MAKING PAYMENTS: State Rep. Mickey Gates reports on his debt to the state.

Republican state Rep. Mickey Gates of Hot Springs, facing felony income tax charges, reports that he piled up more than $50,000 in debts to the state over a 10-year period, but says he’s paid it down significantly and is current on a repayment plan.

The report comes in the required financial disclosure statement required of public officials.

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In a section to list amounts past due to the government, Gates reports for calendar 2018 on amounts owed:

Approx. $13,812.34 This is a balance of a settlement of first four years of a 10-year tax audit. Years 9 and 10, taxes were overpaid. For years 7&8 of audit, $1,500 a month has been paid toward the $27,549 tax + $26,853 interest and penalties = $54K. Never missed! Never late! 1st payment was paid prior to the 11/6/16 due date.

Well he missed a few years for a while there.

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A trial is scheduled July 29 in Garland Circuit Court on nine felony charges that Gates failed to file or pay income taxes.

Taxpayers are helping with his tax payments. He draws about $60,000 in salary and tax-free per diem for continuing to serve in the legislature after years of failing to pay the income taxes he helped levy on others. He also has an advertising specialty business.

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The report on debts is a little confusing. I’m unclear if $13,000 is total remaining or if he’s referring to separate portions of past taxes due. I’ve asked him by e-mail for clarification, but he’s generally been unresponsive to questions about his tax problems.

Good thing Gates has never been photographed in blackface or the Republican Party would be calling for his resignation.