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...]

The Not-So-Independent Citizens Committee

Independent Citizens Committee

Over the weekend, Republicans at their party convention voted to oppose an upcoming “ethics reform” ballot measure in 2014 that waters down term limits for state legislators. Here is the report from the AP: Arkansas Republicans have voted to oppose a ballot measure that would loosen the state's term limits and tighten state ethics laws. Delegates at the state GOP's convention on Saturday approved a resolution opposing the proposed constitutional amendment appearing on the November ballot. … [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...]

Primary Runoff Day Is Here

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Results for the primary runoffs -- such as the GOP nomination for State Senate District 17 (State Rep. John Burris vs. Scott Flippo) and Attorney General (Leslie Rutledge vs. David Sterling) -- will be announced tonight. If you haven’t already voted, maybe you should: your vote will matter more in a runoff election, when voter turnout is dramatically lower, than during primary and general elections. The Burris/Flippo race will likely be a close one, with wide-ranging implications for the future … [Read more...]

The InvestArk Tax Credit: A Terrible Investment That Arkansas Made For You

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

Nearly half of the 45 projects funded with state incentives from 2005 to 2012 reviewed in a special report released Tuesday had “unfavorable cost-benefit ratios” to the state, according to the Division of Legislative Audit (DLA). Primarily, when people think of state-funded economic development programs, they usually assume those funds go towards “creating jobs,” but this recently-released report shows that just isn’t the case in Arkansas for the Consolidated Incentive Act (CIA) of … [Read more...]

Senator Dismang Is Open to Letting the Sun Shine In

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Sen. Jonathan Dismang made a promising announcement when Roby Brock interviewed him earlier this week: Dismang said that he’s open-minded about broadcasting/live-streaming state Senate procedures. Dismang’s statement creates a welcome contrast with other members of the Senate leadership, who have been pointedly dismissive about shining a light onto Senate deliberations. I think it’s something we’ll discuss, but it’s something we’ll discuss as a whole. It would not be my decision solely to … [Read more...]

Three Cheers For More Transparency In The House

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Speaker of the House Davy Carter has come in for some criticism on this blog in the past, but I want to compliment him for his latest transparency initiative: those who want to see what’s happening in the state House of Representatives can now watch current and past House proceedings on their tablets and smart phones. The updates to ArkansasHouse.org also include viewers to read the text of each bill that is under consideration. Speaker Carter’s upgrades place the House far ahead of the … [Read more...]

Arkansas Democrats Float Ethics Ideas For Everyone Else

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Arkansas Democrats love ethics. In fact, they love ethics so much, three of their state elected officials have been forced to resign from office in the last year -- one for a felony, another for a felony, and another, well, for the felony act of voter fraud (and he supports ethics reform, too!). All of these scandals have forced Democrats to go on the offensive regarding ethics reform and transparency, announcing a new ethics caucus last month. (You can read about some of their efforts … [Read more...]