Q&A: Hutchinson meets press.
is taking questions at a Capitol forum sponsored today by the Associated Press. Benji Hardy is on hand and will report in more detail, but the tweets are rolling in. Said the governor to be:
* TAX CUT FIRST:
No need to deal with the private option before cutting income taxes as he promised during the campaign. He says, however, that some previously approved tax cuts could be reviewed for a delay in budget planning.
* PRIVATE OPTION:
Why, yes, it must be considered as part of "health care reform." He plans "major speech." Still dodging, in other words.
No highway program in 2015 regular session. Not surprising. No program without tax increase or taking money from somebody else.
: He expects option other than $100 million new prison from his new prison chief. Cheap Louisiana gulags, maybe? I presume he doesn't mean shorter sentences and more paroles. UPDATE: Prison transfers to gulags not a "long-term solution." Meaning, in the short term, get the buses ready. He also mentions private operators. Gulp.
: He says he wants to talk about it. Only specific so far is support for on-line campaign filing. Oh, and while discussing "reform" says we need to raise the limit on individual campaign contributions.
* SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION
: He's open to exceptions to the 350-student consolidation rule.
UPDATE: Benji offers this observation on remarks about prison and parole:
.... a little surprising how strong his language is, given his caution on everything else. He says "we must have a parole system...with capability of changing behavior of parolees." He mentions high recidivism rates and "breaking the cycle." He says we have to invest in a reentry program, and make sure people have housing options.