by Max Brantley
Since it's mid-afternoon in New Zealand and evening in Arkansas, I'll pass along quickly this e-mail note from Entergy on a rate case filed today at the Arkansas Public Service Commission.
Spokeswoman Julie Munsell says:
Attached is our rate case filed this afternoon. There are about 15 different testimonies so it is quite complex, but the bottom line is customer rates will decrease by about $.95 for a typical residential customer using 1,000 Killowatt hours. If approved the new base rates would go into effect Jan. 2014. To give you some background, getting out of the System Agreement and moving to MISO prompted the need to restructure several tariffs. When the utility goes into restructure tariffs, they must also at that time update costs. There is a chart on page 26 of Hugh McDonald’s testimony that best explains how the math works out but basically the net impact of what we are asking is 5 million dollars. That includes a transfer of existing riders that we are already collecting from customers in addition to the costs associated with the system agreement that go away in Dec. 2013.
I should also point out that these calculations do not include the projected MISO savings of $228 million dollars once Entergy Arkansas joins MISO.
The best starting point in this volume of material is Hugh McDonald’s testimony.
Read and report.
OFF TOPIC: Am I reading everything right? Arkansas Republicans are jumping on board a massive expansion of government health care coverage under a plan that will cost even more than the modest Medicaid expansion proposal originally put forward by Gov. Mike Beebe? And they are styling it a REDUCTION in government?!? Whatever. The poor people are grateful for the alms, whatever dishonesty and hypocrisy may be served up with it. The money that flows through our health exchanges will flow outside the state budget, I guess, and thus not require a 75 percent vote? Anybody know? Love that estimate of $6,000 to cover poor under Medicaid, but $9,000 under the Republican-favored privatized plan. Wonder who pockets that $3,000? Not those welfare deadbeats, for sure. Maybe we should drug test the recipients of the windfall.
Do I also read this no-cost enormously valuable economic stimulus for Arkansas is being pitched by House Speaker Davy Carter as a justification for cutting the income tax on the wealthy? Who was it who claimed Carter was a moderate? Not me, I'll remind you.
Carter has the votes, of course, even if he doesn't have the facts to cut the tax rate on sale of appreciated assets. I have asked DFA for something they can provide if only they would. That is a breakdown, by current reported capital gains income (capital gains income already enjoys a reduced tax rate in Arkansas 33 percent lower than the top 7 percent tax rate assessed on sweat income) by income category in the most recent full tax year. Every study of this on the national level shows that the capital gains tax reduction is of overwhelming benefit to a tiny percentage of the taxpaying population — the very wealthy. The pittances paid on, say, mutual fund shares held by working stiffs amount to a drop in the bucket against, say, a corporate executive cashing some huge stock options.
But, hey, Carter is a magician. He says he can provide a $150 million tax cut without trimming a dime from the state budget.