AEDC’s Latest Less-Than-Superior Performance

Superior Oodles

Superior Industries is closing one of its plants in northwest Arkansas. According to news reports, this will result in the loss of 500 jobs, sucking even more air out of Governor Beebe’s “jobs record.” It’s a heartbreaking story for the community, but an even more gut-wrenching tale for taxpayers -- and it’s simply the latest in a long string of failures by the state to prop up private industry. Last week, the company announced it would shut down their Rogers plant and move production to a … [Read more...]

The Unfortunate Reality of Arkansas’ Fortunate Jobs Report

Unemployment

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services has released the latest jobs numbers for the state and they just couldn’t be happier with themselves.  The Arkansas unemployment rate has dropped to 7.2%!  This is great news for our economy, right?  A real recovery!  Max Brantley hasn’t been this excited since Mark Martin got elected. But let’s dig a little deeper into these employment numbers and see what we find. In their press release, DWS says: Arkansas’ civilian labor force increased … [Read more...]

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...]

Behold The Despair Of Arkansas Economic Stimulus Spending!

Screen Shot 2011-11-14 at 12.23.42 PM

Here it is a Monday in November and you're just sitting there thinking, "Gee, I wonder how Arkansas is doing on spending its share of economic stimulus funding, as provided under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)? If only there were some way for me to check on that!" I know that is probably what you are thinking, right now. Hey, lookee there! The state recently issued its latest quarterly progress report on stimulus spending in Arkansas (PDF), and it is just a testament … [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...]

Fun With Numbers: Let’s Estimate Double-Dipper Artee Williams’ Pension!

The Quarter-Million Dollar Man: Artee Williams hits the jackpot.

This story about the Arkansas Dept. of Workforce Services making $161 million in improper unemployment payments has opened up some swell reportage and commentary from around the state. A sample: John Lyon at the Arkansas News Bureau contributed this nice issue primer based on department officials announcing that they were studying the overpayments to determine the extent of the problem. Our friend Michael Tilley of The City Wire in Fort Smith published the cri de coeur of a small business … [Read more...]

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

lost_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...]