Commentary_ john brummett_ the gif under the tree

This will be a short modern history of the General Improvement Fund. Data recovery news That’s an element of the state government budget that has amounted to an outrage in recent years and now is criminally corrupt in at least one instance.

The GIF consists of ever-occurring accumulated monthly fund balances–sometimes large, sometimes not, depending on the economy and the tightness of budgeting–that exceed the strict monthly distribution of state revenue collections under the Revenue Stabilization Act.

Until Mike Huckabee’s time, the Legislature would behold this amount of money each biennium–a surplus, some called it; unencumbered funds, others said–and place it in this GIF for one-time expenditures for statewide capital improvement projects, meaning new buildings or expanded or refurbished ones, mainly college buildings.

Then the governor would choose among listed projects for release of the money–the theory being that releasing money proportionately for all listed projects could result in an array of half-finished buildings that might or might not get completed, depending on future surplus funds and legislative attitudes.

In the late ’90s the Democratic Legislature couldn’t much stand Huckabee, who was addicted to the trappings of capital-improvement largesse. Data recovery austin He also had called the legislators rats and roaches, a too-general charge.

The Democratic Legislature took some GIF money from the governor and allocated it to itself. Data recovery micro sd card We thus had the “governor’s side” of GIF, for statewide projects, and then the “legislators’ side,” for play-pretties the legislators could favor with funds back home–curbs, gutters, streetlights, senior citizens’ centers, rodeos, rural fire departments, Boy Scout troops, a little Bible college, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, a fireworks show, ozone therapy, even a trip for Shiloh Christian’s coaches and players and warm-up outfits for North Little Rock Ole Main athletes.

Then in the early 2000s a future governor, Mike Beebe, then president pro tem of the Senate, called in senators to tell them what he was going to give them on the legislative side for their projects. Database relationship diagram That infuriated some, mainly those not in Beebe’s golfing and ruling clique and inclined to find Beebe a tad … Data recovery services near me shall we say … Database worksheet haughty.

Then, with Beebe gone to a term as attorney general and then a governorship, legislators began the practice of taking the GIF money on the legislative side, dividing it by the number of legislators and giving each legislator an equal share to throw around back home.

The practice got sued, successfully. Database constraints Legislators are to be appropriators and policymakers, not spenders and executors. Database vault Giving a state legislator money for a named local entity back home amounted to “local legislation,” which violated the language of the state Constitution that bars local legislation.

Then legislators came up with a new scheme: They’d essentially launder the legislative money through appropriations for state agencies or regional planning and development districts that would then release it to local projects at the direction of state legislators.

I have an uneven personal history on this issue. Qmobile data recovery software I wrote columns supporting the Democratic plan to take some of Huckabee’s money. Tally erp 9 data recovery software I put personality above policy, and remain ashamed. 7 databases in 7 weeks But I’ve railed ever since against the ensuing abuse and rampant impropriety of letting legislators have money to spend as they personally wish without pre-audit or post-audit or other form of transparency or accountability.

Now there’s this development: Former state Rep. 3 database models Micah Neal of Springdale has pleaded guilty to taking a kickback on GIF funds distributed by his direction to a local entity, doing so, according to his information, in concert with an unidentified former state senator and lobbyist.

• People are walking around the Capitol nervous about the Neal guilty plea and the possibility that the unidentified state senator is cooperating with federal authorities.

• Gov. Database programmer salary Asa Hutchinson, who has pre-emptively committed $100 million of GIF to the state Highway Department, is saying there won’t be any legislative side of GIF this time if it’s left to him. Database developer salary There are a few legislators grumbling that the GIF is a good thing that helps people back home. Data recovery agent But nobody is in much mood to go the mat for a process that may be on the radar of a federal grand jury.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong–and many things right–with legislators appropriating sums to state or district agencies that could then disburse funds from those sums to worthy local projects based on strict regulations, a transparent and objective application process and grading system, and full auditing.

A professed fiscally conservative state legislator railing against government waste while running around with taxpayer money in his pocket to hand out as he pleases without restriction … Data recovery usb flash drive that’s ironic.

John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , was inducted into the Arkansas Writers’ Hall of Fame in 2014. Data recovery windows Email him at Database definition Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.