Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Read My Lips

Did you catch the meeting of the Washington County Quorum Court's County Services Committee meeting last night. They were discussing the demands on county government, and all expressed a desire to hold the line on taxes. Such talk is plentiful here two weeks before the filing deadline for office.

County officials have expressed the idea that the Quorum Court might be thinking about the possible expansion of the current over-crowded courthouse; a new pod at the Washington County Detention Center to hold women, cops busted for kiddie porn, and all those illegal roofers and waiters that Sheriff Tim Helder is chasing; and the replacement of four unsafe bridges that present a real threat to the lives of our citizens. All of these project would cost big money, but our JPs expressed little enthusiasm for raising taxes to pay for them.

To a man, Democrats Norton and Kieklak and Republicans Pond, Daniels, and Patterson, all said "no new taxes." Justice of the Peace Joe Patterson, who chairs the Public Works Committee, said, "I’m not in favor of doing anything we don’t have the money for." He agreed with JP Ken Kieklak, who said, "I don’t think there’s even the need to go to the voters," because putting an issue to the voters would indicate that the Quorum Court thinks there is a need, and "I don’t think the need exists yet."

Fine words and brave. I wonder if they'll say the same thing about the corporate welfare plan hatched by the Northwest Arkansas Council of Corporations and Wealthy Business Executives to build those multi-million dollar bypass projects in Bella Vista and Bethel Heights. They'll vote on that scheme after filing deadline. Will they decide we need those deals more than adequate local bridges? Will they be willing to please the PTB by pushing a big tax hike on the people?

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