There seems to be some confusion at the state Capitol these days. I thought for a while that we were making progress, but it seems that both the governor and (some) lawmakers have things backwards -- many of our current leaders believe the Arkansas economy's primary function is to supply the "needed" revenue for whatever new programs they can dream up.
Why else would anyone seek a tax increase of roughly $100 million last year to fund new health programs at a time when the state's coffers were flush with cash -- $300 million?
The Democrats' belief in the pre-eminence of the state is derived from the flawed idea that government rather than private sector growth -- that necessary evil known as the market economy -- is a better provider of opportunity.
Quite frankly this kind of thinking isn't new; this statist attitude has dominated in these parts for many years. This, of course, isn't the only view of the state's economy.
The purpose of the movement of goods and services within our state's borders is to provide for jobs and the flow of commerce for the people of this state. Those who create jobs for a living actually embrace this view of the economy.
Arkansas' per capita income ranks near the bottom of the country because the state's economy lacks high-wage jobs. For his part, the governor has tried to recruit business, but giving handouts -- the governor's preferred method of luring businesses to the state -- will not solve our economic woes.
Simply putting more dollars in the governor's "quick-action closing fund" is not the answer, although it and other incentive programs have become necessary evils for recruiting business.
We need more pro-growth policies that will make Arkansas the most appealing place in the region for capital investment. But don't look for anything like that out of this government. Instead the prevailing mentality is tax more, spend more and grow state government. We need a change and that's what I intend to do.