Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Read My Lips: No New Med School

Two very promising things are poised to emerge from the 2009 Arkansas Legislature, bringing good jobs and vastly improved health care services to Northwest Arkansas. One is a satellite campus of the UA Medical Center, and the other is a regional Trauma Center for emergency treatment of major injuries. Our only problem is that these are not free, and the majority of state legislators from Northwest Arkansas are Republicans who run on promises of No New Taxes.

Governor Mike Beebe today pledged to support these projects and to fund them with a tax of 50 cents a pack on cigarettes. There are no other revenues available for these new projects. Under our state constitution, tax bills require a 75% majority to pass, and Republicans hold 30% of the seats in the House and 23% in the Senate. How many of our local GOP nimrods will vote for the new taxes required to build a Trauma Center and expand the Med Center?

Benton and Washington Counties are represented in the Senate by four Republicans and one Democrat, in the House by nine Republicans and three Democrats. How many of these will vote for the cigarette tax increase to fund the NWA Medical Sciences Campus and the Northwest Regional Trauma Center? How many of their constituents have asked them to support it? Have you?

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