OPINION | EDITORIAL: For the library

And for lowering the tax rate

It's that time in an election year: Endorsements from newspapers are coming in quick. Some of these endorsements are difficult decisions. Some of them are easy. Today's falls in the easy category.

Back in November, voters in Little Rock overwhelmingly approved a 0.5-mill increase to the local property tax rate that supports the Central Arkansas Library System's operational budget. (And when was the last time a tax increase passed overwhelmingly? The yes votes tallied nearly 5,000. The nays couldn't crack 2,000.)

Nate Coulter, the system's executive director, says the library is now following through on a pledge from that election, by asking voters to lower their mills on the capital budget from 1.8 to 1.3 mills while reissuing bonds.

Earlier this year, officials estimated that reissuing the bonds would extend payments on outstanding debt from what might be about six years to about eight.

"During the fall campaign we told voters that if they would increase their property taxes for operating the library we could come back in 2022 with another proposal to lower their taxes dedicated to capital improvements," Mr. Coulter said in January, when discussing this current election. "To honor that commitment, we want to ask the city to put the capital millage on the regular primary ballot in May." Which the city did.

This doesn't happen every day.

We sat down with Nate Coulter the other day to quiz him on some of this stuff. He doesn't seem to be taking things for granted, although this vote sounds like a winner for all concerned, including taxpayers. But his point, or one of his points, was this: "People might think, 'Lower the rate for the library? I don't want to do that!'" But he wants everyone to know that this is good for the library, too.

The last election the library asked for, the one in November, its wishes were approved by voters with 71 percent of the vote. And that was for a tax increase. We wonder: What will be the winning margin this time?

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