Auditors: State Unemployment Overpayments Only $44 Million!

What a relief!

A long-awaited audit of the state unemployment insurance (UI) program was the focus of a legislative hearing Tuesday, and since that's been a subject of interest here on The Arkansas Project lo these many months, I strolled over to see what was going down. You'll recall in September of last year, a U.S. Dept. of Labor report indicated that Arkansas had made an estimated $161 million in "improper" UI payments  from 2007-2010. The Dept. of Workforce Services (DWS), which administers … [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...]

Study: Now Let’s Reform Disastrous Unemployment Insurance Program To Make It Somewhat Less Disastrous

Unemployment insurance, what a mess

Ugh, the Arkansas unemployment insurance (UI) system, what a mess, am I right, people? What, oh, what could ever be done to fix such a terrible program, that is what you are sitting around wondering today, right now. You need wonder no longer, because the crackerjack policy wonks at the Tax Foundation have published an extensive new report focusing on insolvency in state unemployment insurance programs and what can be done to address the problem. You know it's authoritative because it is 32 … [Read more...]

Don’t Forget That The Arkansas Unemployment Insurance Nightmare Is Still A Thing!

Arkansas unemployment insurance waste

The nightmare that is the state unemployment insurance program has slipped from the front pages, so let's check in to remind ourselves what's going on there, and what happens next. As you'll recall, last month we learned that the federal government had identified an estimated $161 million in improper unemployment payments issued by Arkansas government from 2008-2011. The state Dept. of Workforce Services, which administers the unemployment program, has argued that it wasn't that high—they … [Read more...]

Who Will Crack Case of the $161 Million in Missing State Unemployment Funds?


A lot of interest from our post yesterday about the federal government's report that Arkansas had made more than $161 million in improper unemployment insurance payments over the last three years. So much so, in fact, that the question of just what happened to all that cash was a matter of interest to state lawmakers, who grilled Artee Williams, the director of the state Department of Workforce Services, at a legislative hearing this morning as to what the hell was going on. Williams didn't … [Read more...]

Feds: Arkansas Pays $161 Million in ‘Improper’ Unemployment Benefits (Updated!)

Wasted unemployment funds in Arkansas

From the department of waste, fraud and abuse: New data from the U.S. Department of Labor tells the sad tale of how states made some $19 billion in "improper" unemployment benefits over the last three years. In Arkansas, that total runs to more than $161 million in erroneous payments from 2008-2011, according to DOL. The lion's share of the erroneous payments, 63 percent, were made to people who continued receiving benefits after they had gone back to work, when they were no longer … [Read more...]