High interest: the third amendment | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

High interest: the third amendment

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 8:37 AM

After much fussing, the Joint State Agencies Committee today with little discussion endorsed a third constitutional amendment for the 2010 election ballot. It's all about raising interest rates.

It's the three-headed monster mentioned yesterday, with slight changes.

1) It removes the cap on governmental bonds. The existing low interest rates have all but shut down the government bond business in Arkansas, not just bonds for student loans. The bond underwriters and lawyers must be served. (And, truth is, government does need to borrow for worthy projects and purposes.).

2) It changes the limit on consumer lending from a floating rate 5 percent above a federal financial index or 17 percent, whichever is LOWER to a simple 17 percent. Dropped was the idea to allow the rate to float to 5 percent above a federal financial index, not currently an issue, but it has been historically. Banks were already exempt. This allows car dealers and retail stores to ratchet up their credit substantially from existing rates.

3) It allows general obligation bonds issued for energy efficiency projects to be declared revenue bonds (in which "savings" will be pledged to retire the bonds). This is just some hocus pocus, though well-crafted energy programs from reputable conractors can be productive. The purpose is to allow government agencies to approve such bonds without a vote of the people. Enabling legislation will be required and the backers promise all kinds of safeguards will be built in against unscrupulous operators taking advantage of their tap into the treasury.

Putting these disparate measures in a single amendment would seem -- some believe -- to run counter to Supreme Court rulings on combining unrelated proposals in a single amendment. Adequately explaining the significance of all three in a ballot title and popular name will be daunting, I'd guess. But, as one propoent of higher interest limits said, "that's just an opinion." Indeed.

Anyway, it's headed to the ballot, John Williams reports, barring a successful court challenge in the meanwhile. It will be challenged.

This joins amendments providing for a right to hunt and fish and to make it easier for the state to take general tax revenues to give away in corporate welfare handouts to potential industrial prospects. Projects no longer need be "super projects" to qualify, should this amendment pass.

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (15)

Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Literary Edition

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.
    • Jul 1, 2016
  • Baseball fans have a new place to stay

    If you missed out on Razorback baseball home games this year because you couldn’t find a great place to stay, your problem is now solved: Staybridge Suites of Fayetteville is now fully renovated and located directly across from Baum Stadium, with free parking for hotel guests.
    • May 22, 2017
  • Federal judge reprimands John Goodson for misconduct in class-action case

    John Goodson  — the Texarkana attorney, D.C. lobbyist, and husband of Arkansas State Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson — was reprimanded today by a federal judge for his conduct in a class-action case.
    • Aug 3, 2016

Most Shared

  • In the margins

    A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight.
  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.
  • Arkansans join House vote to gut Americans with Disabilities Act

    Despite fierce protests from disabled people, the U.S. House voted today, mostly on party lines, to make it harder to sue businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course Arkansas congressmen were on the wrong side.

Most Viewed

  • Another Trump propagandist from Arkansas gets blasted

    If Sarah Huckabee Sanders is Donald Trump's Baghdad Barbie, spouting implausible statements in support of her boss in the style of Saddam's Baghdad Bob, then let's make El Dorado native Hogan Gidley Baghdad Ken.

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation