Hester suggests selling War Memorial Stadium | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Hester suggests selling War Memorial Stadium

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 5:58 PM

click to enlarge SEN. BART HESTER: Selective targets for budget cutting.
  • SEN. BART HESTER: Selective targets for budget cutting.
Sen. Bart Hester has been a tear of late on cutting state spending.

He says the state spends too much on colleges and universities.

Now he says it spends too much on AETN and that it should stop spending money annually on War Memorial Stadium.

Channel 4 reports:

Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, said the state spends $849,500 managing the Little Rock football stadium.

"This is not a joke. It's time to cut this item from the budget and sell the War Memorial Stadium. Then, Pulaski County can collect the property taxes that the Little Rock School District needs so desperately," Hester said.

Hester also said Arkansas expended $5.4 million for AETN last year and slashed support for local libraries by 18 percent.

"This is not a wise trade-off, especially at a time when the free market offers such an ample array of choices in telecommunication," Hester said. 
Where to begin? The state might find a stadium sale difficult. It sits amid a city of Little Rock park (the state land is limited to that beneath the stadium itself, not parking lots) and past efforts to convert that park property to commercial use caused firestorms. The state built the stadium and governs it through an appointed commission, with other money coming from sponsorships and revenue from the now dwindling number of games played there by the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The library cut was a product of the legislature scrounging money from libraries, senior centers and other places to pay for tax cuts that lower income people were left out of. I don't recall Hester opposing that at the time, but ...

Hester's district has benefited meanwhile from huge and dubious pork barrel spending, including to pay bills for a mismanaged planning and development district and to pump money into a Bible college that uses an oft-debunked faux historian as an exemplar of its beliefs.

Hester also damaged the state and helped himself by preventing fair assessment of billboards in the state for property tax purposes. Hester owns land on which billboards sit.

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