Sunday, October 26, 2014

State Senator Bryan Kings Explains Why the PO has Cornered Future Legislatures

State Senator Bryan King of Green Forest has twice made the Arkansas Watch list of Top Ten Legislators.  One reason is that he tells his constituents the truth, even when it paints members of his party in a negative light.  That is a refreshing change from the typical pattern where even the good ones feel obligated to cover for the bad ones.   Here Senator King calmly and rationally explains what a horrible position future legislatures have been placed in by the actions of his Obamacare-loving colleagues. ......

Expanding Obama care in Arkansas has put future state budgets in the red
For the past biennium the architects of the private option have been telling everyone that the health care plan is a good deal for Arkansas. The reality is that the private option implemented Obamacare in Arkansas and is threatening to put future state budgets in the red.
Many voters and legislators have given the benefit of the doubt to the architects of the private option, in large part because we haven't yet had to pay for it.  Even people with the best of intentions may change their minds when the bills come due.

In the case of the private option, Arkansas doesn't have to begin matching federal funding until Fiscal 2017. That presents a grim financial prospect for the freshmen class of legislators who will be elected in November. In January they will take their first oaths of office, and before they complete their legislative careers they will have to figure out how the state can possibly afford hundreds of millions of dollars in additional expenses brought on by the private option.
Based on the state’s economic performance over the past five years, it’s reasonable to assume that state government revenue will grow at a rate of 3.14 percent over the next five years. However, we should keep in mind that assumptions of a 3.14 percent growth rate are an optimistic “best case scenario.”
State revenue growth is slowed by a downturn in the economy, which could result from any number of possibilities – a crisis in the oil-producing regions of the Middle East or a sudden spike in inflation rates, for example.
But if we are willing to assume that nothing unexpected happens in the Middle East or on Wall Street, we are looking at growth in Fiscal Year 2020 of $184 million over the previous year. This year’s freshmen legislators will be the General Assembly’s veteran leaders in the regular session of 2019, when the budget for Fiscal 2020 must be approved. Their duty will be to distribute that $184 million in projected growth to the state agencies that provide vital services.

Traditionally, growth money is distributed to public schools from kindergarten through grade 12, to colleges and universities, to prisons, to health care services and to the many smaller agencies that make up state government. Each entity gets a percentage of the total revenue, which is their traditional “piece of the pie.”
Long-standing tradition may come to an end when budgets for Fiscal Year 2020 are written because the private option is on pace to eat up almost all of the projected growth in revenue. That means schools, colleges, universities and prisons will have to live on less.
Under the provisions of the Arkansas private option, as it’s now written, in Fiscal Year 2020 almost every penny of growth money will be obligated to paying for the private option. Why? Because in Fiscal 2020 the state will have to contribute 10 percent of the total costs of the health plan. Even though 10 percent may not sound like much it will amount to $181 million.
In other words the state Department of Human Services, which administers the private option, will get $181 million of the $184 million in total growth money available in Fiscal 2020. That leaves only $3 million for the entities that have traditionally received a share of each year’s growth - public schools, higher education, cities and counties, prisons, law enforcement and economic development.
Public schools will fare better than others because the Arkansas constitution mandates that the legislature provide for an adequate education. However, the constitution has no similar mandate for higher education, so state-supported colleges and universities are looking at stagnant budgets in Fiscal 2020 and beyond.
If our economy continues to perform as it has for the past five years, and if the private option remains in place, higher education can count on annual increases in their state aid of only 0.22 percent over the next five years. Colleges and universities will have to pay for any increase in operating costs by raising tuition and fees.
Budgets for prisons, drug courts and parole systems are projected to increase at a rate of 2.4 percent a year, again if we base assumptions on the performance of the past five years. The Human Services Department would grow almost twice as fast under this scenario. Its budget would increase by 4.7 percent, mainly because of the necessity of paying for the private option. Arkansas prison officials are pleading for revenue to build more facilities to house the steady and dramatic growth in the inmate population, but there will be no additional funds if the private option absorbs all growth.
If we experience an economic slowdown the private option will become an even greater burden on the public treasury. In that event, state government will have to slash budgets and cut services.

Everyone wants transparency and accountability in government, and everybody has different ideas about how to achieve them. One way is for policy makers to open their eyes and honestly face the issues. We have bought something and soon we will have to pay for it. The architects of the private option have an obligation to look at the numbers and consider the long-term fiscal security of colleges, universities, prisons and the numerous state agencies that stand to lose a share of their state revenue while Human Services receives an ever greater share.
Denial of reality is not constructive and it’s an unwise policy for governing. It’s like throwing your credit card bills in the trash instead of paying them, in the hopes they’ll go away.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Who to Vote for in Fayetteville City Council Races and Why

What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don't like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don't expect freedom to survive very long.

The city council election in Fayetteville might be the most important election in the state this year.  This is not only because Fayetteville has been a great city, a jewel in the crown of our state, but also because the contrast between the candidates is so vast.  The political distance between even Tom Cotton and Mark Pryor is not so vast as the distance between the liberal-fascist slate of candidates and the "conservatarion" slate.

Fayetteville has had a leftist city council for years.  Most residents put up with it as long as they restricted their activities to pedestrian level incompetence and issuing toothless proclamations about how much better they are than the rest of the state.  The new breed of liberal is not so harmless because the new left does not look much like the old left- rather it looks a lot like the old fascism.

The council passed Ordinance 119.  This measure would set up a commission with the power to fine private businesses $500 per day if the commission felt that the private business was not being accommodating enough to commission-favored groups. Expect the commission to function similar to the one in Colorado who demanded that a baker make a wedding cake for a homosexual "marriage" even if it violates his conscience.   The same thing happened in Oregon. Once privately owned businesses had the right to refuse service to any customer.  Now, that is only true if the customer is not a member of a special class of citizens.

Opponents of 119 say that the ordinance could lead to mandating that businesses allow patrons to use their restrooms according to what gender they claim to identify with, rather than the restroom appropriate to their sex.   Supporters of the measure scoff at these claims, but let me ask you, did any of you think 15 years ago that cake makers would be forced out of business simply for choosing not to make wedding cakes for homosexual "marriages"?

What seems outrageous and outlandish today is what happens a few years down the road.  I can remember when homosexuals were only asking for their acts to be made legal on the basis of "what happens in my bedroom is not the public's business."  I don't want my daughter to have to deal with males lurking about inside the women's restroom at the mall, and based on the history it is not far fetched at all to see that happening under 119 in a few short years.

Look, the "conservatarian" slate is much more conservative and religious than Fayetteville on average, just as the present city council is more authoritarian, aggressively anti-Christian and leftist than Fayetteville on average.  This is a consequence of the big middle not getting very involved in politics.   The media is going to try to tell you that the one side should be disqualified because they are too extreme in their views while failing to inform you that the other side is at least as extreme on the other side.

That is ignoring the important question.  The most important question in this race is not who is the most extreme in their views, but rather who is the most willing to use government force to impose those views on you.  The fascist left wants the machinery of government to impose their views, the libertarian-leaning right have their own views, but they don't want to use the machinery of government to impose them on you- they want to destroy the machinery.  The conservatarians who are running are not running so that they can seize control of this "Civil Rights" commission and start using it to beat up on businesses which discriminate against Christians.  Rather they are running so that they can abolish this commission altogether.

So this election, citizens of Fayetteville, is not a question of who is left or who is right.  It is not even a question of whether homosexual marriage should be recognized by the state.   It is an election between freedom and fascism.   Those who want fascism simply because today the machinery favors their cause are fools, for it may favor a cause which they oppose tomorrow.   The best policy is freedom from government interference so that voluntary choices between individuals defines our society.   Dismantle the machine so that none of us have to worry about it being seized by this faction or that one and used against us or our neighbors.

With that being said. here is the Freedom Ticket....
Paul Phaneuf for the Ward One  (south half of town) seat held by incumbent Adella Gray.
Josh Crawford for the Ward Two seat (central part of town between I 49 and Hwy 45) held by incumbent Mark Kinion.
John La Tour for the open seat in Ward Four (west of I 49) left by departing Alderwoman Rhonda Adams.

Fayetteville voters can consult this map for more details about what ward they live in.


Mark is an advocate of a philosophy of government called Localism.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

You Sound Whiney When You Complain Holding Your Nose

John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the House by the permission of every Republican Congressman including those here in Arkansas, is out raising large sums of cash for homosexual Republican candidates across the nation.  This is while judges that Republicans appointed continue to assist the forces of darkness in the insane war on natural law that is the push for state approval of homosexual "marriage". Meanwhile, Karl Rove "The Architect" of George W. Bush's two Presidential wins is out raising money to destroy the Tea Party.

This and countless other data points clearly shows conservatives that the GOP establishment is trying to get rid of them.   Indeed the Republican establishment will spend millions to support candidates which will disrespect conservatives, and also spend more millions attacking candidates who do respect them.   In spite of this, in what has to be one of the most stunning displays of willful ignorance and refusal to face reality in American political history, many of my conservative friends will in the next month trudge down to the polls and vote for a straight Republican ticket.

As I said, many of these people are my friends.  I have known them for years.  But if you are one of them and you go vote straight Republican ticket again I really don't want to listen to your whining and complaining about the Republican party over the next two years.  You are the one responsible for their behavior because you still voted for all of their candidates.  You enable them, so your constant complaining about what they do after you continue to enable them is becoming beyond tiresome.  It is reaching the point of a mental disorder.   Face the reality about what they are, and then DO something about it.   I guess this is sort of an online intervention.

The evidence is obvious that continuing to do what you have been doing has not worked and there is a strong case to be made that doing government this way cannot work.   Government cannot work as the founders intended with the tight monolithic political system we now have.  But I don't want to put too much on you now.  We should talk over the next two years about what to do next time so that we are not in this same situation again.  For now, let's take baby steps to real self-government.

Pick a Republican who is not worthy of your vote (if you are realistic you will have several to choose from) in an office where there will be the least amount of consequences and show your displeasure at the party forcing your to hold your nose on all the others by NOT VOTING for that candidate.  Maybe you can vote for the Libertarian as a further protest vote or maybe you just leave the race blank.  It does not matter.  What matters is that you free yourself from the neurotic compulsion to vote for every single candidate offered by a party whose leadership holds you in contempt.

I suggest Lt. Governor.  After all, Congressman Tim Griffin is a very close Karl Rove associate.  He would never be where he is if not for Rove.  The Club for Growth put him on their list of "Tea Party Betrayers" but I disagree with that label only because Griffin has never been anything other than an establishment Republican.   The office he is running for is not very important- it has been unfilled for about a year with no apparent consequence.   Even if the Democrat wins, John Burkhalter is the kind of Democrat who will bring embarrassment to the Democratic party for lots of reasons.    Where is the downside for conservatives expressing their displeasure with the establishment's offerings in this race?   There is not one, but I am afraid some people are like that internet picture of the horse tied to a plastic lawn chair.  It stays put because it has been captured in its mind even though it could exercise freedom at any time.

Look, it does not have to be that race. Pick your own.  But please, in the name of all that is good and right, don't go down there and vote for every one of those sorry expletives again and then spend the next two years complaining about the way they do nothing while the country is being destroyed around us.  They could not get away with it unless you did nothing about it first.