House Speaker Davy Carter has been sending signals that he is likely to support Medicaid expansion under the new "private option" deal. But any time he talks expansion, he's sure to bring up his proposed capital gains tax cut.
Here's Carter to reporters earlier this week, interrupting himself talking about health care:
We're continuing to have dialogues about the capital gains tax measure in conjunction with [Medicaid expansion], and I think we'll start discussing that in more detail and more broadly as the days for forward. At the end of the day the job creators and the business men and women of this state are going to have to pay the tab for all of this, and we're going to talk about capital gains reductions in conjunction with what we do on health care.
This is the line we've heard from Carter all week. He asserts without evidence that the healthcare law will add to the national debt (I've joked that a sneaky reason for Republicans to support the new Arkansas "private option" is that it costs more, driving up the overall cost of Obamacare...campaign 2016!). And since "job creators" will be left holding the bill, we need to give them a break in the form of a capital gains tax cut.
"That's just part of the discussions," Carter said. "We start negotiating deals, negotiating these measures — there's a pretty clear parallel between the two. Job creators are going to have to pay the tab at the end of this deal. It's only appropriate to have that discussion."
The connection here is not, in fact, clear. Carter's thesis is basically that if the state expands a program that helps poor people, it's only fair to offer a tax cut to rich people. But however tenuous, he insists on the connection, which makes me zero in on that "negotiating deals" bit. I'll bet Carter would love to get Gov. Mike Beebe's support for his capital gains tax cut. Obviously Beebe is after Carter's support for Medicaid expansion. Is Carter proposing a trade?