LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin has paid $2,100 to Benton County for improperly receiving tax credits on two homes over the past three years, and indicated he planned to make more payments for claiming both houses as his primary residence.
Benton County officials said Martin repaid $1,050 in homestead credits he received during the 2011-2013 tax years for his Rogers home, and another $1,050 in penalties. Online tax records show that he received the tax credit for that home and another in Washington County since at least 2008. State law allows the credit on only one home.
The Blue Hog Report, a Democrat-leaning blog, on Friday had first reported on the credits. Martin, a Republican seeking re-election, said he made the payments Monday morning.
"We made an extraordinary effort to make this happen even though the assessor was not prepared to deal with these issues this quickly. We are now currently in full compliance with the tax requirements," Martin said in an email.
Martin also indicated that he would repay more money, though he did not respond to follow-up questions about how much he would pay or the timeline for the repayments. The statute of limitations has expired on any credits Martin claimed beyond three years ago, but he could voluntarily repay the credits and penalties.
"My wife and I believe that as Christians, while not legally required, we should make arrangements to pay anything that we owe so that we might be above reproach," Martin said. "Those arrangements will be made as the assessor's schedule permits."
Martin repaid the money as he faced growing criticism from Democrats over the credits. State Democratic Party Chairman Vince Insalaco earlier Monday said Martin should "take responsibility for cheating on his taxes, pay back the state, and apologize to Arkansas taxpayers."
Susan Inman, the Democratic nominee seeking to unseat Martin, also criticized him over the credits and called on him to apologize and pay back the credits.
Martin is the second GOP candidate to face criticism over receiving the credit for two homes. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported in July that Republican gubernatorial nominee Asa Hutchinson in 2012 repaid $1,050 in to Pulaski County for three of the four years he claimed the credit there and in Benton County. After the newspaper reported on the credits and Democrats called on him to pay for all the years he received the credit, Hutchinson paid another $1,750 for penalties and for the credit he claimed in 2008, despite the statute of limitations expiring.
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