Son of the P.R. fund | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Son of the P.R. fund

Posted By on Wed, Mar 21, 2007 at 2:30 PM

When voters approved Amendment 70 to increase elected officials' pay, the amendment made it clear that extra payments would not be allowed and the campaign for the amendment made it clear that it would be end of public relations funds and other subterfuges to increase pay for elected officials without technically increasing their pay.

Well, the political class is restless. A bill floating around this session was amended this week, which indicates it is still very much alive. HB 2435 by Rep. Bruce Maloch originally set up a multi-part housing allowance for constitutional offices and judges on statewide courts. Now the bill has been amended to remove judges and to provide a single housing allowance, up to $12,000, for constitutional officers. Maloch says this is necessary to make the offices attractive to people statewide. Funny, last time I looked, most of the constitutional officers were from outside Little Rock -- Searcy, Jonesboro, Newport, etc.

Maloch's reasoning is that since the IRS doesn't deem a housing allowance income if it doesn't exceed the housing expense, extending a housing allowance wouldn't be considered income to Arkansas office holders. From a federal tax standpoint, perhaps. But it would break ranks violently with voters on the Constitutional amendment approved by voters. And, after housing allowances, why not meal allowances. And food allowances. And utility allowances. And gasoline allowances. Etc. Any average citizen knows well that extra money -- particularly untaxed extra money -- is additional income.

This argument doesn't fly with me, though it likely will fly high with legislators, ever hopeful of moving to higher office and ever hopeful of passing their own schemes for enhancing income. It might be time for a little legal action, in fact, on the ever fatter expense allowances that legislators are drawing. I've got a kewpie doll for anyone who thinks every legislator can justify all the money he or she draws with receipts for actual expenses.

From Amendment 70: "No officials of the executive department shall be reimbursed by the state of Arkansas for any expenses except those reasonably connected to their official duties and only if such documented expense is actually incurred and from the regular budget appropriated for the officials' office."

 

From the ArkTimes store

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

Readers also liked…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • Free Zinn book for Arkansas teachers

    Arkansas teachers! Get your free Howard Zinn book here! Whether Kim Hendren likes it or not.
    • Mar 3, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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