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Author Topic: ARDOT scheduling public education meetings for funding options  (Read 282 times)

MikieTimT

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ARDOT scheduling public education meetings for funding options
« on: January 12, 2020, 09:30:56 AM »

https://www.arkansashighways.com/news/2020_news/NR%2020-006.pdf

Regional open houses for projects possible with different funding levels.  I'm personally for extending the 1/2 cent sales tax, but not perpetually as will be voted on.  Taxes have a way of never dying once implemented perpetually, and I think it's good stewardship of public resources to have to re-justify every 10 years or so like this last sunsetting tax.
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Bobby5280

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Re: ARDOT scheduling public education meetings for funding options
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2020, 11:37:26 AM »

The language in the PDF seems pretty clear that the 1/2 sales tax will provide an additional $205 million annually to ARDOT. They estimate $43 million each to cities and counties. Is that $43 million spread out, divided among cities and counties or does each county and big city get $43 million per year to use on highway projects? The latter would seem pretty big.

I'm not a big fan of sales tax initiatives. From one town to the next various 1/4, 1/2 and 1 measures can add up quickly and pass a price/pain threshold. That threshold can make or break a consumer's choice whether the buy a product locally or find some place online selling the same product without the sales taxes. And sometimes the added sales taxes for a given product will be high enough that it convinces the consumer not to buy the product at all. Many consumers want the product they desire right now. I think they're willing to pay a small amount in sales taxes in return for the luxury of being able to acquire it immediately as opposed to waiting a couple or more days for the merchandise to arrive in the mail.

Any city or town is really going to be pushing its luck with consumers if sales tax levels reach the 9-10 per $1 level. What complicates matters is that as one initiative expires there always seems to be other initiatives that move in and keep a high sales tax level at that level. There is an argument that if a given town allows a bunch of these measures to sunset it would create a price advantage that draws more consumers and business to the area.

Sales tax initiatives are also regressive in that the pain of those taxes is more acutely felt by people in lower income groups and with less disposable income. People in the top income brackets feel more financial pain from property taxes and income taxes.

That issue aside, AR DOT has a lot on its plate. It has taken what seems like forever for projects like the I-49 Belle Vista Bypass or US-67 freeway to Walnut Ridge to get built. The I-49 segment between Fort Smith and Texarkana and I-69 in Southern Arkansas are both major projects that will consume billions of dollars. Then there's all the existing roads and bridges that have to be maintained. The 1/2 sales tax measure will provide a good funding boost for those projects. It seems like a "hold your nose and vote yes" proposition.
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MikieTimT

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Re: ARDOT scheduling public education meetings for funding options
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2020, 05:01:48 PM »

Given that it's Arkansas we're talking about, I'm sure it's $43M split across the counties in the state, and $43M split across the cities in the state.  We just don't have the economy that surrounding states have, but we're trying to put the infrastructure in place to make it better to conduct business here.  I just got done touring several areas of the state this past week and a half for IT equipment replacement projects for some restaurants and law firm branches around the state, and I'm seeing fiber deployments by the electric cooperatives rolling out right now to alleviate some of the backwards Internet connectivity in the rural parts where DSL is still king.  If the private sector won't do it, then the people who live here will band together and do it anyway.  Gives me great hope in the future of this place, but there'll be some pain in the process of getting there.  And as far as regressive taxes go, this one isn't really that regressive since it splits up the burden across most everyone in the state as well as those who pass through and stop over for a bit.  People of all income levels have to consume something in this state, and the rich don't really cause any more wear on the roads than poor people do.  Rich or poor, most drive large pickups or SUVs in this state as they are the most durable and useful form of vehicle given that this is still predominantly a rural state.  They all do about the same damage as any other, unless we're talking about chicken trucks, retail delivery trucks, logging trucks, or just the overall truck freight passing through the state.  Diesel road taxes are higher to compensate for that, though.
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bjrush

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Re: ARDOT scheduling public education meetings for funding options
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2020, 07:43:19 PM »

I'm not a big fan of sales tax initiatives. From one town to the next various 1/4, 1/2 and 1 measures can add up quickly and pass a price/pain threshold. That threshold can make or break a consumer's choice whether the buy a product locally or find some place online selling the same product without the sales taxes. And sometimes the added sales taxes for a given product will be high enough that it convinces the consumer not to buy the product at all. Many consumers want the product they desire right now. I think they're willing to pay a small amount in sales taxes in return for the luxury of being able to acquire it immediately as opposed to waiting a couple or more days for the merchandise to arrive in the mail.

Any city or town is really going to be pushing its luck with consumers if sales tax levels reach the 9-10 per $1 level. What complicates matters is that as one initiative expires there always seems to be other initiatives that move in and keep a high sales tax level at that level. There is an argument that if a given town allows a bunch of these measures to sunset it would create a price advantage that draws more consumers and business to the area.

Sales tax is still due for online purchases.

Also, most cities, especially any of size like in NWA, are already at 9-10% total sales tax.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 07:50:30 PM by bjrush »
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Woo Pig Sooie

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Re: ARDOT scheduling public education meetings for funding options
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2020, 01:02:48 PM »

https://www.arkansashighways.com/news/2020_news/NR%2020-006.pdf

Regional open houses for projects possible with different funding levels.  I'm personally for extending the 1/2 cent sales tax, but not perpetually as will be voted on.  Taxes have a way of never dying once implemented perpetually, and I think it's good stewardship of public resources to have to re-justify every 10 years or so like this last sunsetting tax.

Maybe Arkansas should quit giving tax breaks to the wealthy. Their taxes seem to go down every time they go UP for everyone else.
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edwaleni

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Re: ARDOT scheduling public education meetings for funding options
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2020, 07:51:48 PM »

https://www.arkansashighways.com/news/2020_news/NR%2020-006.pdf

Regional open houses for projects possible with different funding levels.  I'm personally for extending the 1/2 cent sales tax, but not perpetually as will be voted on.  Taxes have a way of never dying once implemented perpetually, and I think it's good stewardship of public resources to have to re-justify every 10 years or so like this last sunsetting tax.

Maybe Arkansas should quit giving tax breaks to the wealthy. Their taxes seem to go down every time they go UP for everyone else.

Sam Pittman, new Arkansas football coach, $3 million annually
Eric Musselman, new Arkansas basketball coach, $2.5 million annually + incentives

Get back to me when the state lowers your taxes to support cheaper sports programs.
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US71

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Re: ARDOT scheduling public education meetings for funding options
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2020, 08:29:46 PM »

https://www.arkansashighways.com/news/2020_news/NR%2020-006.pdf

Regional open houses for projects possible with different funding levels.  I'm personally for extending the 1/2 cent sales tax, but not perpetually as will be voted on.  Taxes have a way of never dying once implemented perpetually, and I think it's good stewardship of public resources to have to re-justify every 10 years or so like this last sunsetting tax.

Maybe Arkansas should quit giving tax breaks to the wealthy. Their taxes seem to go down every time they go UP for everyone else.

Sam Pittman, new Arkansas football coach, $3 million annually
Eric Musselman, new Arkansas basketball coach, $2.5 million annually + incentives

Get back to me when the state lowers your taxes to support cheaper sports programs.

Theoretically, most of that comes from the Booster Club member who get big tax breaks to donate to athletics.
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