VOTE 2024 | Miller County District 8 Justice of the Peace

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

INCUMBENT MICHAEL RAYBURN

What are the key issues facing Miller County today?

One of the key issues we face is having to ship juveniles out of the County due to our JDC being closed. While I understand the reasons that it was done, I think the State needs to help countries like ours by trying to either build more localized State facilities, or work with counties to find a better solution that we can implement.

Another issue we continue to face is lower tax revenue being that we are a border city/county. With most of the larger businesses on the Texas side, we don't receive nearly the revenue that other counties our size across the state do, so we have to be ever more vigilant on what we spend money on. Our future generations depend on us being frugal with our resources.

Do you feel the state does enough to support rural counties like Miller?

The easy answer is to always say they can do more. I am not in the know as to their budget constraints though, or what their main focus is on for the rest of the state, so I can't really say if they have done enough or if they could do more. All we can do is communicate with our State Reps and let them know what needs we have and work with them where we can.

Attitudes on the Quorum Court have been combative at several meetings. Why is this? Do you feel these sorts of attitudes are conducive to good governance?

You are always going to have a difference of opinions and attitudes whenever you have a group of people working together. You will always have those that want to be good stewards of the tax dollars we oversee, just as you will always have those that don't understand how to budget money. One thing I have learned throughout the years is, just because you own a business or you hold title, doesn't mean you can budget money properly. In the end, we all have to work together and accept that we are each just one vote, and no individual member is any stronger or better than the rest.

How will you support businesses and development in Miller County?

The Quorum Court does a good job helping businesses and development where we can, and I believe we will continue to do so going forward. We are limited due to budget restraints on some things, but I think that where we can help, we do, and we will continue to.

ROBBIE HINES

What are the key issues facing Miller County today?

Let's face it, Miller County is not a private corporation. It doesn't produce or sell goods or services for revenue. It generates the largest portion of its operating capital from taxes imposed on the residents of Miller County. The only way to increase those funds is through tax increases. I for one am opposed to any increases now or the foreseeable future. The US and Miller County discretionary income is at one the lowest level in modern history and prices continue to increase daily. Savings have been depleted and credit card debt is at its highest level. When residents are having to choose basic food over other critical necessities like medicine, utilities, or housing, they cannot afford a tax increase. Yet, the county must function and provide services while paying its employees a fair and equitable wage. It's time for the quorum court to get busy and tighten the purse strings and really look for ways to reduce costs and expenses to prevent future increases. Make those tax dollars stretch.

Do you feel the state does enough to support rural counties like Miller?

The state of Arkansas does an adequate job for Miller County in the form of grants. But I think there could be more done for rural economic development by providing state funded incentives to businesses who build in or support the rural communities. New businesses with better paying jobs improves the lives of the residents while increasing the existing tax revenues thus allowing the county to provide more services. A win for everyone WITHOUT a tax increase.

Attitudes on the quorum court have been combative at several meetings. Why is this? Do you feel these sorts of attitudes are conducive to good governance?

I wouldn't characterize it as combative. I would say people are passionate about their issues. There isn't anything wrong with being passionate and standing up for what you feel is for the betterment of the community. After all, as an elected official, you are there to do a job and should host regular (monthly) meetings with the residents of his/her district to discuss the initiatives and ideas and get the public consensus. Miller County stands as a representative democracy. That means that we as elected officials are elected by citizens and we should represent the citizens' ideas and concerns in the local government rather than purely our own agendas.

How will you support businesses and development in Miller County? Why do you think so many new businesses are established on the Texas side?

Lower taxes and foot traffic; plain and simple. We need to work together with potential new entities and offer a "termed" tax incentive or other available options to encourage them to locate on this side of the line. Can you imagine what would happen if Wal-Mart constructed a Neighborhood Market on the east side of Texarkana? The jobs, the tax base, the other retail outlets in close proximity that would pop up would be a huge win for Miller County. This would involve working with the Arkansas Economic Council as well as the local Chamber of Commerce and local officials, but it can be done.

What is your opinion of how Miller County has used and plans to use federal pandemic recovery and infrastructure funds?

Spend what you can to ensure the county is prepared for the next pandemic. Its free Federal grant money.

DEAN LANGDON

No response.

photo Michael Rayburn, candidate for District 8 Justice of the Peace (Photo courtesy of Michael Rayburn campaign)
photo Robbie Hines, candidate for District 8 Justice of the Peace (Photo courtesy of Robbie Hines campaign)

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