Thursday, July 06, 2006

Arkansas' Surplus

Yup, it's already starting. Legislators are making plans to spend the anticipated $ 721 million in surplus funds when they meet in the 2007 legislative session.
“Anytime you’ve got money, sure it’s going to be a topic for discussion because people always want to get their hands on it, that’s for sure,” said Rep. Benny Petrus, D-Stuttgart, who is to become speaker of the House, the House’s top post, in January.

It makes me wonder if they will be seriously thinking about returning some it back to the taxpayers. It'll be something to make sure our legislators do. At least Asa is saying the right thing.
Republican candidate for governor Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday that he expects a “battle” in the next session over how the surplus should be spent.
“I believe firmly that at least — at least — half of any surplus that we have should be used for tax relief for Arkansans,” Hutchinson said. “Starting with the repeal of the grocery [sales ] tax.”

The Democrats are not as enthused to returning at least half of the surplus.
“We’ve got significant needs on the horizon in education and in education facilities and human services,” said Sen. Jim Argue, DLittle Rock, the current Senate president pro tempore. “For now, I think we need to celebrate our stronger-than-expected economy and wait for the budget hearings so we can get a better picture of the expense side of the equation.”
Sen. Shane Broadway, DBryant, said he would prefer to spend the money on schools or a cut in the state sales tax on groceries.
[Rep. Bruce Maloch, D-Magnolia] said legislators need to consider a rainy day fund first, then prepare to pay more for educational needs.
"Money for improvements to public school buildings and equipment might devour a chunk of the surplus", said Sen. Shane Broadway, D-Bryant, who is the chairman of the Senate Academic Facilities Oversight Committee.

It would appear that if Mike Beebe is elected in November, the taxpayers may see little of their money returned to them. One more reason to make sure that Asa Hutchinson wins the election!

AR Democrat Gazette
The Morning News

No comments: