Leader Blues

Monday, July 31, 2006

EDITORIAL>>Special election is ill-advised

Pulaski County, which is too broke to afford to house hardly any new prisoners, is about to get $100,000 deeper in debt and be out of jail options because of the quorum court’s ill-advised decision to hold a special election. The election, set for Sept. 12, will ask voters to raise the county’s sales tax by a quarter cent to build and maintain additional jail space. County Judge Buddy Villines pushed for the special election less than two months before the general election because he didn’t want the jail issue to be lost among the candidate issues of the general election.

The more lost the issue gets the better chance it has of passing—no one wants to raise taxes. And when you ask county residents to give up a nice September day to cast a vote for higher taxes, it just isn’t going to happen we wish it would, the county needs more jail space. But the only people who will come out by the droves on Sept. 12 will be the naysayers. The silent majority, which the county needs to vote, will stay at work, be with families, anything but out voting — and once this bid is voted down, what does the county do?

If they would have put the issue on November’s general ballot, it would have a good chance of passing. First off, because of the sheer number of voters that will turn out because we will be electing, for the first time in years, a new governor, a new lieutenant governor and a new attorney general. The silent majority will be out and while in the voting booth, they will see the tax issue, cuss slightly under their breath, as we all do when taxes must be raised, and then pull the “yes” lever. But the county won’t get to see this happen, because its JPs voted to spend money they don’t have to get money they won’t get to open up jail space that won’t be open.

The county’s “stinkin’ thinkin’” got us in this jail mess, and it looks like it’ll keep us in it and the criminals out.