The day of the unicorn: Arkansas free-lunch budgeting continues | Arkansas Blog

Friday, July 1, 2016

The day of the unicorn: Arkansas free-lunch budgeting continues

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 7:14 AM

click to enlarge WITCH DOCTOR: Asa Hutchinson's everything-for-noting government finance outlook is reminiscent of George Bush's "voodoo economics" line.
  • WITCH DOCTOR: Asa Hutchinson's everything-for-noting government finance outlook is reminiscent of George Bush's "voodoo economics" line.
The morning paper contains a wealth of evidence of Arkansas voodoo economics — or call it Brownback economics — in the Asa Hutchinson administration.

* FREE ROADS: The governor told the lobby for highway contractors that he wants more money for highway construction but no tax increases. 

The governor noted that he's building more highways for free now, by using budgeted state surpluses. Where do budgeted state surpluses come from? Cutting other state needs. See: Zero pay increases for state employees. Slap-dash environmental regulation (though this is about philosophy as well as money.) Etc. And if more general revenue is tapped for highways, he said, we can just "offset" it with other state budget cuts.

* FREE PRISONS: A consultant says the Arkansas prison population will continue to rise (an almost 30 percent growth over 10 years, which means tens of millions in costs) because of tough parole policies. But, remember, no tax increases for prison construction, more parole officers or any other punishment costs will be allowed. And the governor said education must be protected. So if highways, education and prisons can't be cut, what's left? The state Apiary Board?

* FREE HEALTH CARE: Thanks to Obamacare, the federal money for Medicaid expansion is going to keep pouring into Arkansas. But, a footnote: An analysis says the Obamacare Medicaid expansion is going to cost about $300 million more than anticipated over five years, about a fourth of that increase the state's responsibility. (That's not as bad as it sounds in a $9 billion budget, about a 3 percent increase.) No problem. I assume Hutchinson believes we can cover that with "conservative budgeting," too. Since education, highways, prisons and health care can't be touched, nor may taxes be raised, where now will the offsets be found?

Higher education: Bend over.

* FREE MONEY: Not only do we get all these services without any additional cost, the governor is still talking about yet another income tax cut in 2017. (It will likely again not be extended to the working poor, same as 2015, because their high numbers in the population provide too much tax base to give up and still give the rich more comfort.)

In short: Arkansas needs more money for highways, prisons and medical care, not to mention sufficient growth money to preserve existing education sufficiency funding.

How to pay for it? Tax cuts, of course.

And legislators said we didn't need Common Core arithmetic standards.

PS: I can't help but add that we are flush enough to have Insurance Commissioner Allen Kerr planning a new palatial building for himself in the shadow of the Capitol dome (perhaps with a dome of his own, according to one account of his building dreams.)





Tags: , , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • An open line for Sunday

    An open line.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • City plans more spending on 30 Crossing

    The Little Rock City Board meets Tuesday to set an agenda for the following week and among the "consent" items is a new $175,000 with Nelson/Nygaard consultants to "assist with a comprehensive review" of the 30 Crossing project, otherwise known as the bigger concrete ditch the Department of Transportation wants to tear through the heart of Little Rock.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • NFL owners rise to defense of players against Trump and false patriots

    Many football team owners have risen to the defense of players against Donald Trump criticism as yet another racially fraught issue seems likely to gain increasing heat thanks to Trump's rhetoric.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016
  • Arkansas: Land of .......

    Welcome to Arkansas: Land of cowardly politicians, discriminatory laws, inhumane turkey drops and lots and lots of Trump voters.
    • Oct 8, 2016
  • Policy group urges opposition to new charter seats in Little Rock

    The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is urging supporters of the Little Rock School District to tell state Board of Education members they oppose applications to be heard this week to dramatically expand the number of charter school seats in the Little Rock School District.
    • Mar 9, 2016

Most Shared

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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