Gun range owner and FOX News commentator Jan Morgan is exploring a primary challenge to Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Below are some of her issues. These are actions by the Governor that conservatives don’t like, but some things on the list are things that nobody should like. And I would add a couple of things to that list. For example, he seems to hand out a lot of patronage jobs. Ex-legislators that get run out of office due to their following his agenda instead of listening to the people they are supposed to represent seem to wind up with cushy government jobs. I also dislike his Medicaid priorities- do whatever gets the most matching dollars from DC, even if it means cutting Medicaid to the truly disabled in order to fund Obamacare for able bodied adults. Her list follows…
* Tax increases.
The Governor opposed giving an income break on military retirement pay unless the bill included increased taxes on the rest of the state to offset any reduced tax collection. The bill he supported and helped pass included a military retirement pay exemption and a tax break for soft drink manufacturers, while imposing more tax on us which not only makes up for the tax breaks but also increase taxes by a projected $5.9 million dollars annually.
*More tax increases.
The Governor signed into law a special tax increase on new tires and a new special tax on used tires to fund growing government to monitor tires from initial sale through disposal.
* More taxes demanded.
The Arkansas House of Representatives rejected a sales tax on the internet and higher gas and diesel taxes. Governor Hutchinson vowed to fight on in his support of the taxes.
*Revenue problem not a spending problem.
In having to make some cuts in his increased budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the Governor claimed it was a revenue problem not a spending problem.
*Awarding contract to the highest bidder. Despite recent state money problems, an ever-increasing state budget, and legislative opposition, Governor Hutchinson awarded a three-year contract for information technology services for the DHS in the amount of $75.3 million instead of to the contractor bidding $54.4 million. (Editor’s note: the lower bid was actually by the vendor who already had the contract and by all accounts was fulfilling it without issue, making this move even more dubious).
*Money giveaway to private colleges. Despite months of public criticism over individual legislators giving state General Improvement Funds to a private colleges and after the Governor had to cut his overly optimistic general revenue budget, the Governor gave $150,000 in emergency funds to three private colleges in Pulaski County: Arkansas Baptist College, Philander Smith College, and Shorter College.
*Picking winners and losers. The Governor continues to pick winners and losers by giving away state funds to private businesses ranging from a Taekwondo center to a steel mill seeking to become a competitor to an existing Arkansas steel mill, etc.
*Governor Hutchinson supported continued authority for the two parts of Obamacare that needed state action – Obamacare Medicaid Expansion and authority for a state run Obamacare Exchange. He calls his Obamacare Medicaid Expansion by the name “Arkansas Works.”
Governor Hutchinson criticized congressional efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, wanting to keep much of it.
In 2015 Governor Hutchinson stopped a Religious Freedom bill that had passed both houses. He didn’t want to go on record as vetoing the Religious Freedom bill, so he demanded the bill be recalled and another bill be drafted. The weaker bill quickly passed. Many of the cosponsors of the first bill were offended and refused to sponsor the weaker bill and didn’t vote for the weaker bill.
The governor didn’t sign HB1941 of 2017 (Act 980) to prohibit the use of Sharia law in Arkansas courts. It became law without his signature.
Sanctuary campuses. The Governor opposed HB1042 of 2017 to prohibit the creation of sanctuary college campuses in Arkansas. The bill did not pass.
The Governor opposed SB744 of 2017 which would have limited bathrooms in schools and other buildings to one sex. The bill did not pass.
On the 2A front:
* During the 2017 debate over handgun legislation, Governor Hutchinson rubbed salt in the wounds of Second Amendment supporters by making sure to meet with and have a big photo op with Moms Demand Action, Michael Bloomberg’s radical anti-gun organization who advocated for more gun restrictions in Arkansas .
Republican legislators, when approached about their anti-gun legislative votes which further restricted law abiding gun owners in this state, and were contrary to Republican Party platform, said they were strong armed by the Governor .
Although acknowledging that Arkansas is a Constitutional Carry state, Governor Hutchinson refused to publicly clarify this, refused to push for lower concealed handgun licensing fees, and refused to sign one of the few pro-gun pieces of legislation.
* Campaigning against Republicans who follow the party platform.
The Governor injected himself into a Republican primary race in 2016 by trying to unseat Republican Representative Josh Miller who is too conservative for the Governor. Asa endorsed the challenger and made the maximum contribution to the challenger though the Governor’s Political Action Committee (PAC). With the Governor’s influence, the challenger was well funded but the Republican voters said “NO” to the Governor and re-nominated Representative Miller.
Looks like 2018 will bring more of the same attacks with fiscally conservative Republican Senators in the Governor’s crosshairs.
Using bogus budget numbers aimed at hurting fiscally conservative Republican legislators.
*In 2016 his administration used bogus budget numbers and ridiculous doom and gloom claims of pending budget cuts if some Republican Senators continued to refuse to BREAK their promise to voters to oppose Obamacare Medicaid Expansion (which the Governor renamed “Arkansas Works”). The Governor’s administration’s bogus tactic led the Batesville Guard newspaper to embarrass itself by blindly accepting the ridiculous claims.
Now one problem she is going to have in a GOP primary is that a lot of the incumbent legislators are going to back Hutchinson. The great majority of them went along with most or all of her list! Especially once the filing period is over or they think they are in a safe seat (which most of them are without a new party).
One thing that could be done to counter this is to put a new group on the ballot to recruit credible candidates to run against the GOP insiders all the way to November. Then they would be reluctant to alienate part of their base in the primary because they would need those folks in November.
You can do your part to help make that happen, and its not that hard. Go here, print out a petition and get ten Arkansas voters to sign it, and then mail it in to the address shown. Nobody has to do a lot, but the patriots among us need to do something. That’s what “self-government” means. It means we do it ourselves and not count 100% on some brand out of DC to do it all for us. Everyone “Get 10”!