Saturday, July 15, 2006

Platforms on Business Issues Take Different Approaches

An analysis of the policy platforms on business issues reveals that Asa Hutchinson and AG Mike Bebee have different priorities for business support. One of Bebee's biggest appeals to some businesses is a policy he can't discuss openly, but will be revealed in this article.

Hutchinson has been the most forthcoming on his program for business, and just about every other issue, but Bebee has revealed enough in bits and pieces so that an analysis is possible.

Hutchinson's priorities seem to be creating a broadly friendly climate for business, with a special focus on small business. His programs would help a lot of people some, and would help businesses that were already here as well as those that might come. Bebee's emphasis, to the degree it can be ascertained by his substance-free campaign syle, would be to focus on targeting a few key industries or businesses and helping them a lot. The focus would be on bringing new business in, or helping favored giant businesses start new projects in Arkansas.

(continued, click "SATURDAY" below for rest of article and scroll down, or if sent straight here just scroll down)

6 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

For example, Hutchinson wants to remove the "retail sales tax" from utilities used for manufacturing (one might wonder why such a tax was ever assessed since electricity used for manufacturing products is clearly not a retail sale). He would also like to increase the expense write-offs for small business. These are both broad-based help for business which creates an over-all healthier climate.

Contrast that with Bebee. He wants to leave the utility taxes in place, or only reduce them a bit, or slowly- it is hard to get a direct answer out of him. He is not so keen in raising expense write-offs across the board either. Rather, he wants a fund set up to be used at his discretion to make deals with lucky businesses that he will personally select. Those lucky few will get a lot of help and a special advantage from the government over their competitors. Hutchinson's plan does not pick narrow favorites, but rather helps all businesses generally.

Hutchinson's plan is better suited to help small business that we already have grow into somewhat bigger businesses. Bebee wants to focus on the "homerun", such as bringing in a new Toyota plant, or getting Tyson to build that next processing plant here instead of Mexico. To do that, he would leverage tax dollars to lure in the large businesses.

I want to make one salient point about such efforts. Those companies are run by very smart people- people who are generally smarter than the politicians they are bargining with. Plus, the politician wants his picture in the paper in front of a new plant that he "helped bring to the state." Because of this, the businesses will play states and localities off against each other, and the "winner" of the plant will be the locality who overbid the most.

That is correct. As a rule the politician who offered more of his constitients tax dollars than all the other credit-hungry politicians in the country is the one who "wins" the plant. Think about that the next time you see one of those photos.

Now I mentioned that Bebee has a subtle business platform item that helps him with some businesses. It's one he can't talk about as such, but the businesses who benefit can "read between the lines".

I am referring to the use of illegal aliens as a labor pool. There is a tangled up situation in the state, and country, where many otherwise legitimate businesses have come to rely on illegal aliens for a cheap labor force. Bringing in large numbers of illegal laborers has allowed these businesses to depress wages and lower costs.

Mike Bebee has made it clear that he will do nothing about illegal aliens in this state, and in fact contends that the state has no role in such efforts. That is a wink to the businesses who both 1) knowingly use illegal aliens and 2) have no desire to "go legit". There are a lot of these people, many of them otherwise respectable members of the community, and some of them Republicans when it is convienient.

Asa Hutchinson prefers a "defense in depth" approach to the illegal alien problem- there are things the feds should be doing and things the states can and should be doing. That may win him favor with the average citizen and small employer who is playing by the rules, but it represents a potential financial disaster for a company that has, say a poultry plant full of illegal aliens working all shifts.

Such people are going to back Bebee hard, and some of their ill-gotten gains will wind up in Bebee's campaign coffers in order to keep their operations from being impeded.

In conclusion, the business community in this state faces a stark contrast in direction this November. Those already big enough or well-connected enough to hope for the special favors Bebee intends to give may well back the Democrat this fall, regardless of their nominal party. Small businesses, or even large ones who prefer to make money by serving customers instead of lobbying government for special advantages will prefer Hutchinson. Cutting across all these factors is that employers who have counted on a workforce of illegal aliens to make them money and mean to continue doing so will back Bebee. Those who use legitimate labor or who wish to "go straight if only the other guys had to as well" will find themselves drawn to Hutchinson.

7:09 AM, July 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"make deals with lucky businesses that he will personally select"

In other words, Beebe will only select businesses that will help him politically.
Of course Beebe isn't strong on immigration! Not only do the Democrats want to count on the illegal vote (because they can't drum up more votes any other way), they want to use them indirectly in employers who hire them, as you just said. In all instances, it all comes down to this one point: MIKE BEEBE CAN'T BE TRUSTED TO LEAD THIS STATE.

8:29 AM, July 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some in the press have crowed a bit about how Bebee has gotten so much support from the "Business Community" for a Democrat. I think we see why. These are not people who want a level playing field. These are people who want to use government to tilt the playing field in their direction.

Bebee is getting support from this segment of the business community because he is able to "out corrupt" Hutchinson.

8:40 AM, July 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems as if what you are really upset about is that Beebe has stolen a play straight out of the Republican playbook. Don't worry though, you still have god, gays, and guns. Maybe if you guys didn't have all of your money tied up in those monolithic "churches" Beebe wouldn't be doubling you up in campaign contributions.

9:30 PM, July 16, 2006  
Anonymous Mark Moore said...

I am not a Republican and not upset, I am just analyzing the facts.

Does one have to go to church to be concerned about corruption?

5:13 AM, July 17, 2006  
Anonymous Mark Moore said...

Oh, perhaps you were not meaning to talk to me. Still, everyone should be concerned about corruption- government and businesses using one another to play favorites.

11:11 AM, July 17, 2006  

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