A state taxpayer beneficiary runs into difficulties | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A state taxpayer beneficiary runs into difficulties

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 11:53 AM

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson made it clear in the recent legislative session that he believes increasing corporate welfare is a ticket to economic prosperity. Among other signs was the biggie — his backing of a proposed constitutional amendment to allow unlimited state debt to hand out in the form of corporate welfare to potential businesses. That measure also would legalize taxpayer handouts to local chambers of commerce, which serve as political lobbying organizations for corporate interests. (Don't you wish working people had a taxpayer-financed lobbyist?)

This is all a set-up to say corporate welfare is no guarantee of job creation. The Beebe administration sunk $2 million and other valuable considerations into Soul of the South, a television network aimed originally at the black market. It has struggled, as Sean Beherec has been reporting for Arkansas Business. Beherec has dug deeply into legal disputes, struggles to gain market, the past of some related parties and internal bickering at the venture, whose CEO now says it may wind down operation. The venture passed across our radar briefly last year.

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