There Jon Woods goes again; more constitutional trickery to restore chamber of commerce subsidies | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 16, 2015

There Jon Woods goes again; more constitutional trickery to restore chamber of commerce subsidies

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 10:48 AM

click to enlarge THERE HE GOES AGAIN: Sen. Jon Woods has more constitutional skulduggery.
  • THERE HE GOES AGAIN: Sen. Jon Woods has more constitutional skulduggery.
Sen. Jon Woods, who makes a nice living as a legislator without any other gainful employment except as a "consultant," will forever be memorialized as the senator who came up with the add-ons to a laughingly mistitled ethics amendment that, today, produced a 150 percent pay raise for legislators, gave the ability for people like Woods to serve an 18-year run in the Senate and has done nothing to prevent free swill and lots of it on the tab of special interest lobbies. Wood's favors won Republican-majority approval of the measure for the ballot where voters, perhaps thinking it really was about ethics, approved the amendment.

Now here comes Woods again with an amendment hiding behind the Motherhood and Apple Pie label of "economic development."

You don't have to look very closely at what this is about or why you'll see every local chamber of commerce executive in the state buttonholing their legislator to put the thing on the November ballot in hopes of another misguided electorate.

It is meant to negate the recent court ruling that held that Little Rock and North Little Rock had unconstitutionally given taxpayer money to private chambers of commerce. Judge Mackie Pierce ruled that these were nothing more than prohibited public subsidies for work the private agencies already were doing. And it is a practice followed around the state.

Jon Woods will fix that. He'll provide this exception to public payments to private corporations:

"to fund economic development services."

That loophole is big enough for J.B. Hunt's entire fleet to motor through. "Strategic advice" qualifies as economic development services under Woods' amendment.

Tax money could again flow unrestrained to groups that lobby against unions, against universal health insurance, against just workers compensation laws, against equitable taxation, against a living wage and against just about every other progressive cause you could name.

Who pays Woods for consulting services remains an unknown.  But he'd be a good pick to do economic development services for somebody.

Oh, he also sets a sky-high and impossible three-fourths vote to change this taxpayer giveaway provision.

PS — There is some emerging sentiment in the House and Senate to send no constitutional amendments to the ballot, or only cleanup amendments, such as one that says the governor doesn't give up power when he(she) crosses the state line. What do you bet Woods' idea will be called just a little ol' cleanup amendment.


Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 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
  • 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

People who saved…

Most Shared

  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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