The Friday night line | Arkansas Blog

The Friday night line

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Let the weekend roar.

Notes:

* DISTRICTING: The Board of Apportionment, which draws legislative districts, will hold its first meeting March 16.

* TAX INCREASE: House Speaker Robert Moore and Rep. Jonathan Barnett introduced today their idea for a $2.3 billion tax increase to pay for highway construction through a diesel tax increase and sales tax increase. Yes, I said a $2.3 BILLION tax increase. Barnett, meanwhile, will be working to cut the capital gains tax paid by a handful of wealthy Arkansans like himself, while your light bill, clothing and other bills cost more. But it will build some four-lane highways into the depopulated Delta, so what's not to like?

* COORDINATED CAMPAIGNING: I must note that a paid employee of the billionaire Koch brothers lobby — who insist their anti-government campaign is not a partisan effort — is madly politicking in Arkansas for Republican candidates. Today, a paid Koch employee, who's also a Republican Party official, was delivering Arkansas Republican Party messaging in behalf of a GOP candidate for legislature. Old news, I guess. AFP buttressed the GOP legislative pickups last year with paid direct mailing into the targeted races. I didn't think you could do this. But maybe Bro. Rapert told them the Holy Ghost Ministry approved.

* DOUBLE COUNTING: State Rep. Allen Kerr says he'll seek committee approval Monday of his bill to end double counting of years of service by county officials in computing retirement. He said the benefit dated to a time when the constitution limited county official compensation. That's no longer the case. The Association of Arkansas Counties, taxpayer funded but essentially a lobby for elected officials, will oppose Kerr.

* MIKE HUCKABEE'S BIG MOUTH: Now he's backtracking on Natalie Portman. Too late, says Washington Post's Greg Sargent. "Has Mike Huckabee developed a kind of culturally conservative version of Tourette's syndrome?"

* SPENDING SAM WALTON'S FORTUNE. The Chronicle of Philanthropy looks at the big-spending, low-profile Walton Foundation and its big focus on education and the environment.

* CHILD ABUSE: A Little Rock man was charged with battery after his child was taken for emergency treatment and found to be suffering from three skull fractures, one fresh and two older.

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