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Arkansas Lawmakers: Milking It

Updated: Apr 15

More good news coming out of your state capitol as the Arkansas House of Representatives voted today to raise taxes on milk. The upshot: If this thing goes through, you can expect to pay an extra 2.5 cents, roughly, per gallon of milk at the store.

Here’s the vote count, which will also make you weep. Kudos to Reps. Dan Greenberg, Duncan Baird, Jon Woods, Allen Kerr, Frank Glidewell, Ed Garner and Lindsley Smith for their ‘no’ votes. (Smith is the lone Democrat casting a ‘no’ vote, though three others are listed as not voting. Rep. Davy Carter voted ‘present.’)

The punchline? The new tax is for the benefit of fewer than 140 dairy farms in Arkansas, according to a report from the Arkansas News Bureau’s Rob Moritz. But don’t worry, because this will eventually save you money, according to some self-interested state appointee scam artist who expects everyone to forget about this and never check up on what he says the chairman of the Arkansas Milk Stabilization Board:

Lonoke County dairy farmer Woody Bryant, who is chairman of the Milk Stabilization Board, which developed the incentive package, said eventually the initiative would save consumers money because milk production in the state would rise and prices would fall.

Of course, if milk prices were to fall, it would almost certainly have nothing to do with in-state milk production and everything to do with advances in transportation, refrigeration technology and supply-chain management that would improve the flow of the product into Arkansas from other states.

And should Gov. Mike Beebe sign this abomination into law, do remember this in a few weeks when he cuts a penny off the grocery tax and then goes around patting himself on the back like the preening ninny he is.

UPDATE: In a somewhat related story, I see that Roby Brock’s Political Buzz blog is pondering the question, “When Will the Session End?”, and I can’t read that headline without hearing a plaintive note in it.

UPDATE: Yes, I recognize that the fee hike represents a relatively tiny sum per person — for me and APG it’ll probably come out to a couple of extra bucks per year — but it’s one of those “irksome on principle” deals.

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