Monday, March 30, 2015

Line up at the trough: budget includes $40 million in GIF pork

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 11:03 AM

Remember when Gov. Asa Hutchinson promised an end to legislative pork barrel spending, the time-honored tradition of splitting up surplus money for legislators' pet projects in their districts via the General Improvement Fund act? 

Never mind! The D-G this morning reports

The Legislature and the governor would each get $20 million from the General Improvement Fund to spend on their favored projects. The Senate and the House would get $10 million each to distribute for projects recommended by lawmakers.

What happened to other budget priorities, governor? Ongoing statewide programs? We've asked for comment and will update if we hear back. 

This is a scandal whether you're on the right side of the spectrum (this pork is paid for by taxes) or the left (the opportunity cost of this pork is less money for programs like pre-k or health care).

It's also makes for a less transparent process, as outlined in this 2014 report from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

Here's the kicker. The report found that Arkansas has consistently made overly pessimistic revenue forecasts. Thus, the legislature is failing to create allocations for all of the likely revenue, leaving set-asides for scrumptious pork. Arkansas tied for last in a recent review of revenue forecasting practices by the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities

The report argues that lawmakers have been “building an intentional surplus into the budget.” That goes into the GIF fund, where it is “spent with relatively fewer restrictions and less public transparency.” 

For the record, a 2006 state Supreme Court decision outlawed the practice of "local and special" earmarks, but,  well, legislators cheerfully flout it

Our friends at Americans for Prosperity Arkansas are not happy about Hutchinson's flip flop on GIF pork. AFP Arkansas State Director David Ray said in a statement:

Arkansans deserve better than $40 million of their hard-earned tax dollars being spent on earmark projects. When voters sent their elected leaders to Little Rock last November, they sent them there to exercise fiscal responsibility, not to continue business as usual.

p.s.  Just for context, the revenue impact statement for Rep. Warwick Sabin's bill to offer tax relief to the state's low-income residents, which Republicans concluded the state could not afford despite lavishing capital gains tax cuts on the state's wealthiest citizens: 0 in 2016, $10 million in 2017, $20 million in 2018, $40 million in 2019.

Tags: , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

Readers also liked…

  • In defense of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights

    An op-ed in today's New York Time by Katha Pollitt says what I've been struggling to say about the reaction to the attack on women's reproductive rights launched by means of the undercover videos made by anti-abortion activists.
    • Aug 5, 2015
  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016
  • Maddie's Place makes a believer out of a skeptic

    After a long hiatus, I return to Maddie's Place in Riverdale and find the food is a lot tastier than I remembered.
    • Aug 19, 2015

Most Shared

  • Home again

    The plan, formulated months ago, was this: Ellen and I were going to go to Washington for inauguration festivities, then fly out the morning after the balls for Panama City and a long planned cruise to begin with a Panama Canal passage.
  • Who needs courts?

    Not since the John Birch Society's "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards littered Southern roadsides after the Supreme Court's school-integration decision in 1954 has the American judicial system been under such siege, but who would have thought the trifling Arkansas legislature would lead the charge?
  • Bungling

    If the late, great Donald Westlake had written spy thrillers instead of crime capers, they'd read a lot like the opening weeks of the Trump administration.
  • UPDATE: Campus carry bill amended by Senate to require training

    The Senate this morning added an amendment to Rep. Charlie Collins campus carry bill that incorporates the effort denied in committee yesterday to require a 16-hour additional training period before university staff members with concealed carry permits may take the weapons on campus.
  • Director to resign from state court administrative office

    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Dan Kemp announced today the resignation of J.D. Gingerich, long-time director of the administrative office of the courts.

Visit Arkansas

New Crystal Bridges exhibit explores Mexican-American border

New Crystal Bridges exhibit explores Mexican-American border

Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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