Leader Blues

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

EDITORIALS>>Huck's taxes - addendum

The long list of tax increases that became law during Mike Huckabee’s 10-year reign as governor, which The Leader published here Saturday, left out one important tax of that era: the infamous “bed tax.” Officially, it was not called a tax but a Quality Assurance Fee.

It was in 2001 amid complaints about the quality of care in Arkansas nursing homes and the low government reimbursement for long-term Medicaid patients in nursing homes that Gov. Huckabee embraced the so-called “bed tax.” The state would collect a tax of 6 percent of the gross receipts of nursing homes. For the families whose loved ones were on Medicaid, it was no burden but the tax was passed on to private-pay patients, for whom it was a shock.

Last year, Huckabee’s last, the tax brought in $54 million — a fairly substantial tax by Arkansas standards. Anyway, if there were any doubt, the tax made Huckabee a bigger taxer in 10 years than Bill Clinton was in 12. We had speculated as much in an editorial several months ago but skeptics wanted documentation.

We apologize for the omission.