
·      - I had a very hard time compiling information on him because most sources of information had notes like “The Whitaker campaign confirmed receipt of the questions but provided no responses.”  Frustrating.
·       -Tries very hard to not reveal his stances on issues.  When, in a debate, he was forced to declare himself pro-life or pro-choice, the only answer he would give is that he is “pro-gress”.
·       -He opposes the war in Afghanistan, and suggests fixing the deficit by cutting war spending.
·       -Supports letting the Bush tax cuts expire completely
·       -Supports keeping the death inheritance tax
·       -Supports and praises the recently passed health care legislation.
·       -Opposes privatizing social security
·       -Favors gay marriage and repealing DADT. "They said all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. They didn't say almost everybody,"
·       -If I could only pass one bill in the entire time I’m in Congress, it would be the bill sending to the states a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United case. Because none of us – whether Republicans, Democrats, Tea Party, or otherwise – believe that giant corporations should have the same rights as living, breathing Arkansans and Americans. And we’re going to change that. (note: In a 5-4 decision, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions have the same political speech rights as individuals under the First Amendment. It found no compelling government interest for prohibiting corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make election-related independent expenditures.)

Mayor Steve Womack- Republican
·       -Retired Arkansas Army National Guard colonel, is in his third term as mayor of Rogers
·       -Favors requiring a balanced federal budget. It is the first step in a lengthy process to stop the ever-increasing debt burden we are putting on future generations. I support a constitutional amendment allowing a presidential line-item-veto to cut pork barrel spending.
·       -Believes improving the economy by helping businesses is the answer…not higher taxes.
·       -Opposes government bailouts
·       -Supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage between one man and one woman.
Supports legislation that clarifies that foreign terrorists are not entitled to constitutional civil rights like the right to a jury trial and Miranda warnings.
·       -Opposes the healthcare overhaul and vows to repeal it. Adds that a critical component of health care reform includes incentives for wellness and prevention. “That's why our city built a nationally-recognized Adult Wellness Center in Rogers. It reflects the appropriate role government investment can play in improving the mental and physical fitness of a community with documented results in reducing demand and lessening the financial burden on individuals and businesses.”
·       -Supports extending the Bush tax cuts.

Jim Keet- Republican
·       -Supported cutting grocery tax, but said he also wants to focus on tax cuts that will bring business to Arkansas
·      - If elected, he promised to join 21 other states in a lawsuit challenging the federal healthcare overhaul.
·      - Criticized for tax problems including late payments.
·      - Favors consolidating school districts with less than 350 students to save money.
·       -Says he will not increase the number of state employees when he is governor. He is “committed to wiping out waste and simultaneously rewarding employees who are doing a great job."
·      - Immigration- wants to enact tough laws to fight illegal immigration- like Arizona’s law
·       -Pro-life
·       -Education- to improve education we need to restore discipline to the classroom and to reduce the amount of bureaucratic red tape involved with teaching so that students are the focus.
·       -Focus: Will work to reduce out of control spending and reform our tax code to make it fairer and more jobs-friendly. Will work to make Arkansas the most business friendly state in the union to unleash our economic engine. Has proposed a six-point ethics plan which will end double-dipping retirement abuse and travel reimbursements without receipts.

Governor Mike Beebe- Democrat
·       -Argues that during the economic downturn, Arkansas has fared well compared to the rest of the nation.  The state's unemployment rate has remained below the national rate and, while he has had to cut the state's budget, Arkansas has avoided the mass layoffs and school closings that other state s have had to endure.  Arkansas is one of only 4 states without a projected budget shortfall next year.
·       -Cut state grocery tax from 6% to 3%, plans to cut it further
·       -Says he would not have voted for the healthcare overhaul, but has not joined the lawsuit against it.
·       -Number of state employees has increased by 3,400 since he has been governor
·       -Believes immigration is not a state issue
·       -Not on record as pro-choice or pro-life, but signed ban on partial birth abortion
·       -Education- Main goal is to increase the number of Arkansans with college degrees.

Lieutenant Governor
Mark Darr- Republican
·       -Married, 2 kids, small business owner (Mad Pizza), never held political office
·       -Would like to push for more transparency and responsibility in our State. “I would like to use the office to push for an online checkbook system that shows where ALL of our State taxes are being spent. This will cut on wasteful spending and help business development and job creation.”
·       -Would like to encourage teaching the subject and not teaching the test. We need to make sure that our children learn the Constitution. We also need to make sure our children are learning life skills such as balancing a checkbook, creating a budget and dangers of debt and gambling.
·       -Favors a fair tax in which ALL residents would pay equally (and eliminating the income tax)
·       -Wants to privatize social security
·       -Says he views the office as a chance to counter Democrats’ dominance of state office in Arkansas. Democrats hold a majority in both chambers of the Legislature and all of the constitutional offices which doesn’t offer much of a balance of power.

Senator Shane Broadway- Democrat
·       -Married, government/politics only career
·       -Has a “Plan for More and Better Jobs for Arkansas”:
1. Cut Taxes
2. Quick Action and Technology Acceleration
3. Build Partnerships
4. Improve Education
·       -Voted to assure that state school funding remained based on a per student formula, not parceled out by district. Important to growing districts (like ours).
·       -Says he views the office as a chance to advocate primarily on economic development issues, and push for tax cuts that have been advocated by Beebe.
·       -Focus is on “responsible spending”.
·       -Strongly supports state lottery
·       -Co-sponsored climate change bills and is Co-Chair of the Sustainable Building task force
·       -Term limits are forcing him out of the legislative branch.

Attorney General
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel- Democrat
Opposed only by Green party candidate

Secretary of State
County Clerk Pat O’Brien- Democrat
·       -Lawyer, County Clerk, single
·       -Pro-Choice
·       -On the proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution that prohibits state benefits for some illegal immigrants? Oppose “I think we need comprehensive immigration reform to make it easier for law-abiding, hard-working immigrants to enter our country legally and pursue the American Dream the same way our ancestors did.”
·       -Alcohol: On requiring a countywide vote for the approval of any permit to sell alcohol in a dry county? Oppose.  “I believe alcohol is much like the use of guns. When properly utilized, they do not hurt anyone. People should be allowed to drink more freely then they are currently allowed in Arkansas.”
·       -Favors user fees such as gasoline taxes and toll roads to fund repairs to our highways and bridges
·       -Accountability is the most important duty, especially in a tough economy.  The Secretary of State is the chief elected official in charge of coordinating seventy-five counties so that elections may run smoothly. I already have plenty of experience in doing so as County Clerk.

Representative Mark Martin- Republican
·       -Engineer, served in the U.S. Navy, married with 3 kids
·       -Pro-life
·       -On the proposed amendment that prohibits state benefits for some illegal immigrants? Support
·       -Alcohol: On requiring a county-wide vote for the approval of any permit to sell alcohol in a dry county? Support
·      - Funding for highways should be from revenue transfer from the general fund of sales tax collections from "user" based items such as automobiles, tires, and batteries.  No new taxes.
·       -The most important job is ensuring fair elections. When I first announced, I stated one of my top ideals was to restore faith in fair elections through transparent and accountable systems that people trust. I have proposed prohibitions on political activities for those directly involved in elections. We have to take care to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

State Treasurer
State Treasurer Martha Shoffner
Opposed only by Green party candidate

Auditor of State
Charlie Daniels- Democrat
Opposed only by Green party candidate

Commissioner of State Lands
LJ Bryant- Democrat
·       -Business owner (Branch of Jackson Hewitt Tax), Licensed realtor, single, 23 years old
·       -Promises to use technology to make the office function better- increase online services and make identifying and viewing land parcels easier
·      - Will not use a state owned vehicle and will not permit Land Commission personnel to accept gifts from Lobbyists.
·       -Self-proclaimed “progressive”, supports card check legislation and favors unions

John M. Thurston- Republican
·       -Minister, widowed
·       -Wants to introduce compatible software between the counties and the Land Commissioner’s Office so we can stop the bottleneck in transferring data.
·       -The public school system is largely supported by real-estate property taxes. The primary responsibility of Land Commissioner is to disposition tax delinquent land and collect unpaid taxes. Believes an efficient State Land Commissioner office will bring revenue to public education.

Benton County Judge
Bob Clinard- Republican

Circuit Clerk
Brenda DeShields- Republican

State Supreme Court Assoc. Justice 6 (selected from the state at large to an 8 year term)
Court of Appeals Judge Karen Baker
·       -Married, 3 kids
·       -Believes strongly in using judicial restraint.
·       -Core of judicial philosophy: The power of the people is the strength of our country, and a balance of power restrains abuse. Just as the right to vote ensures that the people of this country hold the power in the legislative and executive branches of government, the jury trial ensures that the judicial branch is also accountable to its citizens.
Judge Tim Fox
·       -Married, 2 kids
·       -Endorsed by unions
·       -Believes strongly in states’ rights
·       -Core of judicial philosophy is the doctrine of separation of powers provided by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Arkansas, and its resulting checks and balances.
·       -Ruled that a state law prohibiting homosexual parents from serving as foster parents was unconstitutional.

Mayor (Bentonville)
Mayor Bob McCaslin

Mayor (Centerton)
Mayor Bobbie Griffith
·       I have been in public service with the City of Centerton for 17 years and I have been serving as your current Mayor for last 2 years. 
·       I have worked hard lobbying for the City of Centerton on the widening of the Highway 102 Project. The project will cost the City $2 Million. We have a signed commitment and have secured the money for the project through sales tax bonds. Bidding should start in  a few months. 
·       We want to welcome two new businesses that will be coming to Centerton. We will have new Head Start School and a Family Dollar Store. 
·       The City purchased land for Street Department Facility. The City is in negotiations on purchasing land for a sports complex. 
·       I attend and take part in all Planning Meetings, Water & Sewer Meetings, and I am a member of the Finance and Personnel Committees of the Benton County Solid Waste District. I am a partner in Northwest Regional Planning Commission and also a member of the Regional Mobility Authority.

Alderman Randy W. Thomas
·       Recently released from jail after his arrest in the assault of Patricia Thornhill of Centerton, a fellow alderman.  Has
withdrawn from race.

Bill Edwards
·       I have several goals I would like to accomplish while serving as your Mayor and have been involved with the city since living here, I have served 4 years on the City Council, I have been the Chairman of the Centerton Advertising and Promotion Committee, I have been a member of the Personnel Committee, and several things were accomplished during my time of service to the city, I am also currently serving as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Centerton Parks and Recreation Committee, and attend all city council meetings and have attended most of them since living here.

Alderman Ward 2 Position 1 (Centerton)
Keith Higginbotham
Q: What makes you the best person for the job?
A: Experience. I’ve been available for people to come and talk to. I’ve just always tried to be available to anybody. I think I’m widely known in Centerton. Just knowing and working with people, it’s always a plus when you’re available and you’re able to talk to people.

James Everett Brummett
Q: What makes you the best person for the job?
A: Common sense. I believe I’m a common person. I work for a living and I’ve managed businesses for other people. I’ve managed my own small businesses and I’ve been successful. I want to run government like a business. I know you can’t do that 100 percent, but we need people who know how to run a business and live on a budget in government.

Alderman Ward 2 Position 2 (Centerton)
Shane Dilday
Q: What makes you the best person for the job?
A: I have experience in government. I feel that my heart is in the city of Centerton and I have the best interest of the city at hand. I want to see the city advance and I really feel that with my experience that I can benefit the city

Josephine Reed
Q: What makes you the best person for the job?
A: My experience. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to get more involved in the city, I feel like I’m much more knowledgeable in the city’s affairs. I’ve seen how the city has grown and developed I want to continue to support that progress.

Alderman Ward 3 Position 2 (Centerton)
Skye Petty
Q: What makes you the best person for the job?
A: I’m a business owner and I feel like I’ve got some fresh Ideas that could help the city.

Jimmy L Thompson
Q: What makes you the best person for the job?
A: I’m straightforward, honest and I deal with the problems. I don’t brush it under the carpet. If you have a problem, you fix it. If it’s not broke, you leave it alone. I’m going to make it easier for businesses to do business in Centerton by revamping some ordinances. Anyone in Centerton will be able to get in touch with me 24/7 at 479-903-2406.

Proposed Arkansas Constitutional Amendments

Issue No. 1
Amending the Arkansas Constitution to provide for a constitutional right to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wildlife

General information:
·       If passed, the amendment would not affect any powers of the autonomous AGFC or any common laws or statutes relating to trespass, private property rights, eminent domain, public ownership of property, or firearms unrelated to hunting.
·       The proposed amendment also establishes that public hunting, fishing, and trapping shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling nonthreatened species.
·       The sponsor of the proposal introduced similar right to hunt and fish amendments in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but did not receive the majority vote required in both chambers to place a measure on a ballot.
·       In the 2009 legislative session, the sponsor’s bill passed unanimously in the Senate and with a vote of 70 to 9 in the 100­member House of Representatives.
·       Twelve states have language in their state constitutions to protect citizens’ rights to hunt and/or fish. This year, citizens in three additional states – Arizona, Tennessee and South Carolina – will vote on similar right to hunt and fish initiatives.

Arguments for:
·       Supporters contend that a constitutional amendment is needed to protect hunting, fishing, trapping, and harvesting wildlife because animal rights organizations in other states have filed lawsuits and mounted advertising campaigns intended to influence public opinion against hunting and fishing.
·       Arkansas Attorney General said that placing an amendment in the constitution elevates the importance the state places on hunting and fishing as both a cultural activity and a wildlife management tool.
·       According to the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, if approved by voters, this amendment will have the strongest right to hunt language in the country.
·       The leadership of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has formally endorsed the proposed amendment.

Arguments against:
·       Amendment is unnecessary because hunting and fishing is already allowed the current constitution- Amendment 35 that established the AFGC.
·       The Constitution is not the appropriate place for language.
·       PETA has not announced plans to actively oppose the measure; it has stated that the proposed amendment is frivolous and would “open the door to a flood of other amendments whose sole purpose is to make political statements to benefit special­interest groups.”
·       The problem with amending the constitution to recognize this right is that it puts interpretive power in the hands of the courts -- and the lawyers. After all, when you make an amendment that’s as broad as this one is, it’s going to have to be further defined at some point. That defining will probably come in some court, where some lawyer tries to persuade some judge that our current Game and Fish regulations don’t really “promote wildlife conservation and management.” And if the judge happens to agree with the lawyer, the regulations could narrow, resulting in Arkansans having less freedom to hunt and fish than they do now.  It seems much more prudent to leave the authority where it currently is -- with the Game and Fish Commission, and with the state legislature. We may not always agree with how they regulate hunting and fishing, but at least most of them truly care about the outdoors, and, in the case of legislators, they answer directly to the people of their districts.

Issue No. 2 (The General assembly is only able to introduce 3 ballot measures per election, so they combined)
An Amendment concerning interest-rate limits and the issuance of governmental bonds to finance energy-efficiency projects

General information:
PART 1-   The proposed amendment changes interest rate restrictions for three groups of lending entities:
o   government entities
§  constitutional interest rate restrictions would be removed, but legislation could be passed by the General Assembly to provide restrictions. This applies to interest charged on loans they make available to borrowers as part of programs offered.
o   federally insured depository institutions (banks)
§  the change simply adopts the federal rules that have been applicable to banks doing business in Arkansas for many years.
o   all other lenders (example- owner financing of property)
§  restricted to an interest rate not exceeding 17 percent per annum, which is the existing limit for consumer debt in the Arkansas Constitution. It would eliminate the restriction that interest rates charged could not be greater than five percent above the Federal Discount Rate.

PART 2-  The proposed amendment would also change the restrictions on interest rates that could be paid on bonds issued by all state and local governmental entities.
o   eliminate all interest rate restrictions on all state and local government bonds.
o   give the General Assembly the authority to set interest rate limits on various types of bonds issued by governmental units.
PART 3-  The proposed amendment allows the General Assembly to issue bonds for “energy-efficiency projects” without approval.
o   Current law is that the state may issue new general obligation bonds only if approved by a majority vote in a general or special election (approved by us).
§  There are some current exceptions
o   The proposed amendment does not define eligible energy efficiency projects but authorizes the General Assembly to establish the requirements to issue this type of debt.
o   The proposed amendment states that bonds can be repaid from any source including general revenues derived from taxes.

Arguments for:
·       It would help Arkansas become more economically competitive and make government facilities more energy efficient.
·       By removing interest rate restrictions on government bonds and simplifying the limit for other debt, the sponsor(s) contend that: (1) much needed projects could be funded with bonds and (2) local Arkansas businesses could sell more goods and services to Arkansas consumers on terms more favorable than currently available.
·       Current limits on interest rates paid on municipal tax supported bonds and revenue bonds restrict interest on the bonds to levels substantially below market requirements, and in some cases has halted the financing of public projects.
·       Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce formally endorsed the measure
·       Furniture and car dealers support the measure saying it would help them stay in business during tough economic times. One furniture store owner said his store and others are losing money, but could increase their customer base and sell more furniture if not restricted by the current interest rate they can charge.

Arguments against:
·       The complexity of including three seemingly separate issues creates potential for voter confusion.
·       Allowing businesses to charge higher interest rates could encourage consumers to make purchases that put them further in debt, increasing debt burden during a time of economic crisis and record bankruptcy filings.
·       Citizens of Arkansas would be giving up the power to approve bonds for energy efficiency projects to the General Assembly
·       The scope of the projects that could be funded is undetermined as “energy efficiency projects” are not defined in the proposed amendment and opponents also point out that there are no limits on the amount of bonds that may be issued.
·       Debt service for energy efficiency project bonds could be required to be paid before funding other governmental services. Depending on the amount of bonds issued, this could diminish funds available for other state and local spending.
·       Has been challenged in the state Supreme Court as not meeting the requirements for a ballot measure. The lawsuit, filed by a Jacksonville resident, charges that the amendment is defective because it combines several different issues into one, and also because it fails to inform voters of all the measure’s implications.

Issue No. 3
To amend amendment 82 of the constitution of Arkansas to authorize the general assembly to establish criteria before authorizing the issuance of bonds for prospective employers planning an economic development project.

General information:
·       State of Arkansas can currently only issue bonds for the purpose of providing infrastructure and other needs to attract prospective companies that plan to invest a minimum of $500 million dollars and hire a minimum of 500 new employees (large economic development projects, also called superprojects).
·       If passed, this ballot initiative would remove the threshold limits in Amendment 82 and would also empower the Arkansas General Assembly to establish criteria for determining the financing eligibility for economic development.

Arguments for:
·       Additional revenues generated by a number of higher­paying jobs could offset principle and interest payments on the bonds and provide a substantial increase in overall state tax collections. More jobs and higher personal income levels could also lessen the need for unemployment and welfare program expenditures by the state.
·       It levels the playing field with many of our surrounding states whose economic incentive programs are not limited by such a high threshold. Arkansas has lost projects to Mississippi, Texas and other states that do not have such limitations for issuing bonds.
·       Would broaden the application of economic development over a wider area of the State.

Arguments against:
·       The state continues to experience revenue short­ falls and budget restrictions. New debt authority will only make a bad situation worse.
·       In light of commitments to increase funding for public education, Arkansas could not afford to incur additional demands from already stretched state revenues.