The Jason Rapert memorial levee: None dare call it welfare. | Arkansas Blog

The Jason Rapert memorial levee: None dare call it welfare.

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JASON RAPERT: Nice to have a senator as a neighbor when you live in a flood-prone area with levees in need of work.
  • JASON RAPERT: Nice to have a senator as a neighbor when you live in a flood-prone area with levees in need of work.
The deficiency of flood control levees throughout Arkansas is old news, but enduringly newsworthy for the toll that inevitably arises in flooding. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Emily Walkenhorst reported extensively on the issue today.

Buried lede: It's nice to have a state senator in your levee district.

The story notes that Sen. Jason Rapert represents a levee district, which he's moaned about for years, that has been a rare beneficiary of state money.

Now, Perry County Levee District No. 1 is active again. It is relying on a $489,250 grant and a $489,250 loan approved in May from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission to fix the levee. Such funds are rarely provided to levee districts.

Perry County Levee District No. 1 doesn't have a revenue stream, but it must get one so it can pay back whatever it uses of the loan, said Mark Bennett, commission water development division manager. Trantina, the levee district president, said he's working on a property tax assessment to raise money.

Got that? Among all the deficient levee districts in Arkansas, one of them got a direct and apparently unprecedented state grant of nearly a half-million dollars to rebuild levees. It also got an equal size loan though people protected by the levee are not currently paying any property taxes toward maintaining the levees (which might have prevented past calamities) or toward paying off the new loan. That this just happens to be the turf of the big mouth of Bigelow should not be a reason for any other flood-prone people in Arkansas to think an agency funded by the state legislature would play favorites.

This is also another familiar case of situational bootstraps. Poor folks must pay in various ways for alms from the state — unemployment compensation, food stamps, health care. "Pull yourself up, man!"

Some lucky folks DESERVE government handouts.


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