Westerman: Fund Highways, Cut Obamacare

Eye On Washington

As you might have heard by now, the United States Highway Trust Fund is scheduled to run out of money in less than two weeks. This is bad news -- because typically when politicians say they need more money for transportation, that means you can expect them to try to raise your taxes. Here’s the current lay of the land from Arkansas News: The Highway Trust Fund expires May 31. Nearly 1 million jobs will be affected in the highway materials industry and “time is running out for Congress to … [Read more...]

How Much Will Lockheed Martin Project Cost Taxpayers?

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced yesterday that he’ll be calling a special session later this month. At the top of the agenda: getting legislative approval for “incentives” to lure a Lockheed Martin defense project to Camden, Arkansas. Of course, “incentives” is legislative-speak for using your taxpayer dollars to fund big business. We at The Arkansas Project have been known to call this “crony capitalism.” According to various media reports, the project, if approved, would create … [Read more...]

Democrats Confused About Whether They Can Still Win In Arkansas

Arkansas capitol

You might have heard that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman, was in town last night for a Democratic Party of Arkansas (DPA) fundraiser. Here’s a recap from the AP: Republicans gained control of the Arkansas Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction in the 2012 general election, and they expanded their majorities in the Legislature, won all seven constitutional offices and gained control of the state's six seats in Congress in the 2014 … [Read more...]

Report: Arkansas 36% Over 2014 PO Enrollment Projections

Arkansas Capitol sunburst

One of the consistent problems with big, new government entitlements is that politicians and bureaucrats usually understate or underestimate the program's actual cost. A new report out today shows that the “private option” in Arkansas and other Medicaid expansion programs across the nation suffered from that exact problem in 2014. Arkansas’s “private option” Medicaid expansion turned out to be 36 percent over the enrollment projections originally expected for 2014. Enrollment for 2014 was … [Read more...]

Senator Hutchinson On Religion, Cowardice, and Cannabis

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It is unusual for a state senator to explain that he is a coward. Recently, state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson applied that term to himself when explaining the recent brouhaha over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to the Huffington Post. I spoke to Sen. Hutchinson to ask him why he called himself a coward -- and why he thought the originally proposed RFRA (HB 1228) needed amending. Sen. Hutchinson, chairman of the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee, voted for HB 1228 in committee but … [Read more...]

Legislature Celebrates “Arkansas Gives Day” With A Crony Capitalism-Themed Party

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Last Thursday was “Arkansas Gives Day”: the General Assembly celebrated by approving a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to give even more taxpayer funding to corporations. Maybe next session the legislature will pass a bill to give tax breaks to brothels on National Abstinence Day! All the irony seemed to be lost on most legislators, as the constitutional amendment lifting a cap in the state budget on Super Project Obligation Bonds passed 70-22. Currently, that cap is … [Read more...]

School Choice Bill Sits on Governor’s Desk

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The Arkansas House and Senate recently passed the first school voucher program in the state’s history. The bill is currently on the Governor’s desk waiting to be signed. From the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice: The Arkansas legislature has passed House Bill 1552, a school voucher for children with disabilities and the state’s first school choice program. The bill, which passed with strong bipartisan support, is now headed to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk. With his signature, … [Read more...]

Revised RFRA Now Law In Arkansas

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A slightly-revised Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed the House and was signed into law by Gov. Asa Hutchinson today. State Rep. Bob Ballinger said in his speech in favor of the bill that the new RFRA would still accomplish his ultimate goal: protecting religious liberty in Arkansas. Ballinger said: Senate Bill 975 is essentially the federal RFRA. What we’ve done is we’ve ‘Arkansasnized’ it I guess. What we started with and what I said from the very beginning with (HB) 1228 is it … [Read more...]