Report: Arkansas Terrible On Transparency

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Arkansans who care about transparency in government received some bad news today. According to an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) study on tax cronyism released today, Arkansas is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to reporting exactly what special breaks the state’s tax code gives to favored industries. William Freeland, an ALEC research analyst who worked on the report, told The Arkansas Project in a phone interview: The biggest thing here on Arkansas is in … [Read more...]

Joan Adcock, Let My Uber Go!

uber lyft regs

Relatively new ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft will have to submit to burdensome, archaic taxi regulations -- or not operate at all -- if one of Little Rock’s Board of Directors has her way. Both the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Arkansas Times have recently reported on City Director Joan Adcock’s crusade to save Little Rock taxi customers from the menace of cheap, convenient taxi alternatives like Uber and Lyft. From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: "The bottom line is that people … [Read more...]

Proposal Puts Private Property On Endangered List

Mussels (Picard Facepalm)

Arkansas can expect shrunken property rights -- and more taxpayer dollars spent on lawsuits against private landowners -- if a federal critical habitat designation goes into effect as expected later this year. In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its plan to designate the Neosho Mucket as an endangered species and the Rabbitsfoot Mussel as a threatened species. The FWS also created a new critical habitat area that would add burdensome federal regulations on private … [Read more...]

Arkansas needs tort reform, Copland says

Tort Reform (Generic)

The Little Rock chapter of the Federalist Society hosted a debate on tort reform Tuesday that likely foreshadows the arguments citizens will hear in the 2015 session. The debate, styled “Is Tort Reform Conservative?”, was held between the Manhattan Institute’s James Copland and the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association’s Brian Brooks. Brooks argued that tort reform undercuts local control by placing restrictions on juries, and that it devalues the lives of those seeking damages from an … [Read more...]

Farm Bill Is For The Wealthy

Farm Bill Latest

Over at the Weekly Standard, Jay Cost provides an excellent explanation of the policy and politics behind Tom Cotton’s increasingly scrutinized farm-bill vote. Cost explains that even though Cotton has been taking political hits on his vote from the Pryor campaign, a vote against the farm bill was the correct decision on policy grounds. Cost writes: Let’s take the politics of it first. Cook captures well the mythology of the farm bill, that it helps “farmers and folks in rural and … [Read more...]

Teen Unemployment Rising Higher and Higher in Arkansas

Teen Unemployement Rising

Teen unemployment is dramatically on the rise in Arkansas; a proposed minimum wage increase is likely to make it worse. According to the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), Arkansas currently has a teen (16 to 19) unemployment rate of 32 percent, which is up from 21 percent in 2011. Indeed, jobs for teenagers are beginning to become so scarce that they were referred to as “luxury goods” in a recent article. Michael Pakko, chief economist at the Arkansas Institute for Economic Advancement, said … [Read more...]

Good Money After Bad? Nordex, Part II

AEDC's job creation predictions have a tendency to not exactly work out.

“If at first you don’t succeed, just blow some more taxpayer money” seems to be motto of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC). According to the Associated Press: The Arkansas Economic Development Commission is providing $2 million for a new company to locate in a former wind turbine plant in Jonesboro. The commission said Thursday that the money will help TrinityRail Maintenance Services Inc. convert the now-closed Nordex USA wind turbine plant for its processes. According … [Read more...]

Top Arkansas Cronies Say They Shouldn’t Have To Defend Cronyism

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Last month, some of the state’s top cronies penned a letter to Arkansas gubernatorial candidates, asking them to pledge their support for continued taxpayer funding of their favorite pet projects. According to the authors of the letter, including State Chamber of Commerce CEO Randy Zook, they “shouldn’t have to explain” the benefits of the governor’s Quick Action Closing (Slush) Fund. They should just get the money because, well, they want it. And they want an unqualified promise from each … [Read more...]