Monday, July 30, 2012

Education Technology & Arkansas Sales Tax Holiday

by Lt. Gov. Mark Darr: As we come to the end of the summer in a few weeks, our family is getting ready for another school year. My wife is a teacher and my kids will be starting the second and sixth grades. As young as my kids are, I’m amazed at how adept they are at technology. Their childhood is nothing like the one you and I experienced. Most of us never had the internet, or a cell phone, or even a laptop.

In Arkansas, we have seen a real emphasis in technology take hold in the classroom. From the EAST Initiative to the eSTEM curriculum to providing iPads and Kindles for students, schools are tapping into new and innovative methods of education. Students learn technology at an early age these days. It’s encouraging to see that technology widely available in the consumer market is being creatively adapted for use in teaching. New interactive software, smartphone and tablet apps, and online programs are all helping educators and parents to teach kids in a new way.

A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education said that, “Investments in education-technology companies nationwide tripled in the last decade, shooting up to $429-million in 2011 from $146-million in 2002, according to the National Venture Capital Association.” I expect this will continue.

Business people in the private sector must adapt and learn new technologies, so we have to prepare our kids to do the same so that they will succeed when they enter the job market or decide to start their own business.

I had the opportunity to speak at a conference recently for a non-profit organization called AUTIS (Arkansas Users of Technology & Information Systems). They exist to promote information technology as a profession and have reached out to schools by providing technology grants, as well as backpacks that include thumbdrives for students to use on their computers. It’s always good when the business community does its part to interact with schools. The future of their business, of course, depends on the education of the employees they will be able to recruit.

One of my favorite opportunities as Lt. Governor has been visiting schools across Arkansas and seeing new and creative approaches to education. I’m excited to see more this upcoming school year.

Last week, I attended the annual meeting of the National Lieutenant Governors Association. It was good to meet with many of my counterparts from around the country and hear what sort of issues they are focusing on in their states. I had the honor of being elected to serve as the South Region, Republican-at-Large member on the NLGA leadership committee. This committee charts the course for issues and work that the association focuses on and I look forward to working in a bi-partisan manner with my fellow lieutenant governors.

With school getting started back soon for the fall, you won’t want to miss out on Arkansas’ Sales Tax Holiday this weekend, August 4th and 5th. Last year, the Arkansas Legislature passed legislation to help all Arkansas families save money on purchases like clothes and essential school supplies. For these two days, many items of clothing, shoes, and school supplies can be purchased and no sales tax will be charged. With the economy still struggling, most families have to watch every dollar they spend, so please take advantage of this opportunity. Not only will you save some money, but you will be helping out local businesses in your community as well.

Tags: Arkansas, Lt. Governor, Mark Darr, Education, educational technology, sales tax holiday

Arkansas Democrat - Gov. Mike Beebe Wants To “Take the money” And Run With Obamacare

Mike Beebe Sold Out To Barack Obama

Obamanite Mike Beebee: Take the money and run

A chance to expand Medicaid-free!  - Nothing is Free - There are Government Strings!

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 29, 2012
LITTLE ROCK — IT’S A no-brainer. Here the federal government is offering to pay the full cost for every additional patient Arkansas enrolls in its Medicaid program under the new Affordable Care Act, yet state government hesitates. Why wait? Take the money!
There’s a catch, of course. There always is with these deals out of Washington. There’s even a phrase for it in federalese: unfunded federal mandates. Yes, the feds will pay the full cost for some 200,000 to 250,000 new Medicaid clients in Arkansas for a few years, but after that, the state might have to pay 10 percent of the cost. But no need to go into all that. It’s free money! Or rather federal money, which is the same thing, right? Take the money!
Why all this hesitation and calculation and legislative deliberation and general hemming-and-hawing? Why delay? Leap before you look, he who hesitates is lost, strike while the offer is hot, or however the proverb goes. Just remember this: These people are from Washington and they’re here to help. Take the money!
Our governor says he’s inclined to accept this generous offer. Why not? By the time Arkansas’ share of the cost for all those hundreds of thousands of new Medicaid enrollees begins to creep up and Washington starts tightening the screws on state finances, Mike Beebe will be well out of the Governor’s Mansion and it’ll be some other governor’s problem. Don’t worry, be happy. Take the money!... 

Click here to read full editorial. (Subscription Required)

Tags: Mike Beebe, governor, Arkansas, Obamacare, Obamacare money

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Reducing Red Tape

Rep. Rick Crawford: The House of Representatives took steps this week to cut through the red tape small business owners face. I am also proud to say that my FUELS Act was voted out of the House Transportation Committee. The legislation would modify the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule that places an unnecessary burden on farmers and ranchers.

Small businesses truly do drive the economy. Unfortunately, Washington bureaucrats have imposed annual regulatory costs of $10,585 per employee on small businesses. The SBA estimated in a 2010 report that the total regulatory costs on small businesses amount to $1.75 trillion annually. This week the House took action to cut through the bureaucratic red tape. My column this week focuses on the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act.
Feds Strangling U.S. Business in Red Tape
Nothing kills jobs faster than a Washington regulation. Too often federal agencies impose rules without talking to the people who will be forced to live with them. This week the House of Representatives took action to reduce the regulations small businesses face. With the passage of the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act, the House gave small business owners and job creators some relief from erroneous regulations.

Since taking office, the Obama administration has had under review more than 400 regulations classified as economically significant. A regulation is classified as economically significant if the proposed regulation will have an annual impact on the economy of $100 million or more. If every regulation the Obama administration has under review were to be implemented, jobs creators would be saddled with at least $40 billion in new regulations – simply put – this is unacceptable.

The Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act would impose a moratorium on any new economically significant regulation until unemployment drops below six percent nationally. This will save at least $22.1 billion and thousands of jobs. The legislation would also prohibit “lame duck” administrations from issuing economically significant regulations. Under this legislation, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission would be required to conduct more detailed cost-benefit analyses on proposed regulations.

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses have created 64 percent of all new jobs in the past 15 years. Small businesses truly do drive the economy. Unfortunately, Washington bureaucrats have imposed annual regulatory costs of $10,585 per employee on small businesses. The SBA estimated in a 2010 report that the total regulatory costs on small businesses amount to $1.75 trillion annually. That’s enough money for businesses to provide 35 million private sector jobs with an average salary of $50,000.

Across Arkansas’ First District and throughout our country, small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. This week the House took action to get Washington bureaucrats off the backs of small business owners. Regulations from the Obama Administration are deterring small business owners from hiring workers and growing the economy. In Congress I will continue fighting to create an environment that encourages small business owners to hire so our economy can grow and our nation can move forward.

Tags: Rick Crawford, Representative, AR-01, Arkansas, Reducing Red Tape

Arkansas GOP Hosts 2012 State Convention Today In Hot Springs

Little Rock, Ark. – The state Republican Party will host it 2012 State Convention today in Hot Springs at the Convention Center at 10:00 a.m. for the purpose of electing presidential electors and passing a new party platform.
Guest speakers include Foruth Congressional District candidate Tom Cotton, Arkansas’ Congressional Delegation among others.

What: Republican Party of Arkansas 2012 State Convention
When:  Today, July 28, 10:00 a.m. (Morning Session) 1:00 p.m. (Afternoon Session)
Where:  Hot Springs Convention Center, 134 Convention Boulevard, Exhibition Hall A

Republican Party of Arkansas
2012 State Convention - July 28, 2012
10:00 a.m. Morning Session, 1:00 p.m. Afternoon Session
1) Call to Order………………………………..………………………..………Chairman Doyle Webb
2) Welcome…………………………………………………..Ben Bancroft Garland County Chairman
3) Invocation…………….Dr. Jim Griffin, Past President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, LR
4) Presentation of Colors………..…………………………………..Hot Springs Village Color Guard
5) Pledge of Allegiance……………….…...........................................……Major General Tom Arwood
6) National Anthem……………………………………………………..Garland Co JP Susan Wilkins
7) Report from Credentials Committee………..……………….….………….Secretary Jennifer Parks
8) Report of Committee on Temporary and Permanent Organizations..……………..Rep. Allen Kerr
9) Adoption of Rules for the 2012 State Convention…………..…..………..……….Tom Lundstrum
10) Remarks……………………………………………...Arkansas Republican Congressional Delegation
11) Election of Presidential Electors………………………………………..……Chairman Doyle Webb
12) Remarks…………………….............……….Tom Cotton 4th Congressional District Candidate
13) Report from Memorials Committee……………….……National Committeewoman Reta Hamilton
14) Introduction of NFRW President………………….......………………AFRW President Julie Harris
15) Remarks…………………………………………………..…NFRW President Rae Lynne Chornenky
16) Remarks “Painting Arkansas Red”…………………………...………………………Around the State
17) Arkansas Victory Report……………………………………………...…….…Chairman Doyle Webb
a) Presentation of Federal Candidates…………………………...…..………….Rep. Jonathan Barnett
b) Presentation of State Senate Candidates…………………...……………………Sen. Johnny Key
c) Presentation of State House Candidates……………………...……………Rep. Bruce Westerman
18) Certification of Nomination of Candidates
*The convention will recess at 12 Noon for lunch or before taking up item 17, whichever occurs first.
19) Discussion and Adoption of the 2012 RPA Platform…....…….…..………...……..Arlon Hickman
20) Presentation and Ratification of State Committeemen/Committeewomen
21) Other Business to come before the Convention…….……….….……..…….Chairman Doyle Webb
22) Announcements.…………………………….…………….……….....…………Chairman Doyle Webb
23) Meeting Adjourns

Tags: Arkansas, RPA, Republican State Convention, July 28, 2012, Hot Springs

Friday, July 27, 2012

Washington! It Is Time To Stop Digging!

Washington Could Learn A Lot: If you keep on digging, you'll put yourself deeper and deeper in the hole. The bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, D.C. have put this country in a $15,874,876,409,526.41 hole (U.S. national debt ending on July 20, 2012).

Maybe its time we stop digging!

To learn more, visit is a project of Public Notice Research and Education Fund (PNREF). PNREF is an independent non-profit dedicated to educating the American people about economic policy and the principles of economic freedom. PNREF believes an empowered American public will cause lawmakers to be better stewards of the nation’s economy, and of Americans’ economic freedom. If you agree, watch, comment and share this video!

Tags: Debt, economy, jobs, Washington, bureaucrats, politics, fiscal policy, out of control spending, spending, election, congress, small business, business, Government Agencies, regulations, White House, United States Congress, killing job creators, digging a hole, Time To Stop Digging, Washington Could Learn A Lot As published by the ARRA News Service.

Gov. Bobby Jindal To Headline Arkansas GOP Dinner Tonight in Hot Springs

Arkansas GOP Newsletter

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal To Headline State GOP Dinner Tonight in Hot Springs

Special Nominating Convention, Reagan-Rockefeller Dinner, State Convention on Agenda for Weekend

Little Rock, Ark. – The state Republican Party will host its 2012 Reagan-Rockefeller Dinner with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
Prior to the dinner, there will be a special nominating convention to fill a vacancy in the State Senate District 23 race. On Saturday, the Republican Party will hold its 2012 State Convention at 10:00 a.m. for the purpose of electing presidential electors and passing a new party platform.

What: Republican Party of Arkansas State Convention Weekend
When:  Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 28, 2012
Where:  Hot Springs Convention Center, 134 Convention Boulevard, Exhibition Hall A

Tags: Governor, Bobby Jindal, Speaker, Arkansas, GOP Dinner, Hot Springs

Monday, July 23, 2012

Arkansas Democrat Idea Of “Brighter Future” Means Higher Taxes From Obamacare

Little Rock, Ark. – According to a Talk Business/Hendrix College poll released Sunday, nearly 60 percent of Arkansans want their elected officials to continue blocking the implementation of Obamacare, yet the Democratic Party of Arkansas, which supports the President’s health care law, says it is “moving our state forward towards a brighter future.”

“Gov. Mike Beebe and Arkansas Democrats in the legislature are doing everything they can to implement this massive tax increase on the people of Arkansas,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb. “Democrats talk about wanting a ‘brighter future’ for Arkansas, yet support a law that includes $810 billion in job-killing taxes and will cost our nation $2.6 trillion once fully implemented.

“The real question for Arkansas Democrats is this: Does your definition of a brighter future include forcing a massive tax increase on Arkansans thanks to Obamacare? In November, the choice is clear. Either support Republicans who believe a brighter future for Arkansas means more jobs or continue the status quo with Arkansas Democrats whose idea of a brighter future means higher taxes.”

58 Percent Of Arkansans Oppose Obamacare Implementation

“Arkansans continue to oppose the federal health care law’s implementation despite a Supreme Court ruling and shifting national public opinion.” (Roby Brock, “Arkansans Split Views On Health Care, Medicaid & Medical Marijuana, ”Talk Business , 7/22/12)

Arkansas Democrats Call For Brighter Future

“Arkansas Democrats are committed to working with Gov. Beebe for a brighter future…Arkansas Democrats are ready to continue moving our state forward towards a brighter future.” (Democratic Party Chairman Will Bond, Talk Business Op-Ed

Obamacare To Cost $2.6 Trillion Once Fully Implemented

“The latest estimate, as the chart details, is that Obamacare will cost $2.6 trillion dollars in its first real decade. The bill does not fully go into effect until 2014, therefore the estimate begins with that year.” (Daniel Halper, “Obamacare Now Estimated To Cost $2.6 Trillion In First Decade,Weekly Standard , 7/11/12)

$2.6 Trillion - True Cost Of Obamacare Once Fully Implemented. (Office Of The Speaker Of The U.S. House Of Representatives, Report , 1/6/11)

Obamacare Includes $810 Billion In Taxes

$810 Billion - Amount Of Taxes In Obamacare. ( CBO , 3/13/12; JCT , 6/15/12)

Tags: Arkansas, Obamacare,

Sunday, July 22, 2012

President Obama is Anti-Business

Obama to Business: 'You Didn't Build that'
Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr: I was disturbed this week when I watched a video of President Obama giving a campaign speech in Virginia. As I watched it, I couldn’t believe that I was listening to this from an American president.

He said, “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own…If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

What he was basically saying is that it takes a village to build a business. In any society, of course you are going to interact with many people who will influence you along the way, or deal with others who provide services to your business that will be of help. However, it seemed the president was trying to make the case that people succeed in life because of government programs.

This does not represent the American spirit that I know. More Americans find success every day and it is through their personal drive, intellect, skill, and willingness to take risk that they succeed. Sure they may have enjoyed the benefits of a government program along the way, but not everyone who benefits in the same way succeeds in the same way. Entrepreneurs all over this country must possess initiative, creativity, and business skills to create new businesses and innovative products.

President Obama, who has never worked in the business world, does not understand the personal risk that business-owners take. They invest their own money, sweat, and time. The President wants to redistribute other people’s wealth by force. Where is the risk in that? The President does not seem to care whether or not businesses succeed.

President Obama does not understand that businesses need to turn a profit to stay in business. He does not understand that businesses need to save money and have to reinvest those profits to keep their business secure and competitive. A president should not disparage and seek to penalize those who have been successful.

No one is denying that we need government. No one is discrediting the influence public school teachers have on future leaders of this country or the usefulness of government-funded interstates or other government programs, but government is not the provider of all that is good in America. In socialist countries, governments have sought to "control the means of production". In America, the means of production are in the hands of individuals and corporations founded to meet supply and demand in the marketplace. I believe this freedom is part of what the Founders meant in the Declaration of Independence when they wrote about the rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We live in the greatest country on earth. There are many things that make this country great. One of them is the value of individualism. Americans are not inspired to greatness by the bureaucratic processes of government. They are inspired by stories of individuals throughout our country’s history who have taken risks, defied odds, and exceeded expectations.

Only in America can an Arkansan like Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, build a business from the ground up, starting with one retail store and expand it successfully into the largest retailer in the world. Walton started his first store, not with a loan from the government, but with a loan from his father-in-law, and with money he had saved up himself. His is a true entrepreneur's story of what is possible in this country and there are a million more stories.

The president likes to talk negatively about big corporations and business owners and those who have done well financially when it is politically beneficial to do so. Though, he willingly accepts money from those same people when it comes time to campaign.

America needs a president who is pro-business even when it's not an election year. We need real leadership, not the rhetoric and destructive policies of President Obama.

Tags: President Obama, Anti-business, tou didn't build that, Sam Walton, Wal-Mart, Mark Darr, Lt. Gov., Arkansas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". But please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rapert Calls For Investigation

Tax increase petition effort a 'spectacular failure'

CONWAY – State Senator Jason Rapert (R-Conway), Chairman of the Fayetteville Shale Caucus, today released the following statement regarding regarding the petition to raise the state's severance tax rate on natural gas and the invalidation of 70% of the signatures by the Secretary of State's office:

"I am very concerned about the allegations of fraud in the signature-gathering process and its spectacular failure illustrated by 70% of the petition's 'signatures' being thrown out. It is clear to me an investigation into the matter is needed.

"I am also troubled by the admission to the press by the head of the pro-tax effort that he only expected 40% of the signatures to be invalidated — indicating that he was willing to waste the time and money of hardworking Arkansas taxpayers to advance his effort to hurt the natural gas industry that has benefited the people of Faulkner County during our nation's tough economic times."

About State Senator Jason Rapert
State Senator Jason Rapert is a Conway businessman. He and his wife Laurie are the parents of two children and proud graduates of the University of Central Arkansas.

First elected to the Arkansas Senate in 2010, Rapert currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee and Chairman of the committee's Financial Institutions Subcommittee. Among his other committee assignments, Rapert serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Arkansas Legislative Council. Rapert also serves as chair of the Fayetteville Shale Caucus and the Conservative Caucus.

He is the President and co-founder of Rapert and Pillow Financial, an investment firm located in Conway, past president of the Conway Rotary Club, and has served on several boards of directors including the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, Conway Symphony and Conway Christian School Foundation.

Tags: investigation, petition, to raise, state's severance tax rate, natural gas, State Senator Jason Rapert, Conway, Chairman, Fayetteville Shale Caucus

Friday, July 20, 2012

Welfare No Longer Goes to Work

Arkansans have a wide and variegated opinion of former President Bill Clinton, but regardless of how one views the former Arkansas Governor, he was largely responsible for one of the most successful domestic policy reforms in the 20th century.
by Curtis Coleman: In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed landmark legislation creating what came to be known as “welfare-to-work”. The new legislation had three goals: (1) to reduce welfare dependence and increase employment; (2) to reduce child poverty; and (3) to reduce illegitimacy and strengthen marriage.

After the reform was signed into law, overall poverty and child poverty dropped substantially, decreases in poverty were greatest among black children, welfare case loads were nearly cut in half, and the explosion in the growth of out-of-wedlock childbearing slowed dramatically.

So who could be against such a successful reform with such spectacular and desirable results? The answer? President Barack Obama. Last week, President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an official policy directive undermining the welfare reform law of 1996. The new policy guts the federal work requirements that have been the foundation of that law and marks the end of welfare-to-work as we knew it.

It was the 17th century French philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville, who wrote,
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
The President has certainly made that discovery and appears determined to make a whole new generation of Americans stand at the back door of the White House in total dependency on government for every essence of their existence.

Only you have the power to change that – at the ballot box in November.
Curtis Coleman is Chairman of The Institute for Constitutional Policy.

Tags: Curtis Coleman. Constitutional Policy, Obama Administration, Welfare, no work requirement, guts Clinton welfare program

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Busiest President


Tags: president, Barack Obama, golfing, fundraisers, no jobs, election, 2012, 2012 election, RNC, ad

Boozman Introduces Death Tax Repeal Bill

ARRA News Service - WASHINGTON – With job creation and economic recovery at the top of Washington’s “to-do list,” U.S. Senator John Boozman today introduced the “Death Tax Repeal Act,” a bill that would permanently eliminate the federal estate and gift taxes that punish our small business owners and agriculture producers.

Permanent elimination of the death tax could create up to a million and a half new jobs at small businesses across the country, a recent study projected.

“Death shouldn’t be taxable. It should not force the sale of family farms or the closure of small businesses. Hardworking Americans should be allowed to pass along the results of their success, which they were already taxed on during their lifetime, to their families without having to pay the IRS. Farmers and small business owners deserve to pass along their investments to future generations without having to worry about a tax especially in this economic climate,” Boozman said. ... [Full Story]

Tags: ARRA News Service, U.S. Senator, John Boozman, bill, Death Tax, Death Tax Repeal Bill

State GOP Announces Special Nominating Convention For State Senate District 23

Update, July 27, 2012: Arkansas Republicans have nominated a former lumberman from Wynne for a state Senate seat in the Arkansas Delta. Ronald Caldwell replaces deceased Tommy Caubble on the November ballot for State Senate District 23 covers Jackson County plus parts of Cross, Lee, Monroe, St. Francis, White and Woodruff counties.
Little Rock, Ark. – The state Republican Party today announced details for a special convention to nominate a candidate for the State Senate District 23 seat.  A vacancy in nomination occurred after Republican nominee Tommy Caubble of Wynne passed away earlier this month.
The convention will take place Friday, July 27, at the Hot Springs Convention Center in the Majestic Room starting at 2:30 p.m. The 35-member Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Arkansas will serve as the convention’s nominating body.
The nominated candidate will be certified at the Republican Party’s State Convention the following day.

Tags: Arkansas, Republican Party, Special Nominating Committee, State Senate District 23

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beebe Administration Turns A Deaf Ear To Deaf Community

“Seven other candidates tested better. Six other candidates were certified. But the state hired her anyway.”

Nic Horton: That’s the lead in to a news story from a local Little Rock media outlet who conducted a rare act of journalism regarding the recent hiring of a state sign language interpreter, Miss Clara Taylor.  According to the report, the woman is not a certified interpreter and tested near the bottom of the pool of applicants for the position. . . .

State Workforce Director Bill Walker says Taylor is qualified for the position because she “has a deaf family member, has signed for members of her church for the past ten years and has been a loyal state employee for more than 20 years”–which is akin to saying I am qualified to sing in the opera because my grandmother was a music teacher, I sing on the praise team, and I loyally served popcorn at the theater.  As a special bonus, Walker told the state personnel committee that Taylor is “a team player” and “passionate.”

The real reason for her hire, however, is more likely that Walker and the woman are old friends:  according to one report, the woman is a previous employee of Walker’s funeral home.  (Walker’s tenure with the state has been riddled with scandal and cronyism.)

In a letter to state Senator Eddie Joe Williams, dated April 16th, Walker says that Taylor “demonstrated the knowledge, skills and ability required by the position.”  State Representative Bryan King disagreed when I spoke with him earlier today: “She didn’t even score 50% on the written test.  She didn’t even make a Level 1.  The deaf community is dependent upon the qualifications of the person in this position.  We are trying to get them the help that they need.  They rely on her abilities, but she could not even communicate 50% of a conversation in sign language.”

. . . But wait!  It gets better! Would you, hard-working Arkansas taxpayer, be excited to learn that you are now actually paying for this woman’s sign language certification?  According to Rep. King, she will be taking an exam at a cost of $600.  She is also enrolling in classes at UALR in order to seek a national certification.  The cost for the courses is unknown at this time.  King and other lawmakers are working to acquire that information, but he did say that the bill will be passed along to the taxpayers.

King said he will be working in the next legislative session to make sure that strict qualifications are attached to these types of state positions.  “Either the passage of an exam or a national certification should be required,” King said.

This is really one of those stories that makes you stop and ask, “What the heck is going on here?”  Chances are, you’re an average hard-working Arkansan that is struggling to get by in the Beebe/Obama economy.  Now you’ve learned that the state is handing out jobs based on personal friendships, regardless of a person’s qualifications, and you are paying for their certification.  Might I suggest that this is wrong: that people should be hired based on their credentials?  Furthermore, why is taxpayer money being wasted on qualifications exams and interviews if these jobs will ultimately be handed out based on personal preferences? What is the point in having rules and procedures if we do not follow them?  In a system where rules and procedures are flippantly discarded, personal preferences and cronyism are king. . . . [Full Story]

Tags: Arkansas, Gov. Bebee, Bebee Administration, scandal, hiring practices, State Workforce Dept, hiring the less qualified, insulting, deaf community

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

State GOP Announces Opening of Northeast Arkansas Victory Office

Little Rock, Ark. – The state Republican Party today announced the opening of its Northeast Arkansas Victory office in Jonesboro.

“The Republican Party is growing and we are committed to adding to our strength in Northeast Arkansas by electing common sense conservatives like Rep. Rick Crawford who is fighting for hardworking Arkansas taxpayers in Congress,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb. “This office will also support the election of legislative candidates as we work to end 138 years of one-party rule and send a new conservative majority to the Arkansas Legislature.”

Webb said a field representative will manage the office, recruit volunteers, host phone banks and assist candidates. The office will be equipped with Victory VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones used to identify voters, conduct surveys and collect data.

A grand opening of the Northeast Arkansas Victory office will be held Saturday, July 21, in Jonesboro from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Congressman Rick Crawford, State Party Chairman Doyle Webb and local elected officials and candidates will be in attendance. The office is located on 522 Southwest Drive.

Tags: Arkansas RPA, Republican Party of Arkansas, 2012 election, Northeast Arkansas, Victory Center, Jonesborro, AR

Monday, July 16, 2012

They Said What? President Barack Obama

“If you’ve got a business - you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

-President Barack Obama addressing supporters in Roanoke,

Do Arkansas Democrats agree with President Barack Obama?

Obama to Business: 'You Didn't Build that'

View Video

Tags: Barack Obama, promotes, Big Government, attacks business, Fox News, video

Saturday, July 14, 2012

We Answered Your Calls For Repeal

Guy Harrison, NRCC Executive Director: This week, House Republicans answered the calls of millions of Americans and voted to repeal ObamaCare and all of its crushing taxes, fees, and mandates.

Republicans realize just how damaging the law is to American families and businesses, but unfortunately, liberal Democrats still control Washington and refuse to listen to the People's call for repeal.

Paul Ryan put it best -- The best chance we have to repeal ObamaCare is to get rid of the Democrats in Washington that support it.

Republicans will continue to work toward policies Americans support: giving American families control over their healthcare, cutting spending, and getting government out of the way of job creation. In the meantime, with great supporters like you, we'll continue to hold Democrats accountable for their failures.

Tags: NRCC, House Republicans, Real, Obamacare

Rick Perry vs Beebe McDaniel

Earlier this week, Texas Governor Rick Perry vividly illustrated the dramatic difference between strong effective state leadership and the lackadaisical leadership (oxymoron?) of Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe or the “frivolous” Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

by Curtis Coleman: Earlier this week, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that Texas will not expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance exchange. In other words, Texas will not be implementing Obamacare in its entirety.

Governor Perry made his position clear in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius:
“I stand proudly with the growing chorus of governors who reject the PPACA power grab.  Thank God and our nation’s founders that we have the right to do so. Neither a ‘state’ exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under the Orwellian-named PPACA would result in better ‘patient protection’ or in more ‘affordable çare.’  What they would do is make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to health care.”
And Governor Perry affirmed this position in a statement this week,
“If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.  I will not be party to socializing healthcare and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government.”
Of course, the State’s Democrats howled loudly in anguish over Perry’s decision to turn down “billions of federal dollars.”  Does that sound familiar to you, fellow Arkansan?  Do you think these folks just simply don’t understand where those billions of “federal” dollars come from?
As it turns out, the Medicaid expansion the feds say they’re going to pay for would actually cost the people of Texas another $6 billion between 2014 and 2019.

Now, it’s time we started looking for some similar backbone in Arkansas.
Curtis Coleman is Chairman of The Institute for Constitutional Policy.

Tags: Curtis Coleman. Constitutional Policy, Dustin McDaniel, governors, healthcare, HHS, Kathleen Sibelius, limited government, Medicaid, Mike Beebe, Obamacare, PPACA, Rick Perry, Texas

Friday, July 13, 2012

Since the Days of Herod

This week Arkansas’ Democrat Attorney General called ObamaCare “a tax.”

“I’ve said a long time ago, since the days of Herod, if the government takes money from you, it’s a tax.” – Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel

So do Democrats Scott Ellington (AR-01) and Gene Jeffress (AR-04) agree?

After all, Jeffress has been vocally defending ObamaCare before audiences in Arkansas.

And Ellington praised the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the law and said he is opposed to repealing it.

“Will Ellington and Jeffress admit that ObamaCare is a tax? Both candidates support taking money from Arkansas families and seniors and handing their healthcare decisions over to unelected Washington bureaucrats.”

Tags: Arkansas, a tax, healthcare,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Democrat Scott Ellington Won’t Support Bi-Partisan Repeal of Obamacare, Welcomes Massive Tax Hike On Arkansans

Little Rock, Ark. – Despite five U.S. House Democrats, including Arkansas’ Rep. Mike Ross, voting Wednesday with Republicans to repeal President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, First Congressional District Democratic candidate Scott Ellington says repeal is “pointless” and “not helpful,” yet “can’t say” how he would vote if in Congress. 

“Why won’t Democrat Scott Ellington stand up for voters in the First District to stop President Obama’s massive tax hike on hardworking Arkansas taxpayers?” asked Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb. “Clearly, Scott Ellington cares more about continuing the President’s partisan agenda and failed policies than protecting the right for patients to make important health care choices with their doctors, not government bureaucrats,” said Webb.

With 41 straight months of unemployment at or above 8 percent, Democrat Scott Ellington continues to support a law that makes job creation nearly impossible for our small businesses and companies across Arkansas. In November, we look forward to sending Republican Congressman Rick Crawford back to Washington so we can finally end Obama’s government takeover of healthcare and enact real reform.”

Democrats Join Republicans For Bi-Partisan Obamacare Repeal Vote “Five Democrats, most of them facing tough reelection bids, supported the repeal effort alongside the GOP…The five Democrats who supported repeal were Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.) and Mike Ross (Ark.).” (Elise Viebeck and Pete Kasperowicz, “House votes 244-185 to repeal Obama healthcare reform law,” The Hill, 7/11/12)

Ellington “Can’t Say” Where He Stands On Obamacare Repeal

“On the repeal vote, Ellington said late Monday, if he were serving in the House, he would like to study the issue before making a decision. ‘I am not sure on the bill’s context,’ Ellington said. ‘I would read the bill and look for an appropriate compromise to make the bill better. I can’t say I am for or against. I’d like to read it first.’” (Michael Wilkey, “Crawford visits E.C Barton, talks health-care law,” Jonesboro Sun, 7/3/12)

Ellington: Obamacare Repeal “Pointless” and “Not Helpful”

"Now is not a time for Washington's continued partisan spinning and fighting. I urge Congressman Rick Crawford to reject his leader's pointless and hyper-political vote to repeal the ACA. It's not helpful.” (Ellington, Statement by Scott Ellington on Supreme Court Ruling, 6/28/12)

Tags: Obamacare, Scott Ellington, Mike Ross, Rick Crawford, ACA, repeal ObamaCare, congressional candidate, AR-01, RPA, Doyle Webb 

Monday, July 9, 2012

AR 03 Democrat Withdraws From Congressional Race

Lied about being a
Special Forces soldier?
By Roby Brock, Ken Aden, the Democratic nominee in the Third Congressional District, announced Monday (July 9) that he would withdraw from the race.

He was facing Republican incumbent Cong. Steve Womack.

Aden’s candidacy has been dogged by allegations that he exaggerated his military service. Aden has denied most of the allegations.

“Unfortunately, the ongoing saga related to my military records has created a tremendous distraction for our campaign, and I did not want this to have adverse consequences for Democrats across the district or anywhere else in the state,” Aden said in a release.

“Additionally, as most of you know, I recently became a father for the first time, and I will be exiting this race in order to spend more time with my family,” Aden added. “I sincerely regret any difficulty that this situation has caused my fellow Democrats, my supporters, and staff. I will continue to remain a loyal Democrat and to my best to help Democrats in win in November.”

Candace Martin, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, tells The City Wire the party will not be able to field another candidate. A Congressional candidate replacement is allowed only if a candidate dies or moves out of the state.

Martin said it was unfortunate that his “tremendous service to his country as a veteran was overshadowed by his misstatement on his military service.” . . [Read More

Referenced previous report: AR-03 Congressional Candidate Ken Aden Was Not In Special Forces

Tags: Arkansas, AR 03, 3rd Congressional District, Ken Aden, democrat, withdraws as candidate,

Friday, July 6, 2012

We Can Do Better. Much Better

This is one of those times when the good news is…the bad news. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Arkansas’s economy improved by 0.3 percent in 2011. That’s the good news, but it’s also the bad news, because – except for Missouri and Mississippi – compared to almost every state that touches Arkansas, we didn’t do so well. Yeah, I know. Thank God for Mississippi.

by Curtis Coleman: The Bureau of Economic Analysis says Arkansas’s economy improved in 2011 by 0.3 percent. While growing is definitely much better than declining, we didn’t do too well compared to almost every state that touches Arkansas. Mississippi’s economy declined by 0.8 percent and Missouri’s didn’t change at all.
So while our economy improved by 0.3 percent,
Louisiana’s improved by 0.5 percent
Oklahoma’s improved by a full 1 percent
Tennessee’s improved by 1.9 percent
And Texas’s economy improved by 3.3 percent, 10 times the rate of Arkansas.
But to bring these dry statistics a little closer to home, the Bureau’s latest report shows that Arkansas currently ranks 47th in the nation in personal income growth, just barely outpacing inflation.

We cannot continue to be satisfied that there are three states where folks’ personal income growth is worse than in Arkansas. The fact is, we can do better – much better!

Doing much better means we’ve got to have a much more competitive tax structure in Arkansas. And it means we got to reform our education system and start letting our children graduate from high school with a real chance for success in life. And it means we’ve got to start saying “No!” to a federal government that would force more unfunded mandates on our state and more crippling regulations on our small businesses.

Curtis Coleman is Chairman of The Institute for Constitutional Policy.

Tags: Arkansas, Bureau of Economic Analysis, education reform, gross domestic product, growth, income, inflation, Lousiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, personal income, tax reform, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Department of Commerce

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Best of America

There was a Time! It wasn't too long ago that the quiet heroes of this land walked tall with the pride of knowing that they lived in a country unlike no other. On this Independence Day, we celebrate that sense of American optimism and recommit ourselves to bringing that feeling back to us once again.

Tags: Mitt Romney, There Was A Time, 2012, election 2012, Mitt 2012, Believe in America To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". From the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Arkansas ends year with $145M surplus

The Arkansas State fiscal year ended Saturday. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration said Tuesday that the state’s net revenues for the year totaled $4.7 billion. That’s $178.7 million higher than last year and $145.6 million higher than predicted.

Arkansas Online says that "Combined with a surplus the state priously had, the state will have more than $191 million in money available for one-time and emergency needs.

"The money could come in handy for the state as it faces a potential shortfall in its Medicaid program. State Human Services officials project the program faces a deficit of between $250 million and $400 million for the budget year that begins July 1, 2013."

Unfortunately, Arkansas does not have a raining day fund. What they do is follow traditions and practices." Some gross traditions align with over taxation and scare tactics. The editor of the ARRA News Service previously has identified the following: "it is also time for reform minded elected conservatives to lead in efforts to stop the numerous "traditions and practices" in Little Rock that are a carry-over of plantation politics and a burden to the Arkansas taxpayers. There are too many to list herein. But one general example is the tradition and practice of redistributing 50% the excess generated revenue (the surplus) to the Governor to dole out (spend and secure favors) and the remaining 50% going to members of the legislature to do the same thing but on a smaller level including buying votes back in their districts with "our money." I would suggest while making efforts to roll-back government, surpluses needs to be at a minimum restricted to a tightly controlled "rainy day" fund to address unfunded future liabilities. Then after a period of time, say four years as a discussion point, the surpluses need to be reduced by reducing the actual tax burden on those who pay the taxes and fees (be they individuals, businesses, corporations). Surpluses should not be redistributed to new or existing programs for those whom do not pay taxes and fees. Surpluses need to be eliminated."

During Gov. Beebe's tenure we have noted corruption and irresponsibility in various departments under his jurisdiction. We have seen the growth of government and spending. And now we see Gov. Beebe making clear statements that he intends to drag Arkansas into the the Federal Healthcare exchanges which will create a burden on Arkansas in the future which can bankrupt our state.

While over 60 percent of Arkansas voted in 2008 against electing Barack Obama and replaced Sen. Blanche Lincoln in 2010 in part because she wouldn't listen to Arkansas voters and in part because she was a deciding vote in allowing Obamacare to come out of committee and to become law. In 2012, the people of Arkansas will again overwhelmingly vote against President Obama and his progressive agenda. However, Gov. Beebe in opposition to the will of the majority of Arkansans especially those whom pay the bills is insisting on establishing Obamacare exchanges. It make one wonder if Mr. Beebe is already making plans to join two Arkansas prior governors, Clinton and Huckabee, who moved to other state where they do not have to live under the laws, regulations and rules that they propagated and supported.

Tags: Arkansas, surplus, traditions and practices, Governor, Mike Beebe

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Arkansas Health Care Fight Continues


Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr: Last week, the United States Supreme Court issued an historical decision regarding the controversial federal healthcare law, allowing the mandate to purchase health insurance to be imposed on Americans as a tax, imposed by the federal government.

As you know, I joined a lawsuit challenging Obamacare a year and a half ago. Like most Arkansans, I take issue with government over-taxing us and over-regulating our lives. I never dreamed that the Supreme Court would interpret Congress’s power to tax in such a broad and unprecedented way.

Like 70% of the citizens in our state who opposed the federal healthcare law, I remain concerned about the implications of this decision. The White House healthcare plan encourages employers to dump their employees into “health exchanges.” It significantly expands abortion funding. It puts federal bureaucrats in charge of literally millions of decisions that should be confined to doctors and patients. Its immense cost endangers our economic health.

My first reaction to the Court’s ruling was one of disappointment. But, make no mistake, the fight isn’t over. In some respects, it’s just beginning at the state level. Certain aspects of the federal reform plan cannot be implemented without consent of our state’s legislature. One ray of hope is that the Federal government now cannot punish states if they choose not to participate in the Medicaid expansion program. Such an expansion would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Neither our state nor our country can afford to continue spending money without regard to consequences.

President Obama promised us that he wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class Arkansans were promised their taxes would not go up because of this law. Clearly, Obamacare is now nothing more than a tax. In fact, it could be the largest tax increase in history.

I call on every elected official who serves in the State Capitol, regardless of party, to publicly take a stand. Arkansans deserve to know whether you support continued government expansion and intrusion into their lives at a cost so great that it will cripple our economy or whether you support better solutions based on the American principles of economic and individual freedom.

Will you side with President Obama and continue to burden Arkansans, or will you help bring real healthcare reform to our state?

We have the power to make our health care system better. There is no doubt that it is sick and needs reform. At the federal level, we need encourage our lawmakers to repeal and replace this bill. At the state level, we need to work to expand the choice in insurance providers, give medical professionals more freedom to practice medicine, make sure we provide for the truly needy, and deter frivolous health care lawsuits.

My desire is for a new President and Congress who will repeal and replace this law and state legislatures who will stand firm against it at their level. This November, you will have the choice to elect who will represent you and who will make decisions on matters like this. These decisions could have a direct impact on your family, your business, and your freedom. Make an informed vote.

If you are concerned about the future of healthcare reform in our state, I urge you to contact your state representative and state senator. There will be much more debate in the coming months and important decisions will be made regarding the implementation of this law. Tell them to stand up for our state’s right to do what is best for Arkansas, rather than what is forced upon us from Washington.

Tags: Arkansas, Lt. Governor, Mark Darr, health care, Obeebecare, call for action

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Griffin ‘Disappointed’ Keystone Provision Removed, Supports Highway Transportation Bill

Recognizes infrastructure’s role in economic development, job creation
WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after House passage of the Surface Transportation Extension Act (H.R. 4348) Conference Report:

“Our highways play a critical part in our state’s economy and are key to encouraging private sector job creation.  While I am disappointed that a provision to approve the Keystone XL pipeline was removed, this bill is fully paid for, reduces the deficit and will help lay the groundwork necessary for economic growth by repairing our crumbling infrastructure and streamlining the project approval process – and without the Senate’s $7 billion in proposed tax hikes.  I am also pleased we were able to ensure Arkansas will continue to receive Secure Rural Schools funding.”

On April 11, Rep. Griffin, along with the other Members of Arkansas’s House delegation, wrote to House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica “to request that [he] include language [in the upcoming transportation reauthorization legislation] that will restore important funding for public roads to counties across the nation,” which otherwise may not have been received by Arkansas and five other states due to the untimely receipt of their election forms.

The H.R. 4348 Conference Report reauthorizes federal surface transportation programs and extends the authority to appropriate funds from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for federal highway and surface transportation programs for two years, through September 30, 2014, provides a one-year extension of current student loan interest rates and reauthorized the National Flood Insurance Program.

The House passed its version of the bill on April 18, by a vote of 293-127.

Tags: Congressman, Tim Griffin, AR-02, Arkansas, Keystone Pipeline, transportation bill

Crawford: Arkansans still Need Access and Affordability

Congressman Rock Crawford, AR-01: The Supreme Court’s ruling this week does nothing to change the fact that President Obama’s healthcare mandate is not working for Arkansas. For my part, I will continue pushing for a full legislative repeal of the President’s healthcare law.

President Obama’s plan is bad policy. The law is incredibly complex and increases uncertainty for small business owners. By requiring employers to buy health insurance for some workers, the President’s healthcare law is actually encouraging employers NOT to hire new employees. And, the mandate creates a huge new entitlement program that our country cannot afford.

Our healthcare system needs common sense reforms like:
• Allowing small businesses to pool together to purchase plans at lower costs;
• Preempting state insurance regulations that prevent individuals from buying the coverage they want;
• Negotiating the bulk purchase of prescription drugs bought by the world's largest drug customers, the U.S. taxpayers;
• Stopping waste, fraud and abuse of the Medicare and Medicaid programs;
• Adopting meaningful tort reforms to limit truly frivolous lawsuits and exorbitant legal fees;
• Adding technology in rural areas to reduce medical errors;
• Increasing training and jobs for health care professionals in rural communities;
• Eliminating insurance discrimination and pre-existing conditions based on age, health, or genetics;
• Placing a greater emphasis on prevention and wellness

After visiting every hospital in Arkansas’s First District and listening to doctors and nurses, I know access and affordability are the chief barriers to quality care. The President’s law does nothing to make healthcare more affordable or accessible for Arkansas families. Patients need to be empowered and not overburdened with rules and financial penalties from Washington. In the House of Representatives I will continue pushing to repeal every section of the Obama healthcare mandate.

Tags: Rick Crawford, Congressman, AR-01, Arkansas,