JIM HOLT FOR U.S. SENATE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
CONTACT: Dwayne Andregg (479) 790-7743
Baker Signed No Tax Pledge in 2000 – But Voted for At Least $3 billion in Spending. Who is the True Conservative, Holt or Baker?
Senator Gilbert Baker voted for a minimum of $3 billion in spending in two legislative sessions in the State Senate and voted for the Arkansas sales tax increase – now he is using deceptive language to tout his accomplishments as a “fiscal conservative” and make it appear as if he never voted for any taxes.1
Baker included the following information in his latest flyer.
“FISCAL CONSERVATIVE – As Co-Chairman of Arkansas’s Joint Budget Committee, Baker worked to balance Arkansas’ budget without deficit spending or tax increases. Baker supports a FEDERAL BALANCED BUDGET, opposes pork-barrel spending, and has pledged to vote against all tax increases.” (underlining added)
“Of course, Arkansas, unlike the nation and some other states, is required by law to have a balanced budget and no deficit spending — every legislator knows that. But Baker is making it appear that he balanced the budget without deficits.” Holt said.
“Baker now says that he pledges to vote against all tax increases, but he doesn’t say that he made a NO TAX Pledge when he went to the Arkansas Senate in 2000 as well — and then voted for more than $3 billion in spending within two legislative sessions in 2003 through 2005,” Holt continued.2
In a recent debate Jim Holt confronted Baker with his No Tax Pledge in 2000 and on the $3 billion for which he voted in the Senate. Baker did not deny the No Tax Pledge in 2001 or the $3 billion in spending — he only implied he had kept the No Tax Pledge for the first two years in office.
Baker was also in office during the same ten years that Americans for Prosperity’s press released pointed out that Arkansas has the 5th fastest growing government in the nation from 2000 to 2010.
“Since February 2000, Arkansas state government has added 14,300 jobs. That adds up to an additional cost to tax payers of approximately $685 million per year,” this national organization reported.
“I am not aware of any significant votes that Baker made to prevent the growth of government and spending,” Holt said, “but am aware of many votes he made that did expand government and increase spending.”
“Baker’s vote for consolidation is another area,” Jim Holt said, “that Baker has voted for bigger government and spending.” Baker voted for every consolidation bill that came through the senate, even for isolated districts.
Consolidation was sold as a way to cut educational expenses by cutting the number of superintendents and eliminating teachers who had extremely small classes in the smaller schools. But now we learn from Tim Leathers, State Revenue commissioner, “There has been an increase in public school employees, who do not show up in the total number of people employed by the state. Thanks in part to the state spending heavily on public schools, payrolls – teachers, district staff and co-op employees – increased from 58,227 jobs in 2000 to 70,051 in 2009, up about 20 percent.”3
In reality then, Baker helped cut out about 60 superintendents or so but added almost 12,000 other new education employees in the public schools when Baker voted for consolidation, increasing spending and government control.
Baker also voted for the Omnibus that implemented No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in Arkansas that took over the curriculum and the local control in Arkansas schools. The Omnibus bill also set forth standards that could easily close or consolidate more schools if schools did not meet the government standards. As noted in the increases of educational employees, it takes a massive bureaucracy to control and oversee our schools.
“Besides the spending aspect, taking control away from the local community and putting children on the bus for three hours or more a day is just not reasonable, right or even moral.” Holt said.
So who is the fiscal conservative, Senator Gilbert Baker or Jim Holt? Jim Holt voted against every tax and spending increase when he was in the Arkansas legislature from 2000 to 2006 except a minor beer tax – and voted against every bill that expanded government.
- (The committee recommended $2.5 billion minimum and $4.5 billion for Act 90 (the facilities bill Baker voted for) for the facilities bill Baker voted for alone; on, $107 million for Department of education employees and $400 million a year for education with the sales tax increase. [$400 million a year since 2003 is $2.8 billion taxpayers have paid in taxes since Baker’s vote on that one bill with no significant improvement in ACT Tests, remediation rates, nationally normed tests NAEP test – known as the national report card, but with a large decrease in graduation rates. )
- See # 1 above
- Democrat Gazette Article – Activist group blasts growth in state’s hires, April 11, 2010