by Max Brantley
The Democrat-Gazette today reported spending cuts in the Health Department program that provides home health care to the elderly (a cheaper alternative to nursing homes for many). You knew about the Forestry Commission, now short-handed after an illegal deficit spending scheme was stopped. State employees haven't had a base pay raise in years and won't get one next year as things now stand. College tuition increases vastly outstrip inflation because college students are being asked to make up for declining state support. Emergency money is being used to meet court personnel payrolls. UAMS is struggling with financial shortfalls. Prison officials continue to look for ways to cut people loose because of the cost of housing the growing population. Damage to highways from gas drilling rigs is costing five times the income from the state's low severance tax. Interstates need repair that were fixed under bond programs not yet paid for.
Tell me again:
1) How the state could easily afford the tax cuts passed in the last legislative session?
2) How the state can readily afford further tax cuts in coming sessions?
I'll stipulate the state can afford just about anything if it stops providing schools, health care, prisons, colleges, highways and police. Plus, under the Republican theory, if you cut taxes to zero, prosperity will roll down on us in a mighty stream.