Saturday, February 16, 2013

Highway Department has hand out for more money

Posted By on Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 6:00 AM

NOW THEY WANT MORE: Highway interests, which got $1.8 million in campaign for which Gov. Beebe appeared on TV, now has its hand out for more state money.
  • NOW THEY WANT MORE: Highway interests, which got $1.8 million in campaign for which Gov. Beebe appeared on TV, now has its hand out for more state money.

HAND OUT: Republican Rep. Jonathan Barnett is pushing behind the scenes for still more general revenue for highway construction.
  • HAND OUT: Republican Rep. Jonathan Barnett is pushing behind the scenes for still more general revenue for highway construction.
Legislative skulduggery is afoot that should enrage the Tea Party if a number of 'baggers (aka Republicans) weren't in on the scam.

You may remember that it was only November when voters approved a half-cent increase in the state sales tax to finance a $1.8 billion highway construction program. You'll recall, too, that a companion idea to raise the diesel tax to get a tiny portion back from truckers on the damage they cause to roads wasn't allowed to go forward.

The highway construction companies and Highway Department aren't satisfied. They want still more general revenue.

Draft legislation, with the support of many Republican legislators, is circulating to divert additional state general revenues from other uses to road construction. The bill would tap the sales tax on new and used cars and other transactions related to vehicles, such as battery sales and the like. As explained to me, the money would begin flowing when the sales and use tax hits $2.2 billion (it was at $2.128 billion in the year ended last June 30) and the highway department tapping of the revenue would be phased in, rather than all at once.

It's still a historic direct raid on general revenues i(as opposed to a voter-approved direct highway surcharge on the necessities of life) in a state that is not exactly robust.

And here's the real outrage and hypocrisy:

The Stepford Republican Caucus is close to the votes necessary to passing Rep. Bruce Westerman's government-strangling bill to impose an arbitrary cap on state spending growth. It would be capped at 3 percent or a three-year rolling average of revenue increases (less than 3 percent in recent times). It's bad business any way you slice it. Calamities couldn't be met. The legislature would cede appropriation authority to the executive official who has to make appropriated budgets balance. The occasional good year wouldn't allow for use of surplus on deferred maintenance and construction.

But never mind all that.

The Teabagging Republicans propose to sharply limit the growth of state spending AT THE SAME TIME THEY PROPOSE TO TAKE MILLIONS OUT OF GENERAL REVENUE FOR HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION?

Is there really no way to stop the madness? Gov. Mike Beebe's formidable political skills have been all but useless against the Stepford Caucus. You'd think he could at least figure out a way to tell the Republicans, led by Jonathan Barnett, pushing this Republican raid on revenues for highway project that their pilferage will get no support as long as the Republican caucus is attempting to strangle the rest of state government. It's arithmetic. Less is less.

Concrete is worth more than people to this gang. I could rant more about a Republican caucus that won't pay for GED tests so working strivers can get high school diplomas but which wants to cut the cost of a concealed carry permit, but this'll do for now.

Tags: , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Watch the trailer for 'Shelter,' the Renaud Bros. new doc on homeless kids in New Orleans

    Check out the trailer for "Shelter," the Renaud Bros. new feature-length documentary about homeless teens navigating life on the streets of New Orleans with the help of Covenant House, the longstanding French Quarter shelter for homeless kids.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation