Arkansas Prepares to Battle for the Repeal of Taxes on Food and Medicine

WASHINGTON – On November 5th, Arkansas voters will be asked to vote on Constitutional Amendment #3, a measure asking voter approval to abolish and prohibit the taxation on medicine and food. Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) applauds the "Axe the Tax" coalition for their efforts in getting this amendment on the ballot – not only is it important for the suppression of government spending, but it provides financial relief for the people of Arkansas who really need it.

Tax and spenders are challenging the measure in the Arkansas Supreme Court, arguments will be heard on Thursday, October 8, 2002. This judicial challenge violates 1999 legislation passed by the State Legislature that requires contested ballot initiatives be submitted for legislative review prior to submitting a challenge to the courts – this legislation was designed to avoid the excessive court challenges of Arkansas\’ past.

"This is an obvious effort to override the legislative process and rewrite laws using the courts," says Grover Norquist, President of ATR, "the opponents of this tax relief are blatantly ignoring the rules of the initiative process simply because they know they are losing their battle against tax relief."

Arkansas is only one of ten states that still taxes food and medicine so it is no surprise it has the highest percentage of its population living in poverty (17.8%) and the lowest median income in the country ($16,757). Arkansans currently pay 43% of their income to federal, state, and local taxes, the repeal of the tax on medicine and food will reduce the tax burden on families as much as 1.3% annually. "The people of Arkansas deserve tax relief on the necessities of life," continued Norquist, "seize the opportunity to provide relief to those who really need it."