Gov. Mike Beebe didn’t really say anything that hasn’t been said for months, but it’s probably worth the headlines over his reminder yesterday that the legislature’s refusal in 2014 to continue to approve spending of additional federal money received under the Obamacare Medicaid expansion will devastate the state budget. Scheduled tax cuts will have to be rescinded or major portions of the budget will have to be cut. It’s just arithmetic, he said.
Complicating matters: Half of the state budget — the amount spent on public education — is off limits to budget cutting under dictates of the Lakeview school funding decision.
So what you gonna do? Granny in the nursing home tossed into the street? Cut prisoners loose to rape and pillage? Surely to God the State Police will have to stop chauffeuring Mark Darr to football games. On the upside for some, the state probably can’t afford to house prisoners for such low-level non-violent crimes as spending taxpayer money on personal expenses.
The obtuse — like Reps. Bruce Westerman and Ann Clemmer, who propose to take their math skills to Congress — think you can overturn Arkansas’s “private option” version of Obamacare, keep cutting taxes and keep paying for all those services we’ve all come to depend on. Magic math. Free lunch figuring.