Bid to earmark surplus fails in Joint Budget | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bid to earmark surplus fails in Joint Budget

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Lot of debate, but, as expected, Gov. Mike Beebe got his way. An effort in Joint Budget today to earmark part of the state's surplus for future Medicaid spending failed. The Beebe administration argued that tying the money down before it's needed would make it harder to use the surplus if an unexpected emergency need developed before fiscal 2014, when large Medicaid money shortfalls have been predicted, anywhere from $250 to $400 million.

Earmarking surplus, it could be argued, not only doesn't "fix" Medicaid, it guarantees a much larger problem down the line. Plugging a shortfall with surplus, rather than with a continuing funding source guarantees a much larger shortfall the succeeding year. (Unless you cope by cutting expenditures through a cut in services.) The use of surplus really does, in terms of a lasting solution, "kick the can down the road," the cliche employed by Republicans criticizing Democrats who opposed handcuffing the surplus money.

January 2013 is soon enough, and the proper time, for systemic review of Medicaid. There'll be no artificial procedural limits on introduction of legislation. There'll be no time limit on the session itself. That surplus will still be there and legislators will have a more specific idea of how much it might be, against today's estimate. Remember, once again, that the surplus can't be spent for frivolous purposes — as opposed to statewide big tickets like Medicaid, schools and prisons — without appropriations approved by 75 percent of the legislature.

The headlines will work in the favor of Republicans' trying to specifically obligate surplus money. Legislators "reject using surplus for shortfall," said one already published. Not exactly. This year's Medicaid budget has already been met, as has the budget for the year beginning July 1, 2012. What was at issue was specifically putting money aside for the year after that. That surplus still could be tapped in the 2013 session for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013, even without an earmark this year. If it is, something dire will have to happen the following year to cover ongoing costs, unless revenue growth from existing taxes is sufficient.

Tags: ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • North Little Rock mayor shows downtown plaza plan

    North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith is presenting a plan to the City Council tonight for a downtown plaza meant to augment planned private developments and further enhanced downtown as a destination.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Attorney general asks for continued secrecy on execution drugs

    As expected, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has asked the Arknasas Supreme Court for an "emergency stay" of a lower court ruling that the Correction Department must produce labels from one of the drugs used in executions.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Groups seek end to commercial collection of wild turtles

    Several environmental organizations to end commercial turtle collection in Arkansas.The harvests (more than 126,000 turtles from 2014 to 2016) are not sustainable and that, in turn, is damaging to ecosystems, the groups said.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016
  • Two plead in fraud of sheriff's office

    A former employee of the Pulaski County sheriff and a North Little Rock woman who sold goods to the sheriff's office have pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a scheme to steal from the sheriff's office, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office.
    • May 16, 2017
  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



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