Monday, Apr 30, 2012
Column- "Irresponsible Spending"
By Lieutenant Governor Mark A. Darr
Last week, a group of legislators on the Arkansas Legislative Council, made up of 31 Democrats and 17 Republicans, voted along party lines to approve spending 7.7 million dollars in taxpayer money to be spent by the Arkansas Insurance Department on planning for a state health insurance exchange as part of implementing the controversial federal healthcare law.
We are just weeks away from the United States Supreme Court reaching a decision on the legality of this law and these individuals have decided that 7.7 million dollars doesn't merit a few weeks worth of waiting. I think this is irresponsible.
How many of you would spend a large amount of your own money or your business' money on something that could be irrelevant just two months from now? This is just another example of frivolous government spending with other people's money without regard to fiscal responsibility. Our country is currently 15 trillion dollars in debt because of things like this.
We keep being told that our state "must" do this or else. We have checks and balances in this country for a reason. This is one reason why I think this law is unconstitutional. The federal government is trying to force Arkansas into implementing a system that two-thirds of our state doesn't want. It is our duty to stand up for our state. We cannot continue to allow our state to continue on a path toward bankruptcy, which is what I think will ultimately be the result of this law, under threat from the federal government. What's more, the people in charge of implementing these programs admit that they have not even read the full legislation.
I don't just oppose this law and its implementation on constitutional grounds or to be obstinate. I believe it will greatly damage the private insurance market, vastly expand government, and lead to an enormous financial burden from which our system and our economy may never recover.
Arkansans deserve better.
On another topic, as I had the honor recently to serve as Acting Governor during Governor Beebe' trade mission to China, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the state troopers that are assigned to the governor's security detail. These men do an excellent job and their professionalism is exemplary.
Finally, this Friday, my staff and I will be in Jonesboro for the annual Arkansas Mission of Mercy Free Dental Clinic. There, hundreds of underserved Arkansans will be offered free dental care by the Arkansas Dental Association and volunteer professionals from all over the state. This is a great event and a great reminder that the private sector is more than capable of providing compassionate healthcare for our citizens. If you are in the area, the event will take place this Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, at the ASU Convocation Center.