The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Washington County Quorum Court, led by Republican JPs, provided more than $64,000 to pay for a 4-H agent to serve rural kids in the county, picking up slack for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
Cut: $100,000 from transit services, which help poor people get to work in an increasingly metropolitan county. Also rejected: $4,900 for a TV service to help people find county health services. The county is now contributing almost a quarter-million to the UA Service in the county.
This is the Arkansas legislature in miniature. It happily approves tax money for corporate lobbyists and subsidies to private business, but it will whack and trim health care programs and working people will be last in line for tax cuts.
Remember this, too, when the Koch lobby, abetted by House Speaker Jeremy Gillam, talks about the need for tax cuts. When you take all taxes into consideration, Arkansas has the fourth-lowest per capita tax burden in the country. Local property taxes are low. Big local sales taxes make up some of the difference. If the state cuts taxes, one of two things will happen: Services will be lost or else local governments will have to pick them up. In Washington County, we now know who’ll be first in line — 4H. The bus riders can walk to work.
The debate included a famously ignorant meme of anti-transit people in Little Rock:
“I’ve yet to see a full bus,” said Justice of the Peace Tom Lundstrum, a Republican who represents north-northwestern Washington County.
A full bus is no measure of the worth of a transit service to the cumulative numbers who ride at different times on different schedules, any more than all those one-occupant cars on the freeway in NWA.