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story.lead_photo.caption State Rep. Mickey Gates, R-District 22, arrives at the Garland County Courthouse Monday morning for his felony tax trial. The jury trial was averted after the three-term lawmaker pleaded no contest to failing to pay or file an income tax return for the 2012 tax year. Charges of failing to pay or file a tax return for the 2013 through 2017 tax years were withdrawn as part of his plea agreement.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday called on a state representative from his own party to resign or be removed from office after the lawmaker pleaded no contest earlier in the week to failing to pay state income taxes.

Despite mounting calls for his resignation, including from the governor and House Speaker, state Rep. Mickey Gates, R- Hot Springs, said he has no plans to step down.

"It is unacceptable for a public official, particularly a state legislator, to continue to hold office after being found guilty of a criminal violation of our tax laws," the governor said in an emailed statement. "He should resign or be removed from office."

During a brief phone conversation in which he was asked about the governor's comments, Gates lashed out at Hutchinson. He said the governor "needs to go read the record," which Gates noted did not include a finding of guilt.

On Monday, Gates pleaded no contest in Garland County Circuit Court for failing to pay his taxes in 2012. Gates was sentenced to probation under a first-time offender law that allows a defendant to be discharged without a final adjudication of guilt if they complete all the terms of the sentence.

The terms of Gates' sentence include paying $74,789 in back taxes, interest and penalties for years of missed taxes, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.

Gates was re-elected last November, after the news of his arrest on tax charges became public. Gates said Friday that he will continue to serve until his constituents no longer want him to.

David Showers contributed to this report.

This story was originally published at 1:30 p.m. Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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Archived Comments

  • GOHOGS19
    August 2, 2019 at 1:48 p.m.

    Gates is right he was not found guilty of anything. Looks like Asa misspoke on this one.

  • RBear
    August 2, 2019 at 1:48 p.m.

    Thank you, Gov. Hutchinson. Gates should resign immediately.

  • einnorray
    August 2, 2019 at 2:28 p.m.

    He should be removed. The following quotes on his case are from the Arkansas times on 1/5/2019.
    1. "Gates was only charged with failure to file in six years, on account of the statute of limitations, but the special prosecutor has said he failed to file for 15 years, 2003-17".
    2. "Remember when Gates introduced legislation to cut from 10 to 7 years the time the state could go after tax deadbeats?"
    Whether he pled Guilty or no contest, is irrelevant, since no contest is implied guilt or conviction, so,the honorable thing to do is resign or be impeached.

  • Packman
    August 2, 2019 at 2:29 p.m.

    Why didn't the guy pay his taxes? Without any kind of logical answer, the guy must go. Immediately.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    August 2, 2019 at 4:27 p.m.

    He should be hanged.
    these domestic enemies, these traitors, these embezzlers ARE EVERYWHERE.
    government treats minors riding their bike like shh.
    "thatS not your bike maybe!" *facestomp face stomp facestomp*
    "you politician broke the law, have a paid vacation"

  • Skeptic1
    August 2, 2019 at 6:56 p.m.

    His constituents saw the political hatchet job for what it was and reelected him. His biggest sin was being critical of ASA, and anyone in the State House knows that will not go unpunished.

    August 2, 2019 at 7:24 p.m.

    No - - his biggest sin was expecting me to carry his tax burden. He had no problem spending my money - but didn't bother to contribute. He should go.

  • rickradio
    August 2, 2019 at 9:25 p.m.

    It doesn't matter if he is a Democrat, Republican or Independent, he should do the right thing and resign. A lawmaker who passes state budgets and acts on tax bills should pay his taxes. "No contest" isn't an admission of guilt technically, but he didn't pay them. I'm no fan of Asa Hutchinson, but he's right on this one.

  • limb
    August 2, 2019 at 11:26 p.m.

    This reminds me of someone.....