Talk Business Arkansas bloggers Jason Tolbert and Michael Cook appeared on Sunday night’s TV program to discuss a variety of topics from the Arkansas legislature.
Tolbert said it is too soon to deliver the final grade for Republican performance in this year’s General Assembly as the GOP controls both chambers for the first time since Reconstruction.
“It’s yet to be determined. We’re really going to have to look back at the session after it is over and see if they got everything done. I think things are moving in the right direction right now,” Tolbert said.
He cited progress being made on tax cuts and health care with a few weeks to go.
“If they can make all of these things come together in the end, where at the end of the session they can stand up and they can say, ‘Remember we promised what we would do, this is what we campaigned on, and these are our accomplishments.’ Then I think they can say they succeeded,” Tolbert added.
Cook said Republicans are showing their rookie stripes.
“They’re struggling still. We spent the first weeks of the session talking about guns and abortion or abortion and guns, and now finally they’re starting to talk about real things that matter in terms of tax cuts, creating jobs and Medicaid expansion,” said Cook.
He said reliance on Gov. Beebe, who served in the legislature for more than two decades and is now in his sixth year as Governor, has been a godsend.
“What’s also funny is that the Republicans, in a lot of ways, have to look to Democrats to run the government. Gov Beebe is a prime example,” said Cook. “We’ll have to wait until the end of the session to see what the scorecard will be. Right now, they’re still struggling.”
Cook and Tolbert also discussed voter ID, tax cuts, health insurance expansion, the Big River Steel superproject and more.
Watch the full exchange in the video below.