by Max Brantley
Gov. Mike Beebe told reporters today that federal stimulus spending could be applied to existing jobs in Arkansas and that way free state money for construction projects.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln sent a confirming news release this afternoon on the $91 million. That's real bricks-and-mortar work. Wasteful spending, John Boozman no doubt believes.
And speaking of Boozman, the Democratic Party today is also noting his opposition to legislation similar to a bill passed in the Senate today to provide tax cuts and investment incentives to small businesses. Check it on the jump, too.
LINCOLN NEWS RELEASE
U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) today said that the $91 million awarded to Arkansas by the U.S. Department of Education will make important investments in our teacher workforce and improvements to Arkansas schools.
“I supported passage of the Education Jobs Fund because our children are our greatest resource, and I do not believe that they should have to shoulder the burden of an economic recession,” Lincoln said. “I know that an additional investment in our education budget will be a tremendous help to schools seeking to address their critical needs.”
The Education Jobs Fund, recently passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, will support education jobs in the 2010-11 school year and be distributed to states by a formula based on population figures. States can distribute their funding to school districts based on their own primary funding formula or districts’ relative share of federal Title I funds.
Arkansas will be able to use this $91 million in place of funding that had already been set aside for teacher salaries, and then use the resulting savings on capital improvements to school districts and other high priorities.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY NEWS RELEASE
Arkansas small businesses cannot trust Congressman John Boozman to represent their interests. He is so blinded by ideology that he voted against a commonsense bill to spur small business growth. Congressman Boozman refused to support Arkansas small business and voted against The Small Business Lending Fund Act. Today, the Senate passed a similar bill with Senator Blanche Lincoln’s support.
The Small Business Jobs Act:
* Gives small businesses $12 billion in tax cuts;
* Helps small businesses create 500,000 new jobs;
* Incentivizes and increases small business lending, notably with the creation of a targeted $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund to provide small community banks with capital to increase small business lending, and with $1.5 billion in grants to support $15 billion in new small business lending through state programs that have already proven successful
* Helps small business owners access private capital to finance an expansion and hire new workers, by creating incentives for investors (100 percent exclusion from capital gains taxes on small business investments)
* Rewards entrepreneurs for investing in new small businesses, by doubling the tax deduction for start-up expenditures
* Helps Main Street businesses compete with large corporations, by preventing small businesses from incurring large tax penalties aimed at large corporations and wealthy individuals investing in tax shelter
Arkansas voters should wonder why Congressman Boozman would vote against this important bill for small business. Perhaps the answer lies in recent comments made by Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele, who said that small businesses did not need access to capital. Despite efforts to walk back those remarks, it is clear that RNC Chair Steele and fellow Washington Republican Congressman Boozman care more about their political scorecard than actually helping small businesses get through these tough economic times.
"Congressman Boozman was a rubber stamp for the failed policies that exploded our deficit and let Wall Street run our economy into the ground. Now he wants to make a difficult situation worse by refusing small businesses the very thing they need most right now." stated Democratic Party of Arkansas Communications Director Joel Coon.
Coon continued, "Arkansas deserves a Senator who will fight for what is right for Arkansas. Congressman John Boozman has demonstrated that his loyalties lie with the radical agenda of his D.C. Republican superiors rather than with Arkansas small businesses and working families."