Monday, June 26, 2006

 

A Closer Look At Halter

Education

Democratic Lt. Governor hopeful, Bill Halter, says, "We need to raise our teacher pay, we need more scholarships for Arkansas students to attend our state universities and colleges, and we need pre-kindergarten programs available to every child." The Sniper agrees. Teachers are not paid enough for their work and it is increasingly harder to attract new teachers. It's true that we need more scholarships available to Arkansas students of every level - traditional students and adult returning students. And if we are to fund pre-K programs it must be colorblind and income-level blind.

However, Halter seems to pin his funding hopes on a lottery which would be tied to education, not on growing an economy that would provide higher paying jobs for the graduates. Current polls show that Arkansans oppose a state lottery.

He says, "I want to make sure children today in Arkansas have the same opportunities I had." Yet he went to Catholic school rather than public school. He was a Harry S. Truman Scholar and a Rhodes Scholar. Very few students have that type of opportunity.

Grade: C - Some good ideas; funding not thought through.

Jobs and the Economy

"Today Arkansas is dead last among all the states in per capita federal research and development spending. If we were at the national average in federal R & D dollars Arkansas would receive $500 million more dollars per year or $5 billion over a decade. These funds would strengthen our research universities and help us build the jobs of the 21st Century in Arkansas. Jobs that would pay two and three times the average Arkansas salary today." No, that was not a quote from Asa Hutchinson, that was Bill Halter. Strangely, that is all he has to say on his website about building for better jobs in Arkansas.

He is for raising the minimum wage, though. "Sadly, many of the special interests are satisfied to keep wages low in Arkansas, including the minimum wage. Well, I'm not afraid to tell you I support an immediate increase of one dollar an hour in Arkansas' minimum wage, and I would index it so that its value is not undercut by inflation in future years." Well, sadly, those special interests are mom-and-pop businesses who are unable to afford such increases. If the wage is raised as Halter suggests, then many small businesses will be unable to hire more employees, put off any expansion ideas, and may have to let some employees go. Interestingly, when ever there is a raise in the minimum wage the unemployment rate tends to stagnate and unionized shops which have their pay rates tied to the minimum wage average must then charge more for their product in order to pay for the wage hike. A vicious circle that serves only to trap the very people it is intended to help for they are still unable to afford the products made at these shops.

Grade: C+ - More funding for R&D studies at the universities is good; a $1 minimum wage hike without reduction in taxes serves only a feel good purpose with no long-term solution.

Taxes

"[My] opponents are not providing specific details of their proposals so it's hard to tell exactly how his approach to tax policy might differ from that of Beebe or Hutchinson," Halter said.

While stating that he will have his eye on making sure any tax changes would be fair to the middle-class, Halter fails to offer up any tax proposals - raising or lowering. A wait-and-see approach makes him look like Mike Beebe - ie. no leadership ability.

"And, we also need to make sure that we, as a state, are competitive with surrounding states, and that we are pursuing a tax policy that puts us in a position to add jobs in the state's economy and to add high-paying jobs in the state's economy." This sounds like he may want to cut taxes - that is what is needed to become competitive with neighboring states. However, Halter is a Democrat, and a Clinton Democrat at that. Remember, no Democrat has ever seen a tax they did not like, and cutting taxes is against the grain for any Democrat.

Grade: D - He talks a good game, but provides no leadership in this area.

Overall Grade: C- - So far, Halter is all talk and no specifics (sound familiar?). With education plans tied to a lottery and generic ideas for the economy and taxes without any sign of leadership, Halter is too dangerous to take a chance on with Arkansas' fragile economy.

Comments:
Hey Halter keep on talking about that lottery......give a man enough rope................LMAO
 
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