• Jon B. Comstock

Monday Matters - October 19 | Issues 1, 2 and 3 are deceptive. I am voting NO!


The Arkansas Legislature and special interests don’t want your informed ballot box decision.

Action Plan: Don’t take my word for it. Review a highly respected and researched report compiled by the University of Arkansas’ Division of Agriculture, Research & Extension, https://www.uaex.edu/business-communities/voter-education/state-ballot-issues.aspx

There are at least two fundamental ways in which the common man or woman gets to express themselves to the power of our state government and the special interests who wield incredible influence in the halls of our State Capitol: (1) representing the community when you cast your vote regarding a Legislative-initiated or Citizen-initiated “Issues”, and (2) exercising your civic responsibility to insist on good stewardship among our elected representatives by casting your informed vote at the BALLOT box on election day. Both are under attack on November 3, 2020 through what is called “Legislative-Initiated ISSUES 1, 2 and 3” on the ballot today.

These two actions by ordinary citizens (voting on ballot-issues and voting to elect representatives) are the safeguards against excessive governmental intrusion into our lives, while assuring that our core values are protected day-in and day-out.

Your INFORMED ballot box vote is the most feared and resisted actions on the part of many who find themselves believing that the common person cannot be trusted to make the “sought-after” decision and that being an incumbent “entitles” them to “have their way with you” and to retain their seat of power in Little Rock.

There's something happening here What it is ain't exactly clear.

(Buffalo Springfield, lyric excerpt)

What is happening to our Arkansas Senate and House of Representatives? What is it about power that often leads one wielding it to crush transparency in governing? Remember, this is essentially the same group of people who gave us the scandal of General Improvement Funds (GIF) which resulted in federal prison for several members of the Legislature.

Issue No. 1 - Here are the objective facts:

1. While misstating they will not impose a “new” tax on you, the Legislature wants you to approve what they call “continuing” a .5% sales tax that would otherwise expire in 2023 but for Issue 1.

2. Know that even if you read every word on your Ballot, nowhere will you learn that the tax never has a sundown. You are being asked to approve a permanent tax. Never ending.

3. If a road tax needs to be approved, then individual legislators should vote for it in the next Legislative session, not hide behind a deceptively worded Ballot Issue which changes our

Constitution forever. Vote NO on Issue 1.

Issue No. 2 – Here are objective facts:

1. The Citizens of Arkansas have repeatedly shown they prefer genuine and effective mandated term limits. Currently there is a lifetime limit of 16 years.

2. In the last Legislative session, many in the Legislature were concerned that they would be facing another citizen-initiated effort to further reduce terms of service. In order to provide citizens a “choice”, they made a calculated decision (which turned out to be wrong since no citizen effort materialized) to put forward their own “reform”. But it is not reform. It was a bait-and-switch maneuver. Rather than being faced with a 16 year lifetime limit, a Legislator would be able to hold office for 12 years (then take a break for 4 years), then serve another 12 years (take another break), serve another 12 years, until one’s life expectancy intervenes. The lifetime limit is being destroyed.

3. Reading the Ballot language itself, you will be hard-pressed to discern the above outcome. Bottom line, Issue No. 2 is a ruse. It’s intentionally deceptive. Vote NO.

Issue No. 3 – Here are objective facts:

1. Citizens already have to “jump through many hoops” to successfully get a ballot issue before the people. For one, their “Ballot Titles” have to be truthful, transparent and genuinely informative. (The Legislature is NOT held to this standard by our Supreme Court.)

2. Already, this election cycle the Supreme Court has kicked off the Ballot every effort by citizens to improve our form of government.

3. Issue 3 is especially pernicious and objectionable, as it seeks to stand up even more bureaucratic obstacles to citizen-action; so many, that you and I are likely not ever to see a successful citizen-initiated effort to make law or change our Constitution if this deception succeeds. [Which by the way, means that if Issue 1 passes, you likely will never be able to “undo” the permanent increase in your sales tax.]

The culture of our State Government in Little Rock remains broken. The same Legislature that has given us the GIF scheme of kickbacks and bribes, now seeks in a very surreptitious way to mislead us, ordinary citizens, to impose a permanent tax on ourselves and to guillotine any effort on our part in the future to “fix” the problem with a citizen-initiated act. Layer onto that, the gall to seek to expand term limits, NOT reduce them.

I hope you take the time to understand the pernicious nature of the effort at hand and reject it by voting NO on Issues 1, 2 AND 3.

P.S. My opponent publicly opposes only Issue 1.


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© Jon Comstock  for Arkansas 2020

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