BEEBE: No short-term fixes.
I mentioned yesterday and should comment again on Gov. Mike Beebe's comment that rolling back new tax cuts
was one way to pay systemically for the current underfunding of health insurance for state teachers.
If anybody is politically smart enough to know this is a non-starter in the Republican legislature, it's Mike Beebe.
I think Beebe dropped this suggestion as a gig to tall-talking Republicans who are suddenly advocates for big government when the teeachers start flooding their mailboxes. Beebe's comment was merely meant to underscore that there is no magic in preventing ruinous premiums. The state and school districts can contribute more. Or those covered can receive fewer benefits.
It has always been wrong for the state to allow one class of state-financed employees be treated better than another, the teachers.
One of many steps that could be taken to improve the situation is, of course, mandated coverage. All must participate if they don't have other insurance and thus grow the pool to spread the risk and increase the amount paid in. Think Obamacare.
Oh, and one more thing: Spending the current state surplus for a quick fix is no solution, Bro. Rapert. Again, Mike Beebe has made it clear that's a non-starter without a commitment to a long-term solution.
Surpluses are easy come and go. You note that the sales tax for highways is falling short of expectations. Tax cuts are coming. Economic indicators are mixed on the prospect for growth. Committing surplus now with no expectation that money will continue to accrue just invites a larger future crisis