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: , , , ,


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

  • Arkansas Supreme Court denies rehearing in death penalty challenge, but delays mandate

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today refused to rehear the case denying Death Row inmates information about drugs used by the state in the lethal injection process.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Welspun layoffs: Another example of corporate welfare folly

    Layoffs at the Welspun pipe plant in Little Rock are a reminder of the folly of corporate welfare and the inability of Arkansas to separate itself from global economic forces. See the Fayetteville shale. And keep a watchful eye on that Sun Paper pulp mill proposed near Arkadelphia.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Hamburg bank manager gets 21 months for theft

    Melinda Gwin, 49, of Hamburg has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to repay $210,875 stolen from the First National Bank of Crossett. She was sentenced in El Dorado federal court, according to a Justice Department news release.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Asa Hutchinson a voice of reason on torture report

    Asa Hutchinson, the governor-elect, stood out in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's roundup of Arkansas reaction to the Senate Intelligence Committee's report detailing the use of torture by the CIA and its ineffectiveness. He credited it with credibility other Republicans from Arkansas in Congress weren't ready to grant.
    • Dec 10, 2014
  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Chuck Hagel's holiday message includes gay sailor's proposal

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's video holiday message includes an image of a male sailor's marriage proposal to another male sailor. It's believed the first depiction of a gay military couple in such messages.
    • Dec 31, 2014

Most Shared

  • New book documents the work of visionary instrument-maker Ed Stilley

    Ed Stilley is one of those special, extraordinary visionaries who are driven to create. In Stilley's case, God was the driver and He told Stilley in 1979 to build acoustic  instruments for children.
  • Best of Arkansas 2016

    Readers elect their favorites.
  • Hillary hit jobs

    It's always been my conviction that if Hillary Clinton could be appointed president, she'd do a bang-up job. Getting elected, however, might prove more difficult.
  • These Hogs won't be thin

    This may be the strongest returning receiving corps that the Razorbacks have fielded in the post-Petrino days.
  • Trump-Putin 2016

    Among the thousand bizarre aspects of the presidential campaign has been the Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin axis.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The Saturday line

    • ps. I got a new phone. Went from a 4s to a 6s. Tiny pass…

    • on July 30, 2016
  • Re: Federal court strikes down voter ID law in North Carolina

    • PPPP - Predatory Proslytizing, Political Prostitutes - entrepreneurship, knuckle dragging republican style

    • on July 30, 2016
  • Re: The Saturday line

    • It bothers me that McConnell and Paul Ryan are apparently incapable of making their own…

    • on July 30, 2016



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation