Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2007
It was a good week for …
SHEFFIELD NELSON. The former Arkla executive and Republican gubernatorial candidate said he would lead a campaign to raise the natural gas severance tax through a 2008 ballot initiative. He said he'd devote the revenue, first, to higher education. This steals a march from Gov. Mike Beebe, who wants to experience legislative failure first in 2009 and then consider a 2010 initiative for an increase decades overdue.
CORPORATE WELFARE. The Democrat-Gazette put a pencil to the enticements for the new windmill blade plant at the Little Rock Port and found that state and local authorities have came up with some $25 million in direct grants, free land and training money, not even counting a 27-year state income tax exemption to land a plant that will employ some 1,000 people, earning a whopping $11 to $15 an hour. What a deal.
HILLARY CLINTON. The University of Arkansas's Arkansas Poll shows she's the clear favorite among Arkansans. She bested former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee 35-8 in to an open-ended question on presidential preferences.
It was a bad week for …
The RIVER TRAIL. An Episcopal Collegiate School expansion project seems likely to further restrict useful right of way for the portion of the bike trail that runs past the school. City officials seemed uninterested in attempting to work out an easement with the school, even though city approval is necessary for the school's expansion and thus offers some negotiating leverage.
MIKE HUCKABEE. The Arkansas Blog reported that he's sent out an e-mail begging endorsements from Republican legislators following criticism in national press by assorted Arkansas Republicans. The Democrat-Gazette followup two days later found only nine of 33 Republican legislators willing to say they supported Huckabee's presidential bid at this time.
The STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. Led by a Walton Foundation retainer employee, Naccaman Williams, whose private job entails pushing charter schools, the board approved a white flight charter school in Pulaski County, despite a lack of demonstrable need.