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 report back…wait for it… that it’s just not doable! There will be lay-offs and reduced services and a famine will descend upon the land, should these draconian 3 percent cuts go into effect!
Think about that for a second. These state agencies, which typically expect as a matter of course to receive more money each year, suddenly find their budget preferences questioned by upstart GOP lawmakers. They respond back that they couldn’t possibly bear these cuts, based upon an assessment of their own needs. Guess we’ll just have to take their word for it.
On top of that, they were tasked with reporting their findings to their boss, the governor, who had already submitted his budget proposal. To respond in any other way would have made him look foolish. What kind of answer did you expect?
So we all recognize that it’s not at all surprising that they responded as they did, right?
Because all state agencies are well-managed paragons of financial integrity.
And the state’s financial management processes are all air-tight, and the very model of effectiveness and efficiency.
And not least of all, we can trust this information, because it comes from the mouth of Mike Beebe, who is a legendary authority on the state budget. Actually, I don’t mean that one in a sarcastic way—by all accounts, Beebe really knows his stuff when it comes to state budgeting, I guess. They say he’s good at it, and who am I, a relative nobody, to question that expertise, anyway?
Of course, even if we take his expertise for granted, we could question the actual value of said expertise, given that state budgeting in general is a notoriously shabby and fraudulent enterprise. To be “good” at state budgeting probably isn’t much to be proud of; it’s kinda like being “good” at reading Sanskrit or making balloon animals or blogging. OK, great, you’re an authority on something that’s probably not all that worth being an authority on. What else ya got?