ASU Student Group to Protest Tax Repeal

September 17, 2002
Posted at: 5:30 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark. -- Students from Arkansas State University's Student Government Association will be travelling to the state capital to speak out against the proposed repeal of the state's sales tax on groceries.

The issue to repeal the tax has been certified to appear on the November 5 ballot, after receiving enough signatures from Arkansas voters. The proposal, however, has been challenged by another group, alleging that the initiative is confusing.

The Arkansas Supreme Court said Tuesday that it would speed up the time table as it considers whether to keep it on the on the November ballot. In a brief order, the court said it would hear arguments on October 10.

According to various budget analysts state and local governments in Arkansas could see revenues drop by more than $300

million if the proposal passes and no mechanism to restore funding is enacted.

Various social groups say the food tax is unfair to poorer Arkansans who must spend a larger percentage of their earnings on groceries.

Sach Oliver and about twenty other ASU students are prepared for their first ever news conference. According to them, the repeal of the grocery tax will directly affect them.

"I got some numbers here from the DFA and it states that (ASU) could potentially lose $3.5 million from our budget," Oliver said.

A portion of every dollar from the grocery tax is slated to go to higher education. In Little Rock, student government associations across the state will discuss the issue and later address the media. Student government groups from several colleges including the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Central Arkansas are planning to attend.

"It's going to give the students of the state of Arkansas a chance to voice their opinions and let them know that their voice counts and that their voice in important in our state," said Carl Lewis, SGA Vice President.

While the average student on campus didn't know much about the tax, they are concerned about its repercussions. They're worried that if voters decide to eliminate this tax on groceries, ASU will lose millions and the school will then turn to yet another tuition hike to make up the difference.

"All I know about it is that it could raise our tuition and that wouldn't be good," freshman Josh Mosely said.

Those in favor of doing away with the tax contend that it will save hundreds of dollars on groceries and medicine. Despite that, the SGA says that, in the long run, the reduction is not as important as a good education.

Internet Reporter: Erin Coleman
Internet Producer: Ryan James