The Arkansas legislature is taking a spring break but that doesn’t mean you should stop worrying. A couple of additions to your worries from the fine print in bill filings — one grinds the poor, the other helps the rich.
AFFLICTING THE AFFLICTED: Yet another little
COMFORTING THE COMFORTABLE: Some complaints have been heard here about HB 1693 to use still more “construction management” for major highway projects. How the scheme works: A firm is chosen to
Hey. If you can’t believe
Don’t get me started on the $300 million highway tax plan the governor just rammed through a highway-lobby lubricated legislature. Poor folks will pay for the asphalt in fuel and sales tax increases while millionaires can buy honkin’ big SUVs with their income tax cuts. This plan was preceded by no meaningful study of how wisely we manage road construction in Arkansas; whether we maintain too many miles of highways; whether changes in transportation might mean changes in construction needs; whether trucks are paying a fair share of the cost of interstate destruction. No, the highway building lobby said it needed more money and it was done. In the
But back to construction management. The bill is already out of the House. Looks like it means the highway director would be able to select a construction manager without even first seeking two proposals for THAT, as current law provides. It would increase from three to five the number of major projects that could be done this way, up to $200 million worth. It eliminates other requirements in existing law. Critics say it’s an invitation to crony capitalism and an invitation for campaign contributions to friendly legislators. But, gee, that’s cynical. Crony capitalism in Arkansas?
I know this. We need George Fisher back so he could preside over a cartoon series in which the Army Engineers would bequeath their “Keep Busy” pith helmets to the Arkansas Department of Transportation, Concrete Gulches and Highway Lobby Marching and Chowder Society.