Senator vows to restore money cut from libraries | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 14, 2016

Senator vows to restore money cut from libraries

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 8:59 AM

John Lyon at the Arkansas News Bureau expands on Sen. David Burnett's vow to restore funding to libraries cut by the 2015 legislature.

Library spending was cut by $1 million to pay for Gov. Asa Hutchinson's income tax cut (which omitted the bottom 40 percent of wage earners) and to preserve a capital gains tax cut, overwhelmingly enjoyed by higher income taxpayers.

Hutchinson's current budget holds library spending to the reduced 2015 level. As Lyon's article notes, small cuts make a big difference — reduced hours, closing of a branch at Luxora in Burnett's district, reduced purchases of books and other materials.

“If we can’t find a million dollars to help people read, it’s a sad situation,” Burnett said during a Joint Budget Committee meeting last week.

..... Burnett said it does not make sense for Arkansas to take money from institutions that promote education and literacy.

“People look at Arkansas as being barefoot and ignorant, and if you take away the ability get reading material, it’s sad,” he said.

Burnett is a Democrat in a Republican-controlled legislature that is intent on still more budget cuts. Hutchinson future plans include taking money from general revenues to support highway building. He's also counting on Obamacare money to put $100 million or more into the budget.

Added library money? A longshot, I'd say. Unless, of course, the Democrats' insistence on getting something from the governor for providing the votes he must have to keep the Obamacare money coming produces a crumb or two.

Noted: Burnett has a Republican opponent in November.

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