Beebe’s School Funding Plan Derailed

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Last week, we warned you about a deal that was going on behind the scenes: Governor Beebe was using the teacher insurance premium ‘crisis’ to exercise more control over school funding, so that he could then redistribute the funds to other districts. You know: from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs, that kind of thing. While a few Republican legislators seemed anxious to give the governor exactly what he wanted, others were sounding the alarm behind the scenes. One of … [Read more...]

Beebe Decides He’s OK With Wasting Tax Dollars On Special Sessions

Beebs

Throughout this year’s legislative session, many lawmakers called for a special session to deal with the issue of Medicaid expansion. Their argument was that the decision was too important to rush and many lawmakers wanted more time to visit with their constituents. Governor Mike Beebe -- the only person who can call a special session -- flatly rejected all of these calls for a special session, however, citing their expense to taxpayers. In fact, around the first of January, just before the … [Read more...]

Saving Medicaid: Sensible, Free-Market Based Reforms for Arkansas

Mike Beebe can make it rain money -- we just have to say "yes."

I was shocked to hear Governor Beebe in his “state of the state” address a few weeks ago that expanding Medicaid “will create additional private-sector jobs. We just have to say yes.” I was equally shocked to read this statement from Arkansas Business in their “legislative wish list:” “Expand Medicaid to the quarter of a million Arkansans lacking health insurance...you will be preserving rural hospitals, jobs, and and the health of your fellow citizens.”  Saving jobs by accumulating additional … [Read more...]

Burris on Arkansas Budget Battle: ‘They Don’t Like What We’re Doing Because It’s Effective’

Burris and Beebe

Rep. John Burris, the Republican minority leader in the Arkansas House of Representatives, spoke to a meeting of the Central Arkansas Young Republicans today at Whole Hog Cafe in Little Rock. Since I've written here about the budget debate at the Capitol, I stopped by to hear Burris's thoughts on the current state of play. Burris, who along with his colleagues has proposed budget reductions totaling some $21 million, noted that Gov. Mike Beebe has been unreceptive to his message of reining in … [Read more...]

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

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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...]

Report: Arkansas 6th In Nation for State, Local Sales Tax Rates

Arkansas 6th for state, local sales taxes

Our friends at the Tax Foundation are out with updated rankings on combined state and local sales tax rates, and here you go: Arkansas checks in with the sixth highest combined rates in the nation. I'll not belabor the point on that, as it's something we've seen before. But it's always a salutary reminder: since Arkansas legislators convened this week in Little Rock for a fiscal session devoted to budget matters, it's worth considering what you're paying in taxes and what you're getting for … [Read more...]

Beebe Keeps Pushing Dubious Education Ranking—And He Should Stop!

Welcome to Arkansas, the Paperwork State

Recently we cast a questioning glance at the claim peddled by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe that the state's K-12 education system is "the fifth-best in the United States." The governor bases the claim on the annual Education Week Quality Counts ranking released in January. Trouble is, it's not really true. The University of Arkansas Office of Education Policy issued a whiz-bang assessment of the problems with the rankings. They note that the overall state ratings, like the one Beebe trumpets, are … [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...]