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  • Jim Lynch

It’s hot. It’s summer. And the city of Little Rock plans a special election Sept. 11 on a three-mill property tax to support a $105 million bond issue for streets and drainage. Maybe nobody but supporters will notice, the political thinking goes.

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I remain generally well-disposed to ongoing basic infrastructure work. But questioning has begun about the request for a new tax levy, which comes not long after a sales tax increase aimed to raise $500 million over 10 years, including $195 million in capital projects.

Enter Jim Lynch, a city political activist of long standing who was among those who opposed the city sales tax campaign. Opposition like his was integral to defeat of the tax in low-income neighborhoods. He says again the city is seeking too much. I’d take exception to him on one point — I think the city’s push for a new tax to pay for infrastructure (equally split among city wards though the need varies among the wards) is indication of the city’s tacit acknowledgment of the emptiness of the cherished city hall propaganda that growth pays for itself. It doesn’t. A permanent infrastructure program financed more by old parts of town than new proves this. We should have impact fees, of course, as well as ongoing infrastructure programs. But it would also be nice if city officials would stop blowing smoke.

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Lynch’s explanation follows of the chart he prepared above of city bond issues over the last half-century. It’s from a letter he sent to a city board member announcing his opposition to the tax proposal.