Kristin Higgins

Host, Strengthening Our Communities

Kristin Higgins loves to talk about policy and the issues you might find on an Arkansas ballot. Higgins joined the Public Policy Center at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture in 2012 after a decade working as a newspaper reporter covering city hall, county government and crime in Arkansas. That journalism background still influences Higgins philosophy on writing for the public. She likes to translate difficult policy into easier and more understandable terms for the general public. In her time at the Cooperative Extension Service, Higgins has helped transform one of the few Extension ballot issue education programs in the country to reach more people. The Public Policy Center provides Arkansans with neutral information about proposed constitutional amendments and state laws to help them make informed decisions on Election Day. Higgins has a Masters in Agricultural Education and Extension from the University of Arkansas and is president of Arkansas Press Women, a 70-year-old organization supporting professional communicators. Reach out to Kristin at khiggins@uaex.edu or call 501-671-2160.

Ways to Connect

Did you know April 15 was not always the federal income tax filing deadline?

For many years after the Sixteenth Amendment established a national income tax in 1913, Americans filed their taxes in March. A tax policy overhaul in 1954 pushed us forward a month to April 15. There have been minor allowances and extensions based on natural disasters or whether April 15 fell on the holidays or weekends.

If you have ever watched a City Council or legislative committee in action, you’ve likely heard them use Parliamentary Procedure when moving from one item to the next on their agenda.

Good parliamentary procedure ensures justice to everyone, prescribes order, reflects kindness and generosity, provides constructive use of limited time and gives one a sense of self- confidence.

This can be true whether you are an elected official, a 4-H Club member or an alumni group planning a high school reunion.

In 2018, Arkansas’ three biggest cities collected a combined $18.7 million in taxes on food orders and hotel stays.

This tax is often called the “hamburger” tax because of its relationship with eating out. In many cities, the tax is also applied to hotel stays.

The Advertising and Promotion Commission Tax, as it is officially known, is levied in addition to what people pay in regular city, county and state sales taxes. But this tax money doesn’t go to fund police, fire and other regular city expenses.

Arkansas is 1 of 15 states where citizens have the right to propose new state laws and constitutional amendments for voters to decide statewide.

Article 5 of the 1874 Arkansas Constitution grants this power to the people, but it wasn’t until the progressive teen years of the 1900s that citizens used their authority to propose a handful of amendments involving the legislative session and bond issues.

In the years since then, citizens have used the initiative process to enact laws such as: