Grabbing for corporate welfare | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Grabbing for corporate welfare

Posted By on Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Corporate Arkansas, through its lobbyists at the chambers of commerce, just can't stop grabbing at tax dollars (even as they preach at the rest of us about the beauties of the free market).

Here, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel comes through with the latest iteration of the corporate line, an opinion saying a sham "services contract" between local governments and chambers of commerce is a good way to launder tax money into corporate pockets. (OK, I'm embellishing his language a tiny bit.) McDaniel doesn't, of course, review any of the specific sham contracts in which cities supposedly farm out economic development activities. He just pronounces them valid if they are for a "public purpose."

Problem is, in its prohibition on spending money on private organizations, the Constitution says not a single word about that prohibition being lifted for "public purposes." Indeed, if that were so, cities and counties could cobble up any number of "public purposes" to throw tax money at private entities. The chambers of commerce could think of plenty of them, you may be sure, if all first self-serving. It is their stated intention to have a dedicated source of tax revenue to fund all of chambers, thus putting on taxpayers the primary burden of meeting the chambers' stated objective of increasing members' profits.

Nice timing. Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter advised me formally today that, based on talks with Little Rock Regional Chamber of Conmerce's executive director Jay Chesshir, the chamber can't (which isn't true) and won't provide the city an accounting of how the city's $200,000 is spent. The sham services contract between the chamber and the city says explicitly that the state Freedom of Information Act will be observed. If the chamber won't do something, far be it from Mayor Mark Stodola or one of his subordinates to insist that the contract be followed.

McDaniel's opinion today went to Rep. Mark Perry of Jacksonville, where the chamber wants hamburger tax money to print visitor guides and other material. McDaniel said you take that hamburger tax money and go, chamber.

Tags: , , , ,

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

  • Republican challenger on shutdown

    Robb Ryerse, the Republican primary challenge to incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Womack, sends his thoughts on the shtudown, which Womack has blamed  on Democrats'  desire to help criminal aliens instead of American military, or words to that effect. He decries the gamesmanship.
    • Jan 22, 2018
  • Who knew? ISIS has targeted Arkansas politics, or so Jan Morgan says

    ISIS targets Arkansas gubernatorial candidate? So she says.
    • Jan 22, 2018
  • Shutdown continues for third day

    Here's the latest from the Washington Post on the continuation of the government shutdown, which has a bipartisan group of senators attempting to work out a path to at least a temporary budget. The problem is immigration.
    • Jan 22, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Pot and politics

    The politics of medical marijuana in Arkansas will be an interesting story as it evolves.
  • The Oval outhouse

    One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments


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