Leaders of the Arkansas Progressive Group announced Thursday (May 27) they will withdraw their AR OneTax ballot initiative following an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling that the group could not challenge its own initiative in court. The tax proposal sought to vastly restructure Arkansas’ tax code so that state tax revenue would largely be dependent on a higher sales tax.
The sponsor of an Arkansas ballot proposal cannot file a friendly challenge to his or her own measure, the state Supreme Court ruled today in a case involving a Fort Smith group’s proposal for a statewide flat tax. The court dismissed a challenge by the Arkansas Progressive Group to the group’s proposed constitutional amendment to repeal all existing state taxes and replace them with a flat-rate sales tax.
Members of Secure Arkansas set up shop at various polling sites Tuesday, asking voters to sign a ballot initiative that would limit benefits to illegal immigrants. The petition received a mixed reaction. Some supported the group’s ideas. “If you’re not working and paying taxes legally in this country, I’m not sure you should reap the rewards of tax-based programs to help those in need,” said voter Alisa Williams.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel deals a blow to a group of local health care reform protesters. McDaniel rejected a proposed ballot initiative Tuesday that sought to prohibit the new federal health care law. McDaniel rejected a similar initiative from the same group, Secure Arkansas, in February.
The push to get the wet-dry issue on Boone County’s ballot was on in Harrison. Petitioners worked throughout the weekend to gather additional signatures. “I think people should be able to vote. That’s what we are all about is voting, right,” said one person signing a petition. The Buhr family quickly signed, saying Harrison’s economy would flourish if tax dollars weren’t being spent elsewhere.
As legislation to overhaul the nation’s health care system works its way through Congress, efforts are under way in Arkansas and elsewhere to thwart federal action at the state level. Two Republican state lawmakers are floating proposed legislation to protect “freedom of choice in health care,” while a conservative grassroots group hopes to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to block the federal health care overhaul in Arkansas. If passed, the measures are sure to be challenged in court, observers say.
Another initiative petition has been approved to be passed around in Missouri, as supporters seek to get their issue on the ballot. This one deals with early voting in Missouri. Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced Monday the petitions meet state standards to be circulated. The issue seeks to make it easier for people to vote before the official election day.
The state attorney general today rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana for medical use. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel cited numerous problems with the proposal submitted by Little Rock attorney John Wesley Hall, Jr., including that federal law would supersede a state drug amendment. “I note as an initial matter that this description fails to acknowledge that your proposed measure cannot completely legalize marijuana in Arkansas for medical purposes because the drug remains illegal under federal law,” the opinion said.
The state attorney general Tuesday rejected a proposed ballot initiative that would raise the excise tax on all alcoholic beverages sold in Arkansas. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel cited ambiguities in the proposed initiated act that would use proceeds from the tax hike to pay for drug treatment, prevention and interdiction programs. Driving chapter in Arkansas, would levy a 10-cent tax on every standard drink of alcohol sold in the state. It also would create the Arkansas Substance Abuse Programs Fund.