Sunday, November 17, 2013

Morning Notes: Hutchinson voodoo, Milligan keeps creeping

Posted By on Sun, Nov 17, 2013 at 8:08 AM

BLUNDER DOME: If you're going to try to pressure someone out of a political race, it helps to sweeten them up with some doughnuts.
  • BLUNDER DOME: If you're going to try to pressure someone out of a political race, it helps to sweeten them up with some doughnuts.

Top of the morning. 

*ASA'S VOODOO: At a speech at the Jonesboro Political Animals meeting last Friday, according to the Jonesboro Sun's report (paywall), Mike Ross "scoffed at [Asa Hutchinson's tax plan] saying the state's current budget surplus of almost $300 million might not exist in 2015 when Hutchinson said he'll enact the cut." The Sun's headline: "Ross's speech ridicules opponent's tax cut plan." Ross's pitch was delivered in the unbearable cheesy cynisism that is a Ross hallmark: Hutchinson's plan, he said, is "as flawed as the Obamacare website."

But on the merits, Ross is right. An immediate tax cut of this size cannot be paid for via surplus and growth alone and would bust a giant hole in the state budget. Moreover, Hutchinson has included a laughable gimmick to try to reduce the projected costs of his plan: a "cliff" at $34,000 and again at $75,000 that would make the value of an additional dollar negative via more tax liability. There is zero chance that the state would actually enact such a ludicrous tax structure, so Hutchinson is just hoping no one will notice that actual implementation of his plan would cost more than he's claiming. It's not a bad bet since the minutia of Hutchinson's gimmick is a bit of a snoozer. Hutchinson happily tweeted out the headline from the Ross speech and commented: "My positive tax reduction plan for middle income Arkansans will create jobs. Ross mocks it. We have an issue!" Clearly he thinks he's got a winner in this populist argument, even if he won't bother to say how he'll pay for it and the details make no sense. 

*KRISPY KREME CREEPER: The bizarre Blunder Dome scandal rolls on. After his epic performance on the Paul Harrell Program on Thursday, Dennis "the Krispy Kreme Creeper" Milligan came back on the Harrrell show on Friday. Harrell felt like the Creeper had played him for a fool the day before and gives him a tougher interview. The Creeper continues to double down and says he has no intention of dropping out of the race. You can hear the second show here. He also says he plans to appear on Dave Elswick KARN radio show on Monday and Elswick will exonerate him (apparently Elswick himself is more circumspect). Our own Max Brantley is a guest on KARK's Capitol View this morning, discussing the strange tale (along with more serious matters) with Bill Vickery. Vickery himself received a text message from the Creeper after discussing the ordeal on television. Jason Tolbert of Talk Business published the text message

Bill had more confidence in u than what u showed me. Not fair with the facts at all. And I will follow up with my attorney about your comments cause I want all legal matters resolved including the one with the TV station, have a good night

More on the Krispy Kreme Creeper here and here and here

*MAX FIX: Max is across the pond, but here's a link to the Capitol View appearance I mentioned. 

*(UPDATED) MCLEAN MULLING SENATE RUN? ***Update: per Roby Brock, McLean is indeed running and Wyatt is not seeking re-election. 

Conservative Democrat Rep. James McLean yesterday tweeted out the sort of thing that you might say if you're running for state Senate. Is he? Rep. Ann Clemmer and blogger Jason Tolbert both speculated as much on Twitter. I've sent a note to McLean asking. The incumbent, Sen. David Wyatt, also a Democrat, is not term limited until 2018. 


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