Sunday, July 31, 2005

Asa, Bebee Answer Questions

By Mark Moore (click "comments" below for article).


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

An article today by Gary Lookadoo of the Benton County Daily record highlighted some of the differences between Mike Bebee and Asa Hutchinson.

One question was if they would favor repealing the sales tax on food and medicine. Bebee said yes, in stages. Hutchinson did not call for an outright repeal of the tax, but instead pointed to the fact that excess spending is the real root cause of high taxes. He pleged to fight excess spending and supported changing the law so that a supermajority would be required to raise sales taxes.

On the question of using state money for pork barrel "local improvement fund" projects, Bebee said that such projects should focus on higher education. Hutchinson called for the elimination of such projects altogether. I suppose that would be a specific example of his earlier pledge to cut excess spending.

Lookadoo noted that up to 40% of Arkansans are participating in a Department of Human Services program of some sort. He asked what we could do to change that. I consider both of their answers essentially a non-response. Neither seemed to buy into the premise of the question- that having 40% of your population on state assistance is too much government.

On the question of providing public welfare and education benefits to illegal aliens Bebee said he had already issued a ruling as attorney general and basically declined to comment further. Note: His opinion stated that such aid probably violated federal law. It did not speak to the issue of whether he was for or against it. Since his ruling, a federal judge has said that the issue was up to each state.

Hutchinson also declined to take a firm stand. He said, "It is important that they (state services) do not become a magnet to attract illegal immigration. However, when it comes to children, it is important for us to provide health care when it is needed through a balance of voluntary and charitable organizations, as well as the safety net provided by government programs."

Is that a long-winded way of saying "Yes"? Or is it a "no" because he only said "yes" to the part that is required by federal law? And there was no answer given, fence-straddling or otherwise, on the education part of the question.

On the question of what additional school reforms are needed, and can they be done without new taxes, Bebee took a passive tack. "We won't know for a while whether or not additional school reforms are needed in Arkansas". It sounds like he is waiting for the courts to tell him what to do.

Hutchinson had a delicate balancing act in his answer. He said, "we must get the courts out of our school system", but said "we do that by ensuring that we have provided the resources necessary for our students to achieve." It sounded tough at first, but it boils down to getting the courts out of the schools by doing everything the court wants. At the same time he spoke of providing resources, he maintained that raising property taxes was not the answer. Instead, he focused on shifting existing dollars around to find a more efficient mix.

Neither candidate had any really new ideas concerning the road problems in NWA.

So what do you think of their answers?

9:17 PM, July 31, 2005  
Anonymous Mark Moore said...

The original article can be found here...§ion=Editorial&storyid=23376

9:52 PM, July 31, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't beleive that Beebe defended the General Improvemnet Funds. Most Arkansans find this unaccountable spending at the behest of individual legislators disgusting and Beebe defended it. Asa will clean his clock on this one. As to immigration, I was happy with Asa's answers. He made the difference between legal and illegal and said that we should not provide any services except those required by federal law. Works for me.

7:34 AM, August 01, 2005  
Anonymous Mark said...

Bebee is trying to get a block of votes by throwing money at higher ed. Isn't he already beholdne to them? I despise buying votes with money and I hope it does not work.

As far as Asa goes, I WISH he had said what you say he said. He didn't. Maybe one can construe that from the idea that he did say the handouts must not become a magnet for illegals, but that is a different thing from saying you oppose scholarships for illegal aliens, or in-state tution rates for illegal aliens. Mike Huckabee is denying that his HB1525 would be a magnet to illegal aliens, and we all know that this is untrue.

1:38 PM, August 01, 2005  
Anonymous Mark said...

...and yes, Asa is right about the General Imporvement Fund.

1:39 PM, August 01, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asa may not have been that specific in this interview, but he has said on several occassions that he opposes granting scholarships or instate tuition to illegal aliens. One way to verify this is to check out the archives of the Dave Elswick show.

6:41 AM, August 02, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that. Back when the battle over SB 206 was raging ( a bill to do just that) I don't remember hearing from him.

6:06 AM, August 03, 2005  
Blogger HiddenImage said...

There is no question that Asa is right on the whole "root" of the tax problem being spending. The dems and republicans both have a problem with it visa vi the whole general improvement debacle.

Over at NWAPolitics they are talking about how the property rights issue continues to prove it has a long shelf-life in the Governor's race. Both Beebe and Asa, are going to have to answer to Arkansans on this issue. Asa appears to understand that. I'm not so sure Beebe does.

10:52 AM, August 03, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asa's comments on the Elswick show was during the heat of the debate over SB 206.

6:22 AM, August 04, 2005  

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