Quote of the Week:
Today, Janet and I want to show up and stand up for our friends. Let others run from them. We will run to them with our support.
—Mike Huckabee, in a Facebook post addressing the allegations that surfaced last week against Josh Duggar (see column, opposite page).
An opportunity you may want to consider
News emerged last week of questionable dealings by Bill Walker, a Democrat who headed the state Career Education Department during Gov. Mike Beebe's administration. The agency evidently made grants to Walker's sister and others close to the former state senator that were related to 5Linx, a multilevel marketing company that sells nutritional products. A Department of Finance and Administration audit found that Walker himself also worked for the pyramid marketing company, and promoted that business to other employees. When asked by KATV's Jason Pederson about the investigation, Walker denied any wrongdoing. "I don't know what they mean by promoted it to other employees," he said to Pederson. "If you're saying did I go up and say look, Jason, here's an opportunity you may want to consider. ... I didn't do that at work. I was very careful to do my 5Linx business on my own time."
Prescription for trouble
Federal and local law enforcement made some 140 arrests last Wednesday as part of a four-state operation to crack down on improper prescription and sale of drugs such as Hydrocodone and Xanax. Four doctors, four nurses and five pharmacists were among those charged in the unfortunately named "Operation Pilluted." At least one pharmacy and one clinic in Little Rock were raided.
The Lockheed Martin superproject, by the numbers
This week, the legislature returns to the Capitol to consider giving an economic development incentive package to defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which is vying for a major contract to produce the next generation of light tactical vehicles for the U.S. military. If Lockheed wins the contract, it would expand its existing facilities in Camden.
$87 million: The amount of public debt that would be issued to provide a direct grant to Lockheed. The total cost of those bonds to Arkansas taxpayers would be $118 million.
$6.3 million: The annual cost to the state in debt service on those bonds, based on an estimated 3.3 percent interest rate.
600: The estimated number of jobs that would be directly created through the project, not counting jobs that may be retained as a result of the expansion.
20: The number of years it would take for the state budget to begin to see a net gain in revenue from Lockheed's expansion, according to the state's economic analysis.
$45 billion: Lockheed Martin's annual revenue. Arkansas's state general revenue is around $5 billion.