Times are tight for most government services in Arkansas. Gov. Asa Hutchinson is building up a huge rainy day fund for future tax cuts, corporate welfare handouts and the like. But some special interests get money.

Special ed kids in real public schools? No.

More parole officers? No.

A functional school voucher program in which the well-to-do can transfer money that otherwise would be paid in taxes to private school tuition? Yes, perhaps $5 million a year worth.,


More taxpayer money to pay for charter school buildings? Yes. Yes. Yes. The Joint Budget Committee agenda for tomorrow has new spending requests from the governor. They include an increase from $5 million to $6.5 million next year for charter school facilities because of the growth in students attending open enrollment charter schools. It doesn’t say who the lucky recipients will be. But the state is doing all it can to encourage charter school growth in Little Rock, for one, to the detriment of the school district it took over from local taxpayers and residents.

Still more voucher money? Yes. Yes. Yes. The Joint Budget requests include moving up spending on the so-called Success Scholarships from $1.3 to $1.54 million. This program gives state money to families to send their children to private schools, ostensibly for special needs, but they need not demonstrate that local school districts do not meet that need nor must they demonstrate much by way of competence to the school they prefer.