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carter-hope-changeySpeaker Davy Carter’s response Tuesday to a simple question on the Hendren-Ballinger amendment to the private option funding bill was quite stunning.

The 15+ seconds of total silence underscore what we learned after legislative hearings back in January:   No one in the Democrat-Rhino coalition that passed the private option — not Governor Mike Beebe, not Speaker Carter, not DHS Director John Selig — has a contingency “Plan B” budget proposal if/when the private option funding does not pass the fiscal session now.

(via Arkansas Tea Party)

About a month ago, the coalition set the stage for what they thought was sure passage when Selig testified before the Joint Budget Committee saying

The state budget was built on the assumption of the private option being in place, so if it goes away, you start with the Governor and (the Department of Finance and Administration) and the Legislature saying, ‘OK, what do we want to fund and not fund?’” Selig told reporters after Tuesday’s Joint Budget Committee hearing.

“We don’t have a Plan B because we don’t know how much funding we have and how much savings we have until they’ve made some decisions.”

That’s right:  Even today, the coalition has no other input on an alternative except to say “without passage, there’ll be an $89 million hole” in our budget.

The people of Arkansas are ill served by this one-issue gridlock on the part of Democrats and GOP leadership.  The officials drafting our government’s budget are not taking good care of our business and the people’s money.  (One of the best reasons for Arkansas’ 75-vote-rule for passage, but we digress.)

Imagine if a CEO submitted only one budget to his Board of Directors — the budget he wants, based on his rosy projections not grounded in reality but based on suppositions that are changing frequently without notice.

Would company stakeholders think he was being rash and irresponsible?  How long do you think he’d be employed?  How long do you think the business would be profitable under these circumstances?

Even Democrat and rhino legislators have a duty to create a state budget and appropriate funds responsibly, based on factual evidence.  Backing the private option funding bill doesn’t give come with a pass on governing!