by Max Brantley
Governor Asa Hutchinson appeared on the Capitol View program on Sunday and presented an interesting version of the facts. Many of the successes he claims for his administration were, in reality, due to the hard work of Arkansas Democrats. Some of the Governor’s successes are just fabrications and spin.”Hutchinson defended tax cuts that went — for example — to a couple each making $75,000, or $150,000 in family income, while a couple making $40,000 (each partner making $20,000) was left out. He said he targeted the "sweet spot" of the economy, the sector producing most.
“Under the Governor’s leadership, the Republican majority has found money in the budget to finance huge tax giveaways to the wealthiest Arkansans, but not for early childhood education. Even as Arkansas teetered at the edge of a fiscal cliff, the Governor managed to find $1.1 million to redecorate his mansion.”
Governor Hutchinson lists the following among his administration’s accomplishments:
$100 Million Tax Cut: Most Arkansans were left out of the Governor’s tax cut. While the Governor and Republicans gave millions in tax breaks to the state’s wealthiest residents, more than a half million Arkansans who make less than $40,000 a year received very little, or nothing at all. Governor Asa Hutchinson promised tax breaks to the wealthiest Arkansans and kept it.
Balanced Budget: Balancing the state budget is a requirement of the Arkansas Constitution. Following the law should be an easy promise to keep for the governor of Arkansas.
Hiring Freeze: The Governor’s hiring freeze resulted in a debacle at DHS. 50,000 Arkansans were unfairly kicked off their health insurance, in part because DHS was not adequately staffed to handle the workload. The extra cost in overtime, additional training, and restoring the health insurance of many of those kicked off their plans is not calculated in the Governor’s hiring figures. Vacancies were not filled, putting additional work on already strained state water quality officials and other essential services.
Jobs: The Governor is taking credit for his predecessors work. Many of the jobs the Governor has announced were part of economic development plans by Governor Beebe. Arkansas Democrats are grateful Governor Hutchinson did not disrupt the processes already in place when he took office.
Address Medicaid Expansion: The Governor’s entire Party campaigned against the Affordable Care Act and the Private Option, now known as Arkansas Works. The Governor began to agree with Democrats after he realized that failure to fund Arkansas Works would put his tax cuts for the wealthiest Arkansans in jeopardy and send our state over the fiscal cliff.