Favorite

Hypocrite watch: Rep. Justin Harris 

Thanks to blog reporting, fans of Arkansas politics were treated to an illustration this week of the core dishonesty of some conservatives. The theme boiled down to this: Cut my taxes and everybody else's spending, but don't touch my government handout.

The poster child for conservative Republican hypocrisy was state Rep. Justin Harris of West Fork, an appropriate successor to Secretary of State Mark Martin, who ran up huge expense reimbursements as a legislator for the same district while ostensibly fighting to reduce government.

Harris is in the news this week for his bills to bar all state services to people who can't provide proof of citizenship and to ban in-state tuition for those without proper papers. The college bill would cover even long-time Arkansas residents with Arkansas high school diplomas and good academic records.

Harris makes a living running what he calls a "church preschool," Growing God's Kingdom. In addition to preaching the Gospel, he preaches the word of reduced government spending and lower taxes. He reportedly once remarked government spending never created a job. Funny thing, though. Harris' business depends almost entirely on taxpayers for its existence and the money he and other family members make from it. The Blue Hog Report did some digging into the small business and found this:

Harris' business operates on almost $900,000 a year and serves about 150 kids. Of that, all but about 6 percent comes in the form of state and federal dollars in a program aimed at developmentally disabled and poor children. The money provides Harris and his wife almost $60,000 a year in salary and benefits. It also covers the mortgage on his privately owned building and rent payments to the Harrises.

So the government spending hawk lives on government spending, a double dip of payroll, perks and rent payments.

Thanks to conservative blogger Jason Tolbert, we know of another bit of Harris hypocrisy. Tolbert reported — in defense of Harris — that a University of Arkansas lobbyist had been putting out the word that somebody might make hay of the fact that Harris has perhaps a dozen undocumented students among his 150 pre-schoolers. Maybe they're legal, maybe not. He is not required to prove citizenship to provide taxpayer-funded services to these kids and thank goodness for that. Blogger Tolbert seemed perturbed at the UA's tough lobbying against Harris' legislation to provide a little kindness to older Arkansas children on college costs.

No defense of Harris was possible. An anti-tax, anti-government-spending, anti-illegal-alien legislator is living off a government program that includes payments for kids who haven't produced proof of citizenship.

His defenders say Harris runs a wonderful program for deserving kids, end of story. If only virtue was enough. Try that argument on your average Tea Partier sometime, particularly when it's a government program THEIR family isn't profiting from.

The bankruptcy of the Koch-financed Tea Party movement was further illustrated by the reflexive defense of Harris by paid Arkansas mouthpieces. A little waste and hypocrisy can be overlooked when it's by a legislator who supports a broad-range of government crippling measures that are vitally important to the Kochs. These include cutting the capital gains tax — a windfall for the wealthy. Someday, Harris might sell that building the government is buying for him. He wouldn't want to have to pay a tax on the capital gain. The building is a monument, really. Not to free enterprise, but to a man who knows first-hand the benefits of lavish government spending and taxpayer-funded services for undocumented children. Terrible, isn't it, Rep. Harris?

Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

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…

  • What Maggio has wrought

    Mike Maggio's guilty plea to a federal bribery charge last week resonates beyond the destruction of his own life.
    • Jan 15, 2015
  • AsaCare and more good news

    The best part so far of the Republican takeover of Arkansas government is Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
    • Jan 29, 2015
  • The education legislature

    Republican political control in Arkansas means many things: lots of gun bills, lots of anti-abortion bills, lots of efforts to make religious belief law, such as discrimination against gay people.
    • Mar 10, 2015

Most Shared

  • Tackling autism, child by child

    An Arkansas Children's Hospital doctor is testing a new drug that targets one of a host of ailments the highly individual disorder can cause.
  • 1957 all over again

    Last week, the State Board of Education voted to ignore federal courts and allow school district transfers that will encourage segregation.
  • Death penalty lives

    Barely clinging to its flagging life, the death penalty got a merciful reprieve last month from the unlikeliest quarter, the Arkansas Supreme Court.
  • Drinking culture

    Here we go again. At the rate these campus sexual abuse sagas are making news, it's reasonable to ask what college administrators can possibly be thinking about.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • 1957 all over again

    Last week, the State Board of Education voted to ignore federal courts and allow school district transfers that will encourage segregation.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • The week's lowlights

    Andy Davis has spent much of his taxpayer-paid time in the legislature working on legislation to make easier the lives of people who operate plants he sells and who dump materials in waterways.
    • Jul 14, 2016
  • A July 4 grab bag

    Taylor Moore, a student at Southern Arkansas University, has been pressing, unsuccessfully, for months for action on unwanted sexual groping by another student last December.
    • Jul 7, 2016
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31  
 

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