by Max Brantley
Oh, wait, Matt DeCample says. We didn't ask the question quite right. The governor indeed does have a list of capital "projects" in mind that would require spending some of that surplus money. That would be distinguished from a list to spend the surplus.
Tricky business, playing hide the bacon.
He promises the list will be forthcoming shortly. You'll be happy to know that this governor doesn't intend to travel in any less style than his predecessor. His wish list includes $4 million for a new airplane. We told you several weeks ago that Gov. Huckabee had just about used up all the hours on the 10-passenger King Air and it needed either replacement or some $800,000 in repairs.
A new plane, with a five-year warranty, is viewed as the more fiscally responsible course than putting a bunch of money into an old plane long out of warranty. Or so I'm told.
All well and good. But:
1) Could we talk about having a state aviation section, rather than hiding this plane in the State Police and the sham security curtain that the previous administration threw around the plane's operation?
2) Can the Beebe administration propose a set of clear operating rules and an accounting system that's utterly transparent on cost and use, including passengers? The operation of this plane should not be treated as a gubernatorial working paper, in secrecy, certainly not when it becomes part of an independent state agency's operating cost.
I'll pass along the full capital list when I get it.