“Tax” is such a bad word these days, unless it is followed by the word “cut.” But there are investments that are worth using the awesome power of taxation, and we think the United States Marshals Museum in Fort Smith is in that category.
The city Board of Directors is considering asking voters to approve a temporary 1 percent sales tax to pay a portion of the cost of completing a first-class museum. Sales taxes are regressive, no doubt, but a nine-month commitment seems like a reasonable burden for an investment that shows such promise of being a driver of tourist dollars and a source of civic pride in downtown Fort Smith.
This is an Opinion
Pulaski County, Little Rock and North Little Rock joined together to build what will soon be renamed Simmons Arena, and we haven’t heard any complaints about that investment in the past two decades. The nonprofit Marshals Museum is not publicly owned like the arena, but North Little Rock did something similar in order to build a home for the Arkansas Travelers. No complaints about that either.
There’s something else that makes us believe that the Marshals Museum is particularly worthwhile, here and now. Ignorance about government on all levels and of the law enforcement function that is so vital to a functional society seems to be epidemic. An educational experience about the work and the mission, past and present, of federal marshals is a noble cause.
“We have the unique opportunity in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to impact people’s knowledge about the Constitution and the rule of law,” Jim Dunn, the retired Fort Smith lawyer who’s now president of the U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation, told Arkansas Business last year.
We can imagine little that’s more important at this particular time.