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NWA LETTERS

State siphons gas tax for other areas

Gov. Asa Hutchinson [last year] unveiled a $750 million transportation package. He emphasized the plan would not increase taxes. His spokesman J.R. Davis said there would be no additional burden on taxpayers by any means.

The sad thing is the politicians pass a tax and when it works and starts to build up a surplus, they say, “Oh look, we can put this in the general fund and spend it here and there.” Sad to say if this tax were to be used for our state infrastructure and on a national infrastructure, we would have the best roads, bridges and rail systems in the world. Once the money goes into the general fund it never gets used for the purpose it was meant for. The politicians broke it.

Now they want to pass a new gas tax of 6.5 percent per gallon. People, this is not cents per gallon, but a 6.5 percentage per gallon. So every time the gas prices go up, the taxes paid go up, too. We will have to pay a heck of a lot more for our gas tax if this bill goes through. Do they think we don’t understand the difference between cents and percentage?

I do think we could add 2 cents-a-gallon state tax to be used to maintain and build our roads. But remember, cents, not percentage. This is like a day and night difference cost to us taxpayers.

We need to be careful how they are going to word and combine House Bill 1726 and House Bill 1727 together. Bill 1726 is to sell bonds and Bill 1727 is to raise the gas tax to a 6.5 percentage.

We the people need to say vote no to House Bill 1727. Let your representatives know how you feel and not vote for and pass this House Bill 1727. Also tell them to use all monies from the gas tax for the purpose it was meant to be used.

If we don’t speak up they will do as they please, so let them know: no percentage to the gas tax. Let’s not let them break us again.

BILL DIETMAN

Bella Vista

Bird lovers should press for climate policies

I loved the community spirit described in Flip Putthoff’s March 7 “New look for wildlife trail.” Ironies were also striking.

Putthoff’s subject, the Eagle Watch Nature Trail west of Gentry, runs to Swepco Lake, north of Swepco’s coal-fueled power plant. According to the article, the power company created the trail in 1999 as a goodwill project. Employees and volunteers help upkeep the land.

That’s good corporate stewardship.

But burning fossil fuels, such as coal, drives climate change. And climate change threatens birds.

According to the National Audubon Society’s 2014 Comprehensive Birds and Climate Change Report, 314 of the 588 extant North American bird species will likely lose 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080. The bald eagle, the iconic common loon, and the charming eastern whip-poor-will populate this list.

Arkansas bird lovers should be concerned and pro-active, including speaking up for effective climate policies.

Audubon’s president and CEO, David Yarnold, recently applauded the conservative Climate Leadership Council for its “courage and conviction” in presenting a case for carbon dividends.

The council’s proposal, crafted by traditional Republicans James A. Baker, George P. Shultz, Greg Mankiw and Arkansan Rob Walton among others, outlines a market-based climate strategy.

This year’s early spring is certainly enticing Northwest Arkansas bird lovers to enjoy habitat such as Eagle Watch Nature Trail. It should also be prompting calls to Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman and Congressman Steve Womack, communicating personal stories and passion for bird species’ survival and demanding effective climate change policy.

JAN SCHAPER

Eureka Springs

letters@nwadg.com

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