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Arkansas Week January 17, 2013

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(Pulco) Twenty-five years and a billion dollars, now what? (Darr) A defiant lame duck, a soon-to-be-vacant office, now what? (Senate) 57/43 means 21/15, which means what? (Option) And even if enrollment is up, what's up?

TRANSCRIPT

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE. THANKS FOR JOINING US FOR ARKANSAS WEEK.  EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE, LAW AND POLITICS ALL IN 1/2 HOUR.  MICHAEL HIBBLEN JOINS US FROM KUAR WHERE HE IS NEWS DIRECTOR.  STEVE BRAWNER INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST AND DAVID KEITH FROM THE JOURNALISM DEPARTMENT AT UCA AND THANKS FOR COMING IN.  MICHAEL BY ANY MEASURE A LANDMARK IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT, NOT ANTICIPATED OVER THE LAST MONTHS AND IT REMOVES A BURR FROM THE SADDLE BLANKET OF THE GOOD DEAL OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT OF COURSE.  WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THAT PROGRAM ABOUT 25 YEARS OLD THAT PROVIDED EXTRA SEGREGATION AIDE TO THE THREE PULASKI COUNTY DISTRICTS.

YEAH, WE HAD A MEETING ON THIS WEEK AND JUDGE MARSHALL HAD A MEET ARE IF ANYONE WITH CONCERNS.  IT WAS ORIGINAL SCHEDULED FOR TWO DAYS BUT TOOK CARE OF IT ON MONDAY AND THE JUDGE RULED THAT THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE STATE AND THE PARTIES MET THE STANDARD FOR BEING FAIR, REASONABLE AND ADEQUATE.  YOU DID HEAR SOME CONCERNS, IN PARTICULAR A GROUP FROM SHEERWOOD THAT SAID THEY WON'T BE ABLE TO FORM THEIR OWN DISTRICT UNTIL THE PULASKI COUNTY DISTRICT IS DECLARED UNITARY AND REMOVED FROM COURT SUPERVISION BUT OVERALL EVERYONE SEEMED HAPPY WITH THIS, EVEN ATTORNEY JOHN WALKER, THE REPRESENTATIVE WHO REPRESENTED JOSHUA INTERVENORS, A GROUP OF BLACK POOR STUDENTS SAID WHILE HE HAD SOME RESERVATIONS THAT THERE'S STILL THE SAME DISPARITIES IN TERMS OF TEST SCORES BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE STUDENTS THAT YOU HAD TWO OR THREE DECADES AGO WHEN THIS FIRST WENT THROUGH OVER ALL HE FELT IT WAS THROUGH.  THE KEY FACTOR THAT THE PARTIES LIKED ABOUT THE DEAL IT PHASES OUT THE MONEY. IT'S NOT AN ABRUPT END THAT COULD HAVE BEEN HAPPENED IF THE HEARING THE STATE WITHED TO END THE PAYMENTS WENT THROUGH SO OVERALL EVERYONE SEEMED HAPPY WITH THIS.

IN DEED A COUPLE MORE YEARS AND $140 MILLION IN ASSISTANCE.

YEAH, THREE MORE YEARS OF PAYMENTS MADE TO THE DISTRICT. THE FOURTH YEAR WILL FOCUS ON INFRASTRUCTURE AND FACILITIES FOR THE DISTRICT.

OVER -- ABOUT A BILLION TWO SINCE THIS PROGRAM BEGAN AND AS COUNSELOR WALKER INDICATED -- STATE REPRESENTATIVE WALKER NOW AND INDICATED THAT THE ACHIEVEMENT IN TEST SCORES HAS IMPROVED SOMEWHAT BUT IT REMAINS AND LEAPS OUT AT YOU AND THE QUESTION IS NOW ON DO WE GO FROM HERE HOW TO ATTACK THAT?

THEY ASKED THE QUESTION THAT SCHOOL DISTRICTS ACROSS THE STATE AND NATION ARE WRESTLING WITH AS WELL AND STATE GOVERNMENT AS WELL --

THIS IS NOT THAT GAP. ACHIEVEMENT GAP IS NOT RESTRICTED TO PULASKI COUNTY. YOU SEE IT STATE WIDE.

AND YOU COULD CERTAINLY DEBATE WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED OVER THESE 25 YEARS OR WHATEVER THAT WE'VE HAD THESE PAYMENTS.  IF THE FOCUS OF OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IS TO EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN, EDUCATE OUR STUDENTS WITH ALL THE MONEY -- AND I'M NOT SAYING THERE HAVEN'T BEEN IMPROVEMENTS.  THERE CERTAINLY HAVE BEEN BUT AT WHAT PRICE WAS IT?  AND I'M WANT SAYING THEY SHOULD HAVE SPENT LESS EVEN BUT YOU COULD SAY $1.2 BILLION HAVE WE GOTTEN THE BANG FOR THE BUCK THAT WE NEEDED FOR THIS?

AS LONG AS YOU'RE PAYING PEOPLE THAT MONEY TO WANT FIX THE PROBLEM IT WON'T BE FIXED. THERE WAS INCENTIVE NOT TO FIX IT BECAUSE THEY WERE GETTING FINANCIAL PAYMENTS AS LONG AS THERE WERE ISSUES.  THERE HAVE BEEN DISTRICTS THAT ADDRESSED THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP AND NOT WITH THAT AMOUNT.  WE HAVE OTHER AREAS SAW A DRAMATIC CLOSING OF THE GAP BUT THAT HAPPENED BECAUSE THE STUDENTS TOOK CHARGE OF THEIR EDUCATION.  THERE WAS A GROUP THAT TOOK IT SERIOUSLY AND AN ENTIRE CULTURE CHANGE IN THAT SCHOOL DISTRICT AND DED INDICATED TO THAT SUCCESS WITH CERTAIN MINORITY POPULATIONS AND TAKES COOPERATION WITH THE FACULTY AND THE STUDENTS AND THE COMMUNITY AND SOMETIMES THE MONEY WILL NOT TAKE CARE OF THE PROBLEM.

AND YOU HAVE THE DYNAMIC OF -- TWO OF THE DISTRICTS IN PULASKI COUNTY AND THE THIRD CLOSE TO BE BEING DECLARED UNITARY OR SEGREGATED BUT DOES NOT INVOLVE THE POPULATIONS OF THE DISTRICT AND ACCOUNT FOR THE FACT THAT A GREAT MANY WHITE FAMILIES -- NO OTHER WORD FOR IT -- FLOOD THE DISTRICT CREATED COMMUNITIES IN AROUND PULASKI COUNTY.

YEAH,.

THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.  WHEN YOU LOOK AT POPULATION AND SHIFTS OVER THE YEARS.  YOU LOOK AT CONWAY, BRYANT, BENTON, WHATEVER, THE WAY THE COMMUNITIES HAVE GROWN AND PRIMARILY THE GROWTH HAS BEEN IN THE WHITE POPULATION.  NOW, NOT ALL EVIDENCE COMING OUT OF PULASKI COUNTY -- I KNOW IN FAULKNER COUNTY, CONWAY, THE RESEARCH THAT HAS BEEN DONE, A LOT OF IT IS AS MOVE PEOPLE TO THE AREA.  IN THE PAST IF THEY'RE WORKING IN LITTLE ROCK MOVE TO PULASKI COUNTY, MOVE TO LITTLE ROCK, BUT MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE STARTING ARE THE FRINGES AND COMMUTING TO THE CITY AND ALSO THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMPLOYMENT IN ALL OF THE PLACES AROUND CONWAY ARE GREATER THAN 30 YEARS AGO AS WELL.

ANOTHER PROBLEM SEEMS CLOSE TO RESOLUTION ANYWAY AND THAT IS THE MATTER OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR DARR AND TENDERED HIS RESIGNATION AND NOT WHOLLY UNEXPECTED AND IN THE ETHICS DIFFICULTIES HE FACED AND YEAH I'M STEPPING ASIDE BUT IT LEAVES THE QUESTION WHAT TO DO ABOUT A VACANT OFFICE AND ONE THAT THEY WONDER THAT EXISTS AT ALL.

HIS DUTIES ARE TO SERVE WHEN THE GOVERNOR IS OUT OF STATE FOR SOME REASON WE HAVEN'T GOTTEN OUT OF ISSUE OR SERVE WHEN THE GOVERNOR IS INCAPACITATED AND CAN'T SERVE OUT THE TERM AND WHEN THEY'RE NOT IN SESSION AND ONLY ONE OF THOSE SESSIONS IN THE TERM.  THAT DUTY IS BASICALLY A CEREMONIAL DUTY ANYWAY SO NOT A LOT FOR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR TO DO FOR A YEAR.  PEOPLE ARE WONDERING WHY DO WE NEED A SPECIAL ELECTION THAT COSTS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND AT THIS POINT WE'RE NOT HAVING A SPECIAL ELECTION AND NOT HAVE A LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR FOR A YEAR AND I THINK DEMOCRACY WILL SURVIVE.

THE REPUBLIC WILL STAND.

SEEMS THERE IS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR NOT HAVING A SPECIAL ELECTION.  THE LAW CALLS FOR WHEN THERE IS A VACANCY WITHIN 150 DAYS THAT A SPECIAL ELECTION MUST BE HELD BUT THERE IS TALK IN THE LEGISLATURE PASSING SOMETHING DURING THE SESSION THAT WOULD ESSENTIALLY OVER RIDE THAT AND CHANGE THE LAW AND SEEMS MOST PEOPLE ARE SUPPORTING THAT, EVEN GOVERNOR BEEBE, AND THE ISSUE IS WE'RE HAVING AN ELECTION IN NOVEMBER WHEN THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR'S OFFICE WILL BE ON THE BALLOT AND IS IT WORTH SPENDING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS?  POTENTIALLY UP TO 4 MILLION IF YOU HAD A PRIMARY AND RUNOFF IN THE TWO SIDES AND THEN YOU HAD THE REGULAR ELECTION, SO THERE SEEMS TO BE CONSENSUS FOR THAT AMONG MOST OF THE LEGISLATORS.  IT WILL TAKE TWO THIRDS VOTE TO --

CONSENSUS WITH A CAPITAL "C".

AND TWO THIRDS NEEDED FOR THE LEGISLATURE TO CONSIDER SOMETHING THAT IS NOT A FISCAL ITEM BUT THAT SEEMS COULD EASILY GET THAT.

AND ONE QUESTION THAT REMAINS IN THE LEGISLATURE -- I THINK IF THIS GOES FORWARD IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE BUT LEGISLATORS HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT -- YEAH, LET'S -- WE WILL MAKE THIS A SPECIAL EXCEPTION BUT I'M NOT SURE I WANT TO CHANGE THE LAW HENCE FORTH FOREVER.  LET'S AT LEAST WORK AT THIS FROM THE STANDPOINT ARE THERE SOME SCENARIOS WHERE IT'S PRUDENT TO HAVE A SPECIAL ELECTION IN A SIMILAR TIME FRAME, ANYWAY SO I THINK IT WILL -- I DON'T THINK WE'RE -- CERTAINLY WE WON'T HAVE A SPECIAL ELECTION FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR THIS YEAR BUT THEY MAY NOT COMPLETELY WIPE IT OFF THE BOOKS FOR THE FUTURE.

THERE'S ALSO THE QUESTION TOO.  YOU HAVE TWO OF THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES WHO WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO RUN IF THE SPECIAL ELECTION WERE HELD RIGHT AWAY AND THE DEMOCRAT BURKHALTER COULD BECAUSE HE'S NOT IN A OFFICE AT THIS POINT AND THAT IS A FACT BUT BURKHALTER DOESN'T SEEM MIND WAITING.

LAW PROHIBITS THAT.

-- [INAUDIBLE]

WHENEVER THERE IS A LITTLE DIFFICULT INVOLVING THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR AND IT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE A LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR TAKING ACTION WHILE THE GOVERNOR WAS HAVING A BARBECUE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STATE LINE AND NOT ONLY DOING AWAY WITH THE OFFICE OR IN ADDITION TO DOING AWAY WITH THE OFFICER A SUBSTITUTE -- TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION FOR THE ELECTED GOVERNOR TO RETAIN THE FULL POWER FOCUS HE DOES GO ON VACATION, HIT A FEW FALLS OUT IN ARIZONA OR GO TO A CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON.  NEVER GOES ANYWAY.

THAT'S WHY WE HAD AN ELECTION AND A BALLOT QUESTION -- I THINK 2002 AND IT FAILED SO EVEN THOUGH THAT SEEMS ANTIQUATED IT WAS PASSED IN THE TIME WE DIDN'T HAVE INSTANT COMMUNICATION AND STILL THE PEOPLE WERE NOT READY TO TAKE AWAY THAT POWER.

STEVE IS RIGHT.  IN 1800'S PROVISION IN OUR CONSTITUTION AND HERE IN THE 21ST CENTURY WITH NOT ONLY MODERN COMMUNICATION BUT MODERN TRAVEL. IT'S JUST NOT AN ISSUE.

IT KEEPS --

THE ABILITY TO  LEAD THE STATE FROM OUT OF STATE SHOULDN'T BE AN ISSUE.  AGAIN THE PUBLIC HAS A SAY IN THIS.  IT'S A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE GOOFY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS -- SOME PASS, SOME DON'T.  THIS IS ONE -- I THINK FROM A LEGISLATIVE STANDPOINT BECAUSE THE LEGISLATURE IS LIMITED IN HOW MANY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS IT CAN PUT FORTH -- WELL, THIS ONE DOESN'T MAKE THE CUT AND I DON'T SEE A CITIZENS' GROUP TAKING ON THE HASSLE OF CIRCULATING PETITIONS TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE.

WELL, THE CHAMBER OVER WHICH MR. DARR FOR THE TIME BEING STILL PRESIDES, THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR ALWAYS PRESIDES, THE SENATE HAS A NEW MEMBER STEVE COMING UP AS SOON AS THE VOTE IS CERTIFIED AND BEING THE GEOPOLITICAL VENUE THERE. MR. COOPER PREVAILED OVER MR. ROCKWELL AND THE SENATE GOES A LITTLE REDDER.

AND THOSE NUMBERS 57/43 WERE KIND OF REMINISCE CENT -- THIS IS THE THIRD ELECTION IN A ROW WE'RE SEEING THOSE NUMBER ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE AND THAT IS AN IMPORTANT VOTE BECAUSE THE PRIVATE OPTION UPON WHICH SO MUCH OF OUR BUDGET HINGES BARELY PASSED LAST TIME AND MUST PASS AGAIN AND THE SENATOR WHO IS NO LONGER THERE MR. BOOKOUT VOTED FOR IT AND NOW MR. COOPER IS VOTING AGAIN IT AND HARD TO SEE HOW THE PRIVATE OPTION IS BIASED.

WELL, THEY HAVE ZERO VOTES -- BASED ON --

[INAUDIBLE]

TWO OVER IN THE HOUSE AND ONE IN THE SENATE.  IT'S RAISER CLOSE NOW TO GET THE 75.

AND MANY THAT PASSED IT LAST TIME HAVE PRIMARY OPPONENTS OR GOTTEN AN EARFUL FROM THEIR WENTS.  SENATE PRO TEM MICHAEL LAMOUREUX SAID IT MIGHT BE HARD TO HAVE 20 CONFIRMED YESES AT THIS POINT AND THEY NEED 27. IT'S HARD TO SEE HOW IT SURVIVES AND WE KNOW THOSE ARKANSANS ARE GOING TO HAVE INSURANCE THROUGH THE PRIVATE OPTION AND WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT THAT?  JUST TAKE IT AWAY?  THAT'S GOING TO BE A QUESTION THE SENATE HAS TO ANSWER, THE WHOLE LEGISLATURE THIS UPCOMING SESSION.

AND TWO ADDING NO SMALL AMOUNT OF SPICE TO THE SITUATION WE HAVE A PRIVATE OPTION PERIOD BECAUSE OF REPUBLICAN MEMBERS WHO ENGINEERED THE ARRANGEMENT.

IT WAS THEIR IDEA.  THEY DECIDED IT DIDN'T MAKE SENSE FOR ARKANSAS TO NOT TAKE THIS MONEY WHEN OTHER STATES WERE TAKING IT, AND THEY TRIED TO CREATE A CREATIVE SOLUTION THAT WOULD CREATE MORE FREE MARKET PARTS OF OF THE PLAN, LET ARKANSAS GET THE MONEY AND REALLY -- YOU KNOW, THIS IS A REFORM -- THIS IS ENTITLEMENT REFORM.  THIS WAS A CHANGE AND THEY GOT IT THROUGH AND IT'S BEEN AN AWKWARD SITUATION FOR THEM EVER SINCE.

BECAUSE WHAT IS COMING UP IN FEBRUARY IS A FISCAL SESSION AND YOU DON'T HAVE THE BROAD RANGE OF THINGS.  THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEALING WITH THE BUDGET SO IF YOU LOOK AT IF THE PRIVATE OPTION DOESN'T GO FORWARD AGAIN IN THE APPROPRIATION BILLS AS STEVE SAID THE 70,000 PEOPLE DEALING WITHIN THEM IN A FISCAL SESSION IS NOT THE SAME DURING A REGULAR SESSION WHERE ANY TYPE OF BILL CAN COME FORWARD.  IT COMPOUNDS THE PROBLEM THAT THE LEGISLATURE IS GOING TO FACE AND I THINK STEVE IS RIGHT THESE 70,000 PEOPLE THEIR FAMILIES, THEIR FRIENDS -- WHATEVER. THAT IS A VOICE THAT -- MAYBE IT REALLY HASN'T BEEN HEARD IN THE PAST.  IT HASN'T BEEN THE SQUEAKY WHEEL -- ESPECIALLY ADVOCATES FOR THESE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE MUCH LOUDER THAN THE PAST WHEN YOU GET DO THE DEBATE AND IF THE PRIVATE OPTION IS NOT EXTENDED.

AND LOSE IT YOU MAY HEAR --

ABSOLUTELY AND THE HOSPITALS TOO.

ABSOLUTELY.

THE HOSPITALS, A BIG PART OF THE BUDGET PRESENTED BY THE GOVERNOR HINGES ON THE PRIVATE OPTION BEING SUSTAINED.  IF IT WAS TAKEN AWAY THERE WOULD BE AN $89 MILLION HOLE I BELIEVE IT IS CREATED.  HOSPITALS HAVE SAID -- ESPECIALLY THOSE UAMS AND LITTLE ROCK GETTING THIS, NOT TREATING PEOPLE WITHOUT INSURANCE THAT THIS WILL BE A GOOD THING AND THERE WILL BE A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT  OBJECT IF IT'S TAKEN AWAY AND THERE IS A BILL CONTINGENT OPPOSED TO ANY FORM OF OBAMACARE OR ANYTHING THAT WORKS WITH OBAMACARE BUT THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT WILL LIKE HAVING COVERAGE AND IF YOU TAKE IT AWAY IT WILL UPSET A LOT OF PEOPLE AND IT'S GOING TO BE TRICKY FOR THE LEGISLATURE.

AND CERTAINLY ALSO THE [INAUDIBLE] ASSOCIATION HAS A VOICE AS WELL.  THERE ARE SOME REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS THAT THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE PRIVATE OPTION WAS BASED ON THE FACT OF NEGATIVE IMPACT TO HOSPITALS --

THEIR LOCAL HOSPITALS.

THEIR LOCAL HOSPITALS IF THE PRIVATE OPTION DID NOT GO FORWARD.  I'M NOT SAYING -- I DON'T WANT TO SAY THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE WITHOUT INSURANCE BUT THE FOCUS -- AGAIN THE LONG-TERM EFFECT -- TRICKLE DOWN EFFECT THE HOSPITALS -- THE FINANCIAL IMPACT ON THEM IF THE PRIVATE OPTION DIDN'T GO FORWARD.

AND THAT'S A CONSIDERATION OUT THERE AS WELL.

AND RURAL HOSPITALS WHERE YOU MIGHT LOSE A HOSPITAL AND MAKE THE DISTANCE MUCH FURTHER THAT THE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY MIGHT HAVE TO TRAVEL TO GET TREATMENT.

ON THE OTHER HAND DIRECTOR ANDY [INAUDIBLE] TESTIFIED YESTERDAY THAT 90% OF THE RECIPIENTS WILL PAY NOTHING FOR THE MEDICAL BILLS.  THIS IS BASICALLY FREE HEALTH CARE FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE AND THAT WILL BE AN ARGUMENT THAT REPUBLICANS MAKE THAT THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE ELECTED TO BE AGAINST, WAS THIS KIND OF GOVERNMENT.

THAT WILL BE COUNTED BY THE FACT THEY'RE GETTING FREE HEALTH CARE ALREADY, JUST EVERYONE ELSE IS PAYING FOR IT.  NOW THEY MAY NOT BE GETTING IT IS LEVEL OF CARE THEY WOULD IF THERE WERE AN UNDER WRITER INVOLVED BUT I CAN RECALL ABOUT A YEAR AGO I TALKED TO A NUMBER OF ARKANSAS COUNTY JUDGES, SOME OF THEM -- WELL, BAXTER COUNTY.  THAT'S A FAIR SIZED COMMUNITY UP THERE AND A REALLY NICE HOSPITAL.  BAXTER DREW -- SEVERAL COUNTIES.  SOME WERE REALLY -- CRAWFORD REALLY HAD HOSPITALS THAT WERE BASICALLY ON LIFE SUPPORT HEMORRHAGES MONEY EVERYDAY AND ALTHOUGH THEY MAY HAVE DETESTED OBAMACARE IN THE WORDS OF ONE THEY ALSO HAD TO GO BACK AND EXPLAIN TO THE VOTERS WHY THE LOCAL HOSPITAL MAY NOT MAKE IT ANOTHER YEAR OR ANOTHER BIENNIUM ANYWAY, SO THE POLITICAL PRESSURES  ARE INTENT AND THE ONES THAT WENT ALONG AS STEVE POINTED OUT HAVE ANNOUNCED OPPONENTS TO THE RIGHT.

YEAH, AND I DON'T THINK NECESSARILY -- THAT'S NOT A SURPRISE.

IT WAS COMING.

RIGHT.  WHEN THE LEGISLATURE WAS DEBATING THIS LAST YEAR -- PARTICULARLY EVERYONE WHO IS SUPPORTIVE BUT PARTICULARLY OF THE REPUBLICANS THEY CERTAINLY HAD CONSTITUENTS, PEOPLE POSSIBLY WHO HAD SUPPORTED THEM WHEN WAS ELECTED SAW THEM AS SELLING OUT, SOMETHING THAT THE LEGISLATORS SAID THEY WERE GOING IN THERE TO OPPOSE OBAMACARE, AND THAT WAS THE LINE IN THE SAND, AND TO MANY OF THE CONSTITUENTS OR SUPPORTERS EVEN THOUGH THESE LEGISLATORS VOTED THEIR CONSCIENCE, WHETHER THEY THOUGHT IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO FOR THE STATE, THEIR LOCAL HOSPITAL OR THE PEOPLE OF ARKANSAS DOESN'T MATTER.  THEY LOST SUPPORT BECAUSE OF IT, AND THEY KNEW THAT WOULD HAPPEN, AND SO IT DOES GET INTO THAT QUESTION OF IF YOU'RE REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE DO YOU DO WHAT YOU THINK IS RIGHT?  DO YOU DO WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT YOU TO DO?  AND IT'S ONE OF THE UNANSWERABLE QUESTIONS THAT EVERY PUBLIC OFFICIAL MUST DEAL WITH.

AND WITH MR. BEEBE'S BUDGET -- HE'S LONG MAINTAINED, YEARS AND MONTHS AND THAT THE TAX CUTS, ALSO A GOP IDEA THAT WERE ENACTED IN THE SESSION LAST YEAR ARE ENTIRELY DEPENDENT ON A CONTINUATION STEVE OF THE PRIVATE OPTION.  NOW, LET IT BE SAID THERE IS QUITE VOCAL SKEPTICISM IN SOME QUARTERS ABOUT THE ADMINISTRATION'S FIGURES, DHS OR STREET OUT OF THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE BUT MR. BEEBE CAUTIONED IF YOU WANT THE TAX CUTS WE NEED TO RENEW THE PROGRAM OR LOOKING AT PROFOUND CUTS IN SERVICES.

WELL, EVEN GOVERNOR BEEBE SAID HE SEE THAT THE TAX CUTS WERE GOING AWAY AND I DON'T SEE THAT HAPPENING EITHER BECAUSE MANY OF THE LEGISLATORS SIGNED A NO TAX PLEDGE SO IF THEY VOTE TO END THE TAX DECREASES -- THAT IN EFFECT IS A TAX INCREASE AND THEY'RE NOT GOING TO VOTE FOR THAT.  THEY'RE NOT -- A LOT OF THEM ARE NOT VOTING FOR THE PRIVATE OPTION SO IF THOSE TWO THINGS HAPPEN SOMETHING ELSE WOULD GET CUT ASSUMING THE BUDGET IS CORRECT.  I KNOW THEY'RE TRYING TO FORECAST NUMBERS AND WITH BILLIONS DOLLARS IT'S HARD TO DO.

YEAH, WE HAD THREE DAYS OF BUDGET HEARINGS THIS WEEK AT THE CAPITOL THIS WEEK AND THE ADMINISTRATOR OF BUDGET SAID IT'S 85 WITH THE TAX CUTS.

YEAR ONE.

YES YEAR ONE AND FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION TO COME AND IT WILL BE DIFFICULT AND IF PRIVATE OPTION GOES AWAY THEN THERE WILL HAVE TO BE CUTS ELSEWHERE AND IN THE BUDGET GOVERNOR BEEBE ALLOCATED MORE MONEY FOR EDUCATION, HUMAN SERVICES AND THE PRISON POPULATION, IN FANATIC WITH THE GROWTH OF THE STATE PRISON POPULATION. THAT'S SEEN AS KEY IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR THE GOVERNOR.

MICHAEL  ALLUDED TO THIS AND IT THE BUDGET INCLUDES A CUT TO UAMS AND BASED ON THE PRIVATE OPTION AND IF THAT GOES AWAY MAJOR CUTS WILL COME TO THAT MEDICAL COMMUNITY.

THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS BUDGET AND THE PROPOSED INCREASES -- COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS, THE PENAL SYSTEM, CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND SEEMED SAFE THIS SESSION AFTER A SERIES OF SCANDALS OR SERIOUS EVENTS.

THAT HAS BEEN CUT IN PREVIOUS SESSIONS AND THEN WE HAD THE ISSUES OVER THE PAROLE VIOLATORS AND NOBODY WANTS TO PUT THOSE PEOPLE BACK ON THE STREETS AT THIS POINT AND CLEARLY GUILTY AND VIOLENT.  THEY HAVE HAD A TENDENCY TO BE VERY CONSERVATIVE IN ITS ESTIMATES AND I THINK YOU WILL SEE A LOT OF LEGISLATORS HOPING ONCE AGAIN -- TO THEIR CREDIT GUESS LOW THAN HIGH BUT ARKANSAS HAS HAD A SURPLUS MOST OF THE TIME MOST YEARS, AND SO I THINK THAT MAYBE KIND OF COUNTING ON THE FACT THAT'S THE CASE AGAIN.

GENTLEMEN THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR COMING IN.  TO YOU THANKS AS ALWAYS FOR WATCHING AND WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK. "ARKANSAS WEEK" IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY THE "ARKANSAS TIMES" KEEPING YOU INFORMED BY COVERING PEOPLE, EVENTS, AND POLITICS IN ARKANSAS. BY FM 89 KUAR LITTLE ROCK WITH IN DEPTH NEWS REPORTING, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION EACH WEEKDAY.

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