Governor, Agencies Say Trivial Budget Cuts Would Be Devastating, Which Was Entirely Predictable!

Clipart by BestVector - http://clipartof.com/215955

You guys, this Arkansas budget debate! What a mess! Let's see: House Minority Leader John Burris proposes cutting a handful of state agency budgets in a gambit to (very very very mildly) slow the rate of growth in state government. Gov. Mike Beebe, he does not like this at all, pal, mostly because he doesn't appreciate challenges to his budgeting authority. So Beebe tells the agencies to assess themselves and to let us know what effect these proposed budget cuts would have. And the agencies … [Read more...]

Arkansas Government and the $19 Billion Question

Kathy Webb and John Burris

According to the Arkansas News Bureau, House Budget Committee Chairman Kathy Webb, a Democrat, is "disappointed" and finds it "confusing" that Republican legislators have proposed spending reductions in this year’s state budget. Why aren’t they "working through the normal process,” she asks the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, as has always been done before? And I see her point. I can see how, from her perspective, it doesn’t seem fair. In previous sessions, Republicans have cheerfully worked … [Read more...]

More Budget Scrutiny for State Agencies? Why, Yes, Let’s Have Some of That!

More scrutiny needed. Wear rubber gloves.

Erroneous headline alert! Erroneous headline alert! A story over at the Arkansas News Bureau reports that "After Forestry Commission flap, state agencies’ budgets to get more scrutiny." I'm sure that "more scrutiny" was supposed to read "some scrutiny," since it's hard to believe most of these state agencies get any scrutiny at all. Now that the financial shenanigans at the troubled Arkansas Forestry Commission have been flushed into the open and the appropriate heads have rolled (Forestry … [Read more...]

Forest Fracas: Just What DOES It Take To Lose Your Job In the Beebe Administration?

Burned: John Shannon and the Arkansas Forest Fracas

 Arkansas Forestry Commission chief John Shannon is feeling the heat now that his agency is some $4 million in the hole—and Gov. Mike Beebe's asking lawmakers for an extra $2.7 million to clean things up at the gravely mismanaged agency. Reports the Arkansas News Bureau's John Lyon: Forestry Commission Director John Shannon and Tim Leathers, deputy director of the state Department of Finance and Administration, told a legislative panel that the governor plans to ask for about $2.7 million in … [Read more...]

Looking Back On the Horror of Arkansas Economic Stimulus Spending!

Economic stimulus and accountability

Holiday week! Thanksgiving! Family obligations! That series of oddly decontextualized exclamations means you should have low expectations for new material on this blog the next couple of days. Well, that's not exactly right, since you already have low expectations for this site. So you know those low expectations you have? OK, let's go ahead and lower them a bit further. There may be a couple of updates over the next couple of days, should the fancy strike, but don't go holding me to … [Read more...]

More Stimulus Snafus: Arkansas Green Jobs Training Program a Bust! (Updated!)

The vanity of human wishes

We've been conducting an ongoing exploration of how economic stimulus funds from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("Booooo! Hisssssss!"—Me) have been spent in Arkansas, based on the most recent report from the state Recovery office. What we've seen thus far has not presented a strong case for the efficacy of stimulus measures. For instance, on Tuesday we looked at the shortcomings of U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) stimulus funding, which DOE's own inspector general declared to be … [Read more...]

Terrible State Licensing Law Hammers Contractors!

Arkansas licensing law hammers contractors

I gotta tell you, the thing about state government is, you can't let your guard down for a second, or they'll go doing something else more or less outrageous. Today's entry: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Alison Sider reports on the ongoing state effort to force licensing on home remodeling contractors (subscription required). A law passed in this year's legislative session, Act 1208, requires residential remodeling contractors working on projects that exceed $2,000 to be licensed by the … [Read more...]

Now They Tell Us: Stimulus Energy Programs’ Performance ‘Less Than Optimal’! (Updated!)

Arkansas green jobs word cloud

Yesterday we looked in on how Arkansas has fared in spending economic stimulus funds awarded under the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. That whole exercise in futility is in the process of winding down, as the numbers show: The state has now spent some $2.9 billion of its $3.2 billion stimulus allotment. As we've noted, all those millions and billions have failed to move the needle on the state's unemployment rate, which is actually higher now than when the ARRA was enacted in … [Read more...]