Funny money and the race for Arkansas governor | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 27, 2014

Funny money and the race for Arkansas governor

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 6:54 PM

click to enlarge FUZZY HEADED: Asa Hutchinson on state budget. He has no particulars but faults Beebe.
  • FUZZY HEADED: Asa Hutchinson on state budget. He has no particulars but faults Beebe.
I was going to pass on governor's race stuff today, but I've rethought on account of John Lyon's story for Stephens Media about Republican Asa Hutchinson's speech to Arkansas sheriffs.

Republican candidate for governor Asa Hutchinson said Monday there is “fuzziness” about the Beebe administration’s estimate of the potential impact on the state budget if the so-called private option is not renewed. 

Now normally, you'd think when one candidate accused the other side of fuzzy math, he'd have some sharp math to offer in support of his premise. Asa had nada. Zip.

Oh, and by the way, he is STILL dodging a definitive answer on how he feels about renewal of the private option version of Obamacare engineered by sane Republicans in the legislature. See, deep down, he has to be for it. The health system and safety net crumble otherwise. But, in addition to facing rabid anti-Obamacare opponents in the primary, Hutchinson will run all out against Obama with the rest of his party in the general election. So he can't look a definitive blithering hypocrite until AFTER he wins.

But back to those fuzzy numbers. Proof?

“I think the numbers are very, very loose. We’ve tried to dig dip into those, and it’s hard to put a figure on exactly the budget impact if the private option is not approved.”

Beebe's office says they used math. Hutchinson doesn't understand it. But he's sure Beebe must be wrong. 

It's no secret why Hutchinson is throwing around baseless accusations to change the subject. If the private option isn't approved there IS one way it won't cost the state money. That is to make Medicaid harder to get, thus throwing off people who'd been covered by Medicaid, or had no coverage until private option came along, and then saw it de-funded. Simple: Screw a bunch of working poor people. It's that or come up with additional millions. It's simple arithmetic, not fuzzy at all. You can't do more with less money. The number of people hurt will be precise. And it won't be pretty.

Next time Asa rolls out that "fuzzy" line I hope somebody asks for specifics on his own math.

And speaking of funny money — and this is money you can count:

The Republican Governors Association announced on their website this morning that it had raised $50 million in 2013 and would be using it to target races in states where Democrats are now governor. Arkansas, in other words. I've said all along that Mike Ross' superior individual fund-raising against Asa would be matched if not eclipsed by the deep Republican pockets hoping to finish turning the South red. The good news is that Democratic organizations are going to spend money here, too. In the end, neither candidate will win or lose on account of money. Issues, a key slip-up not yet known and the general inclination of the electorate will be more important factors. After the depth of hatred of that black man in the White House.

Oh, and here's another hard fact for fuzzy Hutchinson. He voted against increasing help for community policing while in Congress. The Democratic Party took note on the occasion of his speech to sheriffs, most of whom have endorsed Ross.

When bureaucrat-turned-lobbyist Asa Hutchinson went to Washington, he left his Arkansas values behind. In Congress, Hutchinson consistently voted against increasing funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services program. This is a program that makes our communities safer and has put more than 1,350 additional police officers and deputy sheriffs on the streets in Arkansas and added 120 resource officers to our schools.

“Asa has spent his career lobbying for special interest clients and D.C. friends, instead of lobbying for Arkansas’s law enforcement community. When it comes to supporting Arkansas’s law enforcement officers and first responders, Asa Hutchinson cannot be trusted. Voting against this funding was a vote against more police and safer communities – plain and simple.”

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