CHEERING BEEBE: The new legislature applauds Gov. Mike Beebe at his opening speech.

  • Brian Chilson
  • CHEERING BEEBE: The new legislature applauds Gov. Mike Beebe at his opening speech.

It’s done. Say hello to the 2011-2015 slate of leaders: Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Secretary of State Mark Martin, State Treasurer Martha Shoffner, State Auditor Charlie Daniels and State Land Commissioner John Thurston. They were sworn in this morning, in advance of Gov. Mike Beebe’s afternoon inauguration to a second term.

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Also before the inauguration, Beebe spoke to a joint legislative meeting about his agenda. He mentioned prison reform (he’ll have to increase correction and community punishment budgets in the course of saving money, however); he warned of the need for money to combat expected Medicaid demands; one twitterer indicated that Beebe disputed the long-disproven trickle-down theory that tax cuts pay for themselves; he said a half-cent grocery tax cut is all the state can afford, and he insisted that other tax cuts must be justified by specific spending cuts, which he intimated the state can’t justify.

There was also this: What with that lottery money rolling in, Beebe implored universities to try to hold down tuition increases. The fallacy in this exhortation lies in the fact that the lottery money is only a replacement for money coming from students’ and parents’ pockets. It has no impact on the inexorable rise of college costs. It is of no benefit to the colleges, except perhaps in additional students, who also increase costs. Colleges must raise tuition or the state must pitch in more money to offset the needs for more money. Absent either of those steps, the lottery scholarships will be gradually devalued.

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WITH EMPHASIS, Beebe said: General revenues cannot be tapped to pay for highways.

Beebe also plugged the state’s relatively sound economic condition, improvement in some education and other measures and jobs created in the state during his first term. Sounds again like my suggested state slogan: “Arkansas: Better than you might think.”

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Here’s the text of both his speech to the legislature and his subsequent inaugural address. You can see clips of both on the jump. Beebe’s speech before the legislature had a little more substance. One message was consistent in both: Arkansas may be doing fine, but we can do better.

I SWEAR: Gov. Mike Beebe takes oath for second term from Chief Justice Jim Hannah.

  • Brian Chilson
  • I SWEAR: Gov. Mike Beebe takes oath for second term from Chief Justice Jim Hannah.