Beebe Pulls Legislators’ Strings Again, Gets Special Session
Beebe — who opposes special sessions on “difficult and complex issues” citing cost to the taxpayer — has called a special legislative session to “solve the crisis” on the teacher health insurance premium increases set to take place January 1 — but only after reaching “consensus” in the Senate and House on the solution.
So now we taxpayers get a special session to pay for, beginning tomorrow (Thursday) at 3 pm, supposed to last three days.
Our GOP lawmakers have fallen for Beebe’s manufactured crisis. Senator Jason Rapert has been in the news the last couple days, saying “agreement” was a key word, and “getting 75% of the legislature” together on the issue was a big task.
It’s deja vu all over again.
Last spring, when Arkansas was totally embroiled in the Obamacare/Medicaid private option deal, several lawmakers requested a special session to help unravel it all and give the people a chance to be part of the process. No deal, said Beebe.
But now it’s OK, because he said so. But he couldn’t do it now without GOP support.
Beebe knew about the dire situation with the teacher health insurance program back during the regular session early this year but chose not to deal with it then, so no real crisis exists now except his timing (remind you of anything on a national level??).
The proposed “solution” to this manufactured “We-Must-Do-It-Now-to-Save-The-Teachers” crisis is to throw in more taxpayer money so the teachers have only a 10% premium increase.
What about changing the law to require that state funds funneled to school districts to pay for health insurance actually be used by the schools that way? That’s not the way it’s done now.
With the health care industry nationwide undergoing such major changes via Obamacare and rising costs, is it fiscally responsible to other citizens and taxpayers to use our state funds this way over and over again for one special interest group — without implementing major reforms for an unworkable, unsustainable program?
Our Governor is truly showing his partisan style. He was hell-bent on implementing Obamacare during his tenure (along with many GOP legislators, just like now), despite the many legal challenges, saying “It’s the law.” He vetoed two pro-life bills because he said court cases had decided that issue and it would be too expensive to fight for the bills in court.
But now Beebe thinks removing funding from “rich” school districts to redistribute to less fortunate districts should be part of the “deal” on this “crisis — even though there’s no plan to require these schools to use those funds for health insurance. (Read about the details at TheArkansasProject.com)
As Beebe well knows, this type of progressive income redistribution was recently ruled invalid by the Arkansas Supreme Court so this action will surely result in lawsuits and taxpayer expense for Arkansas.
Will the Arkansas GOP ever learn? Making a political calculation that Democrat teachers will suddenly love Republicans by getting them out of the hole they dug demonstrates a fundamental ineptitude on behalf of GOP leaders. Standing for true, grassroots, conservative values might, instead, give them the power they seek.
Even with a Legislative majority, the GOP is unable to change Arkansas’ trajectory. Beebe exploits that ineptitude and has pulled it off again.