Gov. Asa Hutchinson is talking budget this morning. Benji Hardy is on hand and will report later, but he sends word that the governor has included no surprlus set aside for a “General Improvement Fund,” for either him or the legislature.
This has been the tool by which legislators have funneled money to pet local projects, a practice once deemed unconstitutional but approved in a recent circuit court decision in which Judge Chris Piazza said laundering the money first through regional planning and development districts made it kosher.
Hutchinson has always said this was a bad practice, at least the legislative part of the surplus. Necessity undoubtedly contributes to the hard line this year. Revenue is not growing. There’s a push for tax cuts. The recommended school budget falls short of what a legislative research report said was short of meeting inflationary demands.
And then there’s Obamacare.
UPDATE: The governor also said he wants a $50 million income tax cut in two years (beginning July 2018), but not without offsetting budget cuts or closing of other tax breaks..