Governor Beebe has submitted his latest budget, totaling approximately $4.7 billion in spending. But Republican legislators are saying ‘not so fast.’
As reported by Today’s THV & The Associated Press, Republican lawmakers have put the brakes on the Governor’s proposal until their request for $21 million in cuts can be discussed. Talk Business is reporting that the 11 agencies that would receive cuts are as follows:
- Department of Education
- Department of Human Services – Aging and Adult Services & Grants
- Heritage Department
- Agriculture Department
- Labor Department
- Higher Education
- Economic Development
- Parks and Tourism
- Department of Environmental Quality
- Miscellaneous Agencies
$21 million is really a just a fraction of the cuts that we need. Our state government has been growing at an enormous rate for the past ten years (more on this in a few weeks). So while $21 million is better than nothing, and these Republicans deserve praise for their courage, we can’t stop here.
This is the type of work conservatives across the state have been looking for. If Republicans want to truly make this a two-party state, these are the types of battles they need to be fighting–and they must hold the line. To propose these cuts & then cave would be an even worse political disaster than not proposing any cuts at all. If Republicans want to have a strong voice in Little Rock–and perhaps even be the majority party this time next year–they had better make some stands during this fiscal session. Leadership is even more difficult than dissension. If they can’t stand their ground now, in this political & economic climate, we shouldn’t expect them to stand on principle when they’re in power.
Now, I know many of these legislators, and I have faith in most of them, but they have much to prove to the people of Arkansas and this is their chance. Even in this election year, with this economy, it will not be easy for this state to retreat from 100+ years of Democrat leadership. People, for the most part, are comfortable with the familiar. That’s not to say they’re comfortable with all of the failed Democrat policies we’ve been enduring for over a century–such as our state’s abysmal record on education and taxes–but they are going to have to be convinced to change. They need to see clear, strong contrasts.
If Republicans want to lead this state, they’ve got to show their mettle now. Let the games begin.