On unsolicited pleas
After reading Mike Masterson's column on unsolicited pleas, I decided to write the editor concerning similar things.
On a regular day I receive from three to 41 pleas for help; I will receive an average of 11 each day. They range from political, religious, insurance companies, and various helpful organizations. I have been sent gift tags, money ($2 bills, half dollars, dimes and pennies), T-shirts, flags, notecards, grocery bags, etc. Solicitations from over 25 different states, both Republican and Democrat, police and sheriffs' offices of several states, and at least six different groups wanting $13-$15 to save Social Security.
My wife and I give to many organizations on a monthly basis, and it seems that our name and address are shared too often. We have gotten multiple requests from the same organization in one month. I even reached out to the Arkansas attorney general for help.
One month I received 267 pieces of mail in addition to my regular bills for electricity, natural gas, water and other monthly obligations. It would be nice if one could stop or not receive these things; our phone lists spam, unsolicited, and out-of-area calls and states the calls come from.
JOHN M. CLARK
Punishing EV drivers
Passage of the increased gasoline tax and extra fee for hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) two years ago generated letters to the editor arguing that the fees are unreasonably high. I agreed with their sentiments, but I did not write. However, the recent action of the Legislature reducing the fees for hybrids, but not for EVs, prompted this letter.
I understand the argument that EVs by definition pay less excise tax into the DOT coffers, and I would have little problem with that argument if the size of the fee was commensurate with the actual loss of revenue, or if some large percentage of the fee was clearly dedicated to increasing the availability of charging stations. Neither is the case.
Let me illustrate the extent of the unfairness. I purchased a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, which I have been driving in Arkansas for 39 months. The $200 per year additional fee breaks down to $16.67 per month, so my fees would amount to $650. During that time period, I drove 22,184 miles. To pay that much in excise tax, at a rate of $0.245 per gallon, I would have to have used 2,653 gallons of gas. I could do that only by driving a vehicle that got only 8.36 mpg. Even the H3 Hummer gets 14 mpg.
Alternatively, if I drove an average car, which gets about 27 mpg, I would have used 821.6 gallons, generating only $221.30 in fuel taxes. I and other EV drivers who are trying not to pollute our "Natural State" are paying more than three times what gasoline cars pay. We are being punished for being environmentally conscious, and are in fact subsidizing gasoline cars.
From that information, I can only conclude that our legislators either decided on the $200 fee without any real knowledge of how much tax revenue is lost by driving an EV, or they wanted to punish EV drivers. And then to add insult to injury, this session they reduced the fees only for non-plug-in hybrids.
Capitol under siege
Thanks to Donald Trump, our Capitol was under siege. No, I don't miss Trump.
How stupid are the governors of Texas and Mississippi for opening things up and doing away with masks? Stupid, stupid, stupid ...
The majority Republican legislative membership in Arkansas can make up all sorts of "fake news" stories, falsely claim "voter fraud," or fantasize about "stolen elections" for as long as they desire. No matter how much lipstick they put on their legislation "pigs" to "make voting more secure," I believe the voters of Arkansas are smart enough to see through their lies.
Why don't they just stand up and call it what it is: voter suppression! All of the efforts underway in Arkansas and nationally to "safeguard" our election systems are clearly fraudulent acts to deprive voters of the most precious and meaningful right we have--the right to vote. If that isn't corrupt enough, it is even more obvious and outrageous that most of their efforts are aimed at groups of voters--mostly those of color--they don't want to vote at all.
Sure, let's make it as difficult and as discriminatory as possible for Arkansans to vote. According to the website FairVote, Arkansas ranked 50th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia for voter turnout in the 2020 general election. Now that is something we should all be proud of, right?
It is clear that Republican legislative leadership apparently wants some of us to do even less voting.
Once upon a time, political campaigns competed for citizens' votes by finding compelling issues or causes that appealed to a majority of people who voted. Now, the most prominent strategy Republicans use appears to be finding as many ways as possible to keep people from voting--especially "those people" they don't want voting--period. Is this what our democracy has come to?
People behind curtain
Who are the real people making policy for this country behind Biden's fake leadership? It is obvious to me he is incapable of a sustained thought, and the public should know who is making policy decisions. Maybe they should do the press conferences and answer questions from the media and Congress instead of Biden trying to read what is written for him.
This country deserves better.