Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Huckabee Pushes for Cave-In to Courts

In his push for a Special Session of Spending, Governor Huckabee made a series of statements that have me perplexed. Let's go down the list...

"I know several legislators are frustrated because they feel public education in Arkansas is funded adequately. I understand and share their frustration, but we cannot allow that frustration to limit our actions. We argued our position, we lost, and we must now take the bull by the horns and attempt to satisfy the Supreme Court. "

Excuse me, but wouldn't "taking the bull by the horns" mean standing up to the courts and helping the legislature reassert its traditional role of having the power of the purse strings? How does letting the courts set funding levels "take the bull by the horns"? It sounds more like letting go of the bull's horns so that the bull can gouge the taxpayers in their already sore derierre's.

(click "wednesday" below for rest of article, or if sent directly here just scroll down)


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

"Late last year, the Supreme Court ruled that no cost of living increase was added to the $5,400 per-student amount allocated to each school district. The Arkansas General Assembly disagreed -- contending that a cost of living increase had been given through an additional $35,000 for the teacher health insurance fund and additional facilities funds -- and that it was waiting to see how $380 million in newly appropriated funds were being spent before throwing more money into our state public schools. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court ordered the state to provide cost of living increases, and gave the state until Dec. 1 of this year to rectify the situation."

Once again, why is it that when the courts and the legislature disagree about spending the legislature has to back down? Don't we have separation of powers in our system of government? Don't we have a system of checks and balances? Where is the balance on the Courts power if the legislature must defer to the courts even in it's primary power- the power of the purse strings? If the legislature always has to defer to the judiciary, then why bother to elect a legislature? Why don't we just have the judges compile the state's budget?

"I did not agree with the most recent ruling, nor do I agree with it now. But my personal opinion cannot stop the fact that we have been ordered to answer these complaints, and we are in no position to fight the Arkansas Supreme Court."

If you don't agree with it, then why not fight it? The people who elected you are in no hurry to get their taxes raised, and that is what you will have to do if you keep letting the judges push you around. How can you say "we are in no position to fight the Arkansas Supreme Court"? You enforce their rulings. What are they going to do about it if you stand up to them, order you to arrest yourself?

The governor thinks that the legislation he has proposed will satisfy the courts. I don't know why he thinks that. They have not said that. The level of spending the Governor is proposing is about equal to the funds generated by a one cent increase in the sales tax, but the courts have indicated they want much more.

Tension between the various branches of government is not a cause for concern. It is a healthy thing, it is a natural by-product of our system of government. Our rights are best protected when our rulers are disputing with one another over turf instead of agreeing with each other that more money should be plucked from our pockets.

4:08 PM, March 29, 2006  

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