The state budget fracas — a solution | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The state budget fracas — a solution

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 7:04 AM

A NEW BUDGET IDEA: Sen. Michael Lamoureux
  • A NEW BUDGET IDEA: Sen. Michael Lamoureux
I got some Twitter notes last night from Sen. Michael Lamoureux of Russellville on an idea emerging in the state Senate to supplant the bullet-riddled notion of Republican Rep. John Burris to take an arbitrary bite of 3 percent out of a raft of state agencies and use one-time money for Medicaid as a show of, well, something.

Lamoureux is floating the idea of devoting up to $40 million of expected accumulating reserves for a Medicaid trust fund against expected rising costs in that program, the majority of which is paid by 3-1 matches from the federal government.

That's a better idea than an arbitrary round of budget cuts, first off. But I'm reluctant to order up a tickertape parade just yet. Why?

1) It's an abbreviated version of the balanced budget amendment idea much beloved of Republicans. It will place handcuffs on spending that money, even in the event of unseen disaster, special need or border war with Texas. It's not quite the same, I know. And there's this: The first victim of such discipline would be legislators' General Improvement Fund projects, normally taken from the surplus that accrues from unspent fund balances and interest on state money. As we already know, efforts to make that process less of a special interest pork barrel for individual legislators has been defeated to a great degree by their wiliness and their influence on state agencies dispensing money allotted from the fund. So I'd shed no tears about that. (Unless it was my rodeo arena that needed the renovation money.)

2) This still amounts to proposing to finance a significant piece of Medicaid — next year, if not this year — with one-time money. That's better than no money. But it's not a continuing solution. Medicaid increases aren't likely to be a one-time thing.

I might be more amenable if all the Republicans talking about cutting budgets didn't seem to be hellbent to give a greedy and underserving bunch — truckers — a $4 million tax cut they haven't earned through a promised diesel tax increase that isn't going to happen. They, and even a few Democrats, are resisting legislation to repeal this giveaway before it takes effect. His response:

The truck tax issue is not yet resolved. Have faith.

Could be this is a tradeoff for the Medicaid trust fund?

NOTED: The Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home editorializes about the Washington-style politics brought to Arkansas by Rep. John Burris. What's next from those Republican hills? Criticism of a state legislator who gets taxpayer money to support religious instruction in his pre-school?

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Hear Our Voice: a message for politicians

    Hear Our Voice AR is holding an event from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight at White Water Tavern at which participants write postcards to elected officials.
    • Feb 19, 2018
  • New evidence brings a call for the impeachment of Justice Clarence Thomas

    Jill Abramson, writing in New York, says it's time to impeach Clarence Thomas. We shouldn't have a lying sexual harasser on the U.S. Supreme Court.
    • Feb 19, 2018
  • Conner Eldridge forms NWA law firm

    Conner Eldridge, the former western district U.S. attorney who made an unsuccessful Democratic race for U.S. Senate in 2016, has announced formation of a new law firm, based in Rogers, with Steve Brooks, a former Friday Firm partner.
    • Feb 19, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • The long and winding road: No exception yet for 30 Crossing

    The Arkansas highway department's representative on the Metroplan board of directors told the board today that the department is requesting an exception to the planning agency's cap on six lanes for its 30 Crossing project to widen Interstate 30 from six to 10 (and more) lanes.
    • Jun 29, 2016
  • Trump's strangulation of Obamacare

    If he can't kill it outright, Donald Trump will do all he can to cripple Obamacare. Vox has detailed reporting on deep cuts in federal spending that support nonprofit agencies that help people sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • 'Million-Dollar Thursday': A visit to Sherwood's hot check court

    We take a visit to the weekly hot check court in Sherwood District Court, the subject of a recent civil rights lawsuit filed by ACLU Arkansas and others, who say the system there results in a modern-day debtor's prison
    • Aug 25, 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

Most Recent Comments

 

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