Should legislators vote on their own budgets? | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Should legislators vote on their own budgets?

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM

I think that I heard Rep. Justin Harris pop up with an objection to routine approval to a budget bill. But things were moving quickly and I can't be sure I heard correctly.

Doesn't matter for the point I'm about to make, the episode just called it to mind.

Harris' family business draws money from the state and is regulated by the Department of Human Services and the Education Department for operating the religious-oriented Growing God's Kingdom daycare at West Fork. As one reader has noticed, he doesn't appear to have a statement on file about this potential conflict of interest from state business. Statement or no statement, should Harris participate in voting on bills of agencies that regulate and finance his family?

The same applies to Sen. Johnny Key, who also operates a religious daycare. To his credit, he has fully disclosed his business with the state.

SPEAKING OF DELAYING TACTICS: Republicans have held up resolutions to introduce the state budget bill and the bill to repeal a future sales tax break on trucks and trailers. Some individual budgets also ran into delays prompted by Republican objections, such as the Department of Environmental Quality and the budget bill for DHS administrative services.

WUSSY REPORT: House Speaker Robert Moore says a number of legislators are reluctant to repeal the truck tax break because election filing opens next week. It's an outrage. An industry that doesn't pay its fair share of road destruction is going to get ANOTHER tax break that was supposed to be implemented ONLY IF voters approved a diesel tax increase. The diesel tax didn't make the ballot. But truckers are going to get another handout. This isn't leadership, it's cowardice and irresponsibility in a state where the shale industry is doing hundreds of millions of dollars of damage without recompense. You really wonder if the truckers didn't have this scheme in mind all along.

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