Beebe hits Asa! on minimum wage | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Beebe hits Asa! on minimum wage

Posted By on Thu, Aug 3, 2006 at 2:33 PM

Mike Beebe's campaign today issued a press release criticizing Asa Hutchinson for his guest column in the new edition of the Arkansas Times.

"I will not dodge and attempt to hide my positions," Hutchinson says today in a guest column in the Arkansas Times.  As an example of his supposed steadfastness and forthrightness, he claims that he has not opposed increasing the Arkansas minimum wage.  The Arkansas News Bureau reported less than nine months ago that "The lone Republican candidate for governor [Hutchinson] said he opposed raising the state minimum wage above the national rate of $5.15 per hour."  In addition to this bold attempt to "dodge and hide" - while claiming not to - Asa ignores numerous flips, flops, and somersaults on this issue.

"Why should anyone ever trust Mr. Hutchinson when the record makes it clear that he has played political gymnastics on this fundamental issue?" asks Zac Wright, Beebe campaign spokesman. ... "If Hutchinson is honest that he will no longer hide his position, it's a good time for him to explain the many positions he's taken on the minimum wage, which one of his many positions he actually believes, and why he would purposefully use this as an example of consistency and honesty when the record says exactly the opposite."

Hutchinson said he opposed an increase to the Arkansas minimum wage, supported a state increase when its inevitability was obvious, voted twice in Congress against an increase in the minimum wage, voted once in Congress for a bill that included a provision for an increase - even though Hutchinson explained his support for the 660-page package of laws for other reasons.  Today, Hutchinson claims clarity in his position, leaving many Arkansans scratching their heads as to how.

After the jump, a table provided by the Beebe campaign showing the evolution of Hutchinson's positions on the minimum wage.


A (Partial) Chronology of Hutchinson's

Public Gymnastics on the Minimum Wage



Hutchinson votes against increasing the federal minimum wage by $1

While in Congress, voted twice against measures to increase the federal minimum wage by $1 over two years [HR vote 43; 2000, HR vote 45, 2000].



Hutchinson opposes increase, says the minimum wage "does not have any relevance" in Arkansas

"In Arkansas ... the minimum wage does not have any relevance except in terms of marginal skilled workers and the under-21 worker." - Asa Hutchinson [Asa Opposes Minimum-Wage Hike, Says Unskilled, Teens Lose; Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, 3/11/00].



Hutchinson opposes raising the state minimum wage, but "would reserve judgment" on a proposed state Constitutional amendment

"The lone Republican candidate for governor said he opposed raising the state minimum wage above the national rate of $5.15 per hour, though he said he would reserve judgment on a proposed constitutional amendment to increase the state rate to $6.15."  [Arkansas News Bureau, 12/14/2005].



Hutchinson opposes the proposed AR constitutional amendment, saying the minimum wage should be raised federally - despite his votes against increasing the federal minimum wage

"Hutchinson says he opposes the amendment because the minimum wage should be raised nationwide and Arkansas might risk a competitive disadvantage if it mandated a higher wage."  [Arkansas News Bureau, 12/18/05].


Hutchinson still thinking the federal government should raise the minimum wage, and now believes that if they don't, he would support increasing Arkansas' in a story about the constitutional amendment.

"Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson of Little Rock wants to see an increase in the federal minimum wage.  But if the federal government doesn't increase the national minimum wage, he would support Arkansas', said David Kinkade, a spokesman for Hutchinson's campaign.  [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/24/2006].



Hutchinson now says he supports a legislative increase to the minimum wage by state lawmakers.

"He supports a legislative effort to raise the state's minimum wage but said he doesn't believe hikes in the wage should be part of the state constitution. They should be enacted by state lawmakers, he said."  [Benton County Daily Record, 3/25/06].



Arkansas Democrat Gazette erroneously reports Hutchinson supported a wage increase, "[Hutchinson] even voted to increase the minimum wage when he was a congressman back in 2000."






But, Hutchinson's claim that the October 2000 vote was a vote in favor of minimum wage does not mesh with comments he made to a reporter only seven months earlier. 



Minimum wage not a reason why Hutchinson voted for HR 2614. 

On October 26, 2000, Asa voted for the HR2614 conference report, a complex 660-page conference report with numerous provisions, including ones to ban physician-assisted suicide, increase payments to Medicare-funded health care providers, and provide a total of $245 billion in tax cuts over ten years.  It also included a provision to increase the minimum wage $1 over two years.  [House of Representatives Vote 560, 2000, HR 2614 conference report].

After voting against an increase in the federal minimum wage of $1.00 over two years [House votes 43 and 45] Hutchinson told the Arkansas News Bureau in March 2000 that he might have voted for the increase if the implementation period had been three years instead of two.  The October 2000 vote called for a $1 increase over two years.  [Arkansas News Bureau, 3/11/2000].


Hutchinson's office issued a press release explaining his vote for the conference report to HR 2614.  Nowhere does it list ‘minimum wage' as a reason for his vote.  [Hutchinson press release, 10/26/2000].



Hutchinson claims false clarity of his position on the minimum wage.


Hutchinson falsely alleges he supports an increase in the minimum wage.

"I will not dodge and attempt to hide my positions." - Asa Hutchinson [Arkansas Times, 8/3/06].


"Another controversy recently sparked by my opponent is when he falsely asserted that I had opposed the minimum wage increase in Arkansas. Mr. Beebe knows this is patently false, and yet he sent out a mass mailing to thousands of Arkansas voters to try to deceive them about my record." - Asa Hutchinson [Arkansas Times, 8/3/06].




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