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Arkansas Retail Project Question (2011)

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Retail Project Question
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Type:State statute
State code:Arkansas Code Title 26]
Referred by:Arkansas State Legislature
Topic:Bonds
Status:Approved Approveda
The Arkansas Retail Question, also known as the Arkansas Highway Financing Act of 2011, appeared on the November 8, 2011 statewide ballot in the state of Arkansas as a legislatively-referred state statute.

The measure authorized local areas, cities and counties, to create special economic districts and issue bonds for retail projects in the state. The measure was placed on the special election ballot by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe after signing a proclamation around August 29, 2011.[1][2]

The measure was introduced by State Senator Jake C. Files. The bonds would be paid off with local tax revenues that would be generated by the development. The measure was proposed during 2011 state legislative session.[3][4]

Early voting on the measure began on November 1, 2011.[5]

Election results

See also: 2011 ballot measure election results
Arkansas Retail Project Question
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 75,905 80.71%
No18,13919.29%

Source: Arkansas Secretary of State - 75 of 75 - 100% of counties reporting

Text of measure

Ballot language

The ballot language that voters saw read as follows:[6]

“[ ] FOR adoption of a ____ percent (____ %) local sales and use tax within _______(name of local entity) for economic development projects not to exceed $ ____(maximum amount of revenue to be generated) to be terminated on the first day of the calendar quarter following the expiration of ninety (90) days after _______ (name of local entity) certifies it has received $ _____ (maximum amount of revenue to be generated).”
“[ ] AGAINST adoption of a ____ percent (____ %) local sales and use tax within _____(name of local entity) for economic development projects not to exceed $ _____ (maximum amount of revenue to be generated) to be terminated on the first day of the calendar quarter following the expiration of ninety (90) days after ______ (name of local entity) certifies it has received $ _____ (maximum 30 amount of revenue to be generated).”

Summary

The summary of the measure read:[4]

To keep Arkansas competitive by promoting funding for economic development projects and to authorize the levy of local sales and use taxes to fund economic development projects.

Support

The following is information obtained from the supporting side of the measure:

  • State Senator Jake C. Files on supporting the bond question (SJR5): “SJR 5 provides Arkansas some economic development tools to be competitive when looking to attract non-industrial developments, mainly hotel, entertainment and retail. It’s main purpose is to establish redevelopment districts, which may be in any blighted or vacant areas with which to issue sales tax anticipated revenue bonds.”[7][8]
  • Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe was in favor of the measure. Beebe stated about the measure and its opponents: "The bonded indebtedness that we currently have on this will soon be, I guess, repaid, and this will kick in subsequently and be funded in the same fashion it was funded before, that apparently the majority of the people of Arkansas like. But (opposing it) is their prerogative."[9]
  • Lane Kidd, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association, argued: "By the time the late '90s arrived, everybody who drove realized that the interstate highways were in very poor condition. It was pretty well known by the late '90s that something needed to be done."[10]
Taxes on the ballot in 2011
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Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, there were no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated October 2011)

Opposition

The following is information obtained from the opposing side of the measure:

  • Jobs & Affordable Energy was the group that was against the measure. The group filed paperwork with the Arkansas Ethics Commission during the week of October 17, 2011. Randy Zook was the chairman of the committee. Linda Linn, vice-chairman of the group, stated: "I really feel we’re paying all the severance taxes we need to be paying. It’s not really the big gas companies that will end up paying (the additional tax), it’s going to be your neighbors...I’m just opposed to any more taxes.”[11]
  • Secure Arkansas filed papers with the Arkansas Ethics Commission to oppose the measure.[5]
  • Chairman of the Washington County Tea Party Jeff Oland stated that his group planned to air radio ads against the measure.[5]

Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, there were no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated October 2011)

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Arkansas Constitution

House of Representatives

On March 4, 2011, the proposal was filed with the Arkansas House of Representatives, where the chamber read it for the first time. It was then assigned to the Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee on March 14, 2011. After being sent to the full chamber, the measure was approved by the House with a vote of 88 to 5 on March 18, 2011. To see which state representatives voted for and against the proposal, click here.[12]

Senate

The Arkansas State Senate received the measure from the House on March 21, 2011, where it was read for the first time. After being read two more times, the bill was then passed by the chamber with a vote of 29-5 on March 28, 2011. The measure then was sent back to the Arkansas House of Representatives that same day, where the House transmitted it to the Arkansas Governor's office the next day. To see which state senators voted for and against the measure, click here.[12]

Timeline

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The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
Bill filed March 4, 2011 Bill filed with the House of Representatives
House vote March 18, 2011 The House voted 88 to 5 in favor of the measure
Bill filed March 21, 2011 Senate received the bill from the House
Senate vote March 28, 2011 The Senate voted 29 to 5 in favor of the measure

See also

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Additional reading

References