Wednesday, November 28, 2012

They Said What? White House On U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice

Jay Carney

White House press secretary Jay Carney on whether U.N. ambassador Susan Rice misled the American people on the Benghazi terrorist attack.

"He [Barack Obama] is not particularly concerned about whether the ambassador or I went out and talked about the fact that we believed extremists might have been responsible."
- Daniel Halper, Weekly Standard, 11/28/12

Tags: They Said What, White House, Press Secretary, Jay Carney, U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, misled the American people, Benghazi, terrorist attack

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Arkansas: Status of State Health Insurance Exchanges

ARRA News Service: ObamaCare Exchanges Are NOT A Done Deal! Our Partners at Americans For Limited Government are tracking updates as they occur.

The following is the most current information as of 3:16 PM Eastern on November 19.

By John Vinci — Governors and other state officials, across the states, are deciding whether their state will establish a Health Insurance Exchange. The Department of Health and Human Services has given States until Friday, December 14, 2012 to decide. We have been following this issue closely and here’s the status of the states as best as we can tell.
.... [Full Report]

Brief Summary:
- 20 States NOT establishing a State Exchange
- 11 Undecided States. This includes Arkansas Note on AR: Arkansas governor says state-run health insurance exchange still an option, The Republic (Columbus, IN) (November 16, 2012) h/t PoliticoPro
- 3 States opting to establish a federal “partnership” Exchange.
- Presently, only 16 States plan to establish a State Exchange.

Tags: Obamacare, states, status, health insurance exchanges, Arkansas

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

ICYMI: Carter Elected Speaker of Arkansas House

Nic Horton, The Arkansas Project reported on Nov 15, 2012: Democrat Speaker-elect Darrin Williams not affirmed as next Speaker of the Arkansas House by a vote of 48 For, 49 Against. Rep. Davy Carter has defeated Rep. Terry Rice 52-45 in the Speaker’s race. Davy Carter is the Speaker-elect and will be the first Republican Speaker of the Arkansas House.

About the new Speaker of the Arkansas House:
Rep. Davy Carter of Cabot represents District 48 in the Arkansas House of Representatives which encompasses part of Lonoke County.

During the 88th General Assembly, Rep. Carter serves as chair of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. He also serves on the House City, County and Local Affairs Committee; Legislative Joint Auditing Committee; and the House Rules Committee.

For the 87th General Assembly, Rep. Carter served on the House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee, where he chaired the Subcommittee on Constitutional Issues; the House Judiciary Committee; and the Joint Performance Review Committee.

Rep. Carter is a banker and attorney. He earned a J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's William H. Bowen School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review. He completed the LSU Graduate School of Banking, and he received an undergraduate degree in Corporate Finance from Arkansas State University.

Rep. Carter has been involved with several civic and youth organizations in his district and is a member of the First Baptist Church in Cabot. He and his wife, Cara, have three children.

Tags: Arkansas, Darrin Williams, Davy Carter, Democrats, house, legislature, Politics, Republicans, speaker, Terry Rice

Monday, November 19, 2012

Arkansas GOP Makes Historic Gains On County Level

Little Rock, Ark. – Republican Party of Arkansas: Arkansas Republicans increased the number of positions they hold on the county level by 18 percent from 2010, picking up 58 seats statewide this election cycle. From 2008, the Republican Party of Arkansas has seen its control of county level seats increase by nearly 70 percent said State GOP Chairman Doyle Webb.

“The strength of the Republican Party in Arkansas begins at the county level,” said Webb. “These gains demonstrate the growth of our party and that Arkansas Republicans have bright future ahead as we continue fighting for hardworking taxpayers.”

Republicans made historic gains in many places, electing the first Republican County Judges in Baxter (correction noted below)  and Marion counties, the first Republican Justices of the Peace in Mississippi, Howard and Franklin counties, a Republican Treasurer in Saline County and taking control of the Faulkner County Quorum Court.

“Our vision to build a two-party system on the county level has just begun, and we will work hard to increase these numbers in the coming years,” Webb continued.

Webb himself is a former Justice of the Peace and in 1986 was the first Republican elected in Saline County. He said there are still four pending Justice of the Peace races and one pending County Judge race to be accounted for.

Media Contact: Katherine Vasilos, RPA, 501-282-9518, Email
Correction information furnished by Rod Soubers, Baxter County Republican Chair: The information about Baxter county is not correct. Mickey Pendergrass is the third Republican to be elected County Judge in the county; Morris in 1920, Dan Hall in 2004 and 2006, and now Mickey in 2012. Bob Cohee also served as County Judge by appointment in 1993. For the first time, Baxter County elected a Republican County Clerk, Canda Reese. For a complete list of current elected Republicans in any county in Arkansas view the 2012 Arkansas Election Results.

Tags: Arkansas, GOP, county officials, gains, Baxter County

Friday, November 16, 2012

A New Day in Arkansas

Katherine Vasilos, Communications Director: A lot of firsts were made this election year in Arkansas. Because you elected a new Republican majority to the state Legislature, we now have a Republican Senate President and Republican House Speaker for the first time in 138 years! Congratulations to Senate President Michael Lamoureux of Russellville and House Speaker Davy Carter of Cabot who will both serve our state with great leadership.

A Republican–led Senate and House means new, bold ideas will be brought forth to help hardworking taxpayers keep more of what they earn, protect our state Medicaid system and create a better future for all Arkansans!

The Second Term
Did you see President Obama’s press conference about nothing this week? Obama couldn’t provide any specifics on his plan for a second term but only to say he’s been given a mandate to “work really hard.” He also dodged questions about U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s role in misleading the public on the Benghazi Terrorist Attack.

How do you feel the Obama Administration handled Benghazi? We want to hear from you – leave us a comment.

A New Day
Being an Arkansas Republican hasn’t always been easy. Our success today is the culmination of decades of work from individuals with a vision to build a real two-party system in Arkansas. To document this historic journey, we’ve compiled a series of short videos to share with you.
Winter State Committee
On December 1, we are hosting our Winter State Committee Meeting in Hot Springs at the Arlington Hotel. If you’re a voting member of the State Committee, click here to pre-register online. For our TUSK Club members, we will host our annual Christmas Celebration the Friday night before our meeting. To inquire about joining the TUSK Club, click here.

Tags: Arkansas, A New Day, Doyle Web, history of Republican leadership

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Arkansas Board of Education Approves Open Enrollment Charters

“We urge the Arkansas Board of Education to expedite the process of evaluating and authorizing public charter schools in the future so parents will have even more school choices for their children.”

by Laurie Lee, Press Release: Cabot, AR –  A+Arkansas would like to recognize the Arkansas Board of Education for voting to authorize three new open enrollment public charter schools with a fourth that could be approved by the first of the year pending additional information. The public charter schools will increase schooling choices for parents and children in Arkansas, allowing them a better opportunity to find a school that best fits their needs.

We urge the Arkansas Board of Education to expedite the process of evaluating and authorizing public charter schools in the future so parents will have even more school choices for their children.

Scheduled to open in August 2013, the new public charter schools will serve communities in Little Rock, Bentonville, and Pine Bluff. Premier High School in Little Rock is focusing on helping high school dropouts and at-risk students. Premier, in association with Dr. Fitz Hill and Arkansas Baptist College, will be located in a new building and have a one-to-one student-to-computer ratio.
The Arkansas Board of Education has only authorized 4 new public charter schools over the past 3 years. A+Arkansas sees public charter schools as one of many important tools that can be used to improve Arkansas’ schools and has been advocating for their increased use in the state.

A+Arkansas has been touring communities and engaging with Arkansans about the need to reform education in Arkansas. Despite some politicians claiming that our education system ranks fifth in the nation, less than one in three Arkansas students are proficient in basic math and literacy. In fact, Arkansas ranked in the bottom 10 states in 2011 for 4th and 8th grade reading and math scores according to the National Center for Education Statistics. If we don’t continue to push for positive reforms, our children will fall even further behind.
A+ Arkansas is a coalition of concerned parents, educators, and community leaders. We fight for reforms that will increase accountability in schools and improve opportunities for Arkansas' youth. For more information and to find out how you can help improve education in Arkansas, please visit or call (501) 258-6353. We are also on Facebook: AplusArkansas and Twitter - @AplusArkansas

Tags: Arkansas, A+Arkansas, education, open enrollment, Charter SchoolsInsert tags

Friday, November 9, 2012

Economic Education in Arkansas

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr
by Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr: I attended a luncheon celebrating the 50th year of Economics Arkansas, a non-profit dedicated to the teaching of economics in schools across our state.  At the luncheon, they honored several Arkansans with the Excellence in Free Enterprise Award for their success as entrepreneurs.  They recognized the legacies left by the late Sam Walton, the late Don Tyson, and the late J.B. Hunt and his wife Johnelle.

J.B. Hunt only attended school through the 7th grade before he went to work.  His trucking company now employs 15,000 people.  He built it from the ground up.

Don Tyson, of Tyson Foods, is another Arkansas success story.  Because of what Don Tyson built, Tyson Foods employs 66,000 people and millions have access to quality food.

Sam Walton’s empire started with a five and dime store.  From it, he built what has become the world’s largest company, supplying jobs and goods to untold millions of people.

These are the type of leaders young people today should emulate.  Hardworking, determined, risk-takers who see a need or an opportunity and they seize it, and better people’s lives as a result.  Not only were they successful businesspeople, but they were generous to others as well.  The impact these individuals have had on millions of other people’s lives is immeasurable.

I appreciate what Economics Arkansas is doing.  Many kids come out of school without knowing about money and how the economy works.  They don’t know what being an entrepreneur means.  Economics Arkansas works with educators in several ways.  They provide professional development workshops and conferences, they promote ways for teachers to help learn economics through their Stock Market Game and other programs, and they offer resources, grants, and scholarships for teachers to develop their own economic education projects.

Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, says that the promotion of the free enterprise system is about making a moral argument for how the system helps add value to people’s lives.  He said, “We need a system where passions and rewards meet.”  I agree.  That is what the free enterprise system is.  Government is necessary, but it is not the end-all provider of goods and services in our society.  The private economy is where kids can break the cycle of poverty and gain independence.

For more information on Economics Arkansas and the work they do in education, visit

Families all over Arkansas have now gone through the pile of Halloween candy and are making plans for Thanksgiving, getting ready to go to visit family, and deciding whether to have mashed potatoes or green beans with the turkey and dressing.

But, there’s another special day in between that we must not forget.  Next Monday is Veterans Day in America.  It is a day in which we honor those who have served our nation in uniform.  Whether it be a grandfather, a neighbor, or a co-worker, we all inevitably know someone who has served.  We owe these people a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice on our behalf.  Though we are currently in a very political season, honoring our military veterans is something we should all agree is worthwhile.

To all of our veterans, retired and active, thank you for your service.

Tags: Lt Governor, Mark Darr, Arkansas, economic education

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Voters Turn Control of State Legislatue Over to GOP

Katherine Vasilos, Communications Director, RPA: Thank you for standing up to 138 years of history and electing Republicans to lead in the Arkansas Legislature! Despite the fact that state Democrats ran the most negative campaign in Arkansas history, you elected a new Republican majority in both the State Senate and State House. Today, Republicans hold 21 out of 35 seats in the Senate and 51 out of 100 seats in the House.

This is a victory for hardworking taxpayers like you who deserve leaders with bold ideas to grow our economy, help businesses create jobs and create a better future for all Arkansans.

On a national note, with the election of Tom Cotton in the Fourth Congressional District, we now have four Republican Congressmen and veterans representing our great state in Washington.

We look forward to having Congressmen Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack and Congressman-elect Tom Cotton join Speaker Boehner and the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. A Republican-controlled House is a victory for all Americans who believe we must keep taxes low, reduce our deficit and strengthen the economy.

Let’s also be proud that Arkansans carried the state for Governor Mitt Romney with over 60 percent of the vote. While we didn’t win the presidency, we must keep our faith and continue fighting to restore America’s greatness.

Most importantly, we are so thankful for the candidates who put their lives on hold to offer themselves for public service and give the people of Arkansas a choice so that we could build a real two-party state.

For complete election results, click here.

Tags: Arkansas, voters, 2012 election, Republicans, State House, State Senate

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Arkansas Republicans Win All U.S. Congressional Seats

Bill Smith, Editor: While nationally, voters re-elected President Barack Obama, Arkansas moved on to join the Dixie states in electing Republicans to Congress and controlling their state legislatures. Arkansans voted over 60 percent for presidential candidate Mitt Romney and placed the Republicans in control of the Arkansas State Senate for the first time since reconstruction in 1874. They voters also removed the democrats' majority control of the Arkansas State House. Republicans are expected with one remaining race being verified or recounted to either control the Arkansas House via an outright Republican win or to control via a conservative caucus.

At the Congressional level, Arkansas voters re-elected three Republican members of Congress and elected a new Republican to represent the remaining congressional district.  1st District Congressman Rick Crawford won with over 56% of the vote over three opponents.  2nd District Congressman Tim Phillips won with over 55% of the vote over three opponents. 3rd District Congressman Steve Womack won with over 75% of the vote over two opponents.

The 4th Congressional district has been a democrat bastion, but in the last few years, it has been represented by "blue dog" democrat Congressman Mike Ross who is retiring at the end of this session. Ross' votes while moderate most of the time were often against the positions of liberal democrats controlling his political party. Mike Ross should reconsider is party affiliation if he desires to pursue elected offices in Arkansas. As a side note, the Democrat controlled Redistricting Commission via Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and Arkansas Attorney General  Dustin McDaniel gerrymandered the districts in hopes to gain an advantage and to protect the democrat's control of the 4th District. However, by the will of the people, their efforts have failed.

The people of Arkansas Fourth Congressional District elected an veteran an outspoken conservative Republican to represent them in Congress. Tom Cotton won over 59% of the vote over three other candidates with the democrat candidate receiving 37% of the vote. Since Congressman-elect Tom Cotton is Arkansas' newest elected member of the new Arkansas Delegation, below are his comments after winning the election:
Congressman-elect Tom Cotton
Thank you!

Thanks to all of you, we’ve won a big victory tonight!

It’s a victory we all hoped for—but maybe larger than we expected. Many other races across the country have yet to be decided. But here in Arkansas, tonight, we’ve shown that the spirit of 1776—the spirit of liberty—is alive and well in 2012.

This campaign, from the beginning, has been about something more than what the government spends or how much we pay in taxes, as important as those things are. Our campaign has been about the future of self-government in America. About returning our government to its constitutional roots; reasserting our natural, God-given rights; and reviving our free-enterprise system.

As I did before in the U.S. Army, tonight I give you my solemn oath that I will support and defend our Constitution and the spirit of our beloved Republic.

That oath is a privilege. It brings to mind the debt of gratitude we owe to those who came before us, and that I in particular owe to so many in this room. To all of you for your hard work. To my campaign team, who had as much political experience as I did when we started—none. To my mom and dad, for their love and guidance. As I grew up on our small farm in Yell County, they always did what was right for Sarah and me, not necessarily what was alright with us. And to Sarah, for her support and friendship.

Finally, I’m grateful above all to the people of Arkansas, who have done me a great honor and given me a great trust. Whether you voted for me or not, I will do my very best for all my fellow citizens. This district is used to sending Democrats to Washington. Now we’re sending a Republican. But just as sure as Grant County is named for one soldier who went to Washington as a Republican, you can be sure I’ll serve every citizen of every party equally and fairly.

Our fellow citizens went to the polls today for the 113th time under our Constitution. This simple but majestic act brings home the founding truth of our republic: we’re all equal in God’s eyes and thus should be under law. In too many places around the world, that’s still not the case. But in America, it doesn’t matter who your parents are or who their parents were, or where you come from, or what you do. All that matters is your loyalty to that great principle, and you’re an American at heart. You can find opportunity here to fulfill your dreams and build a better life, for yourself and your family.

But too often politicians in both parties have lost faith in the American way. They’ve misused the power of government to aid the politically connected and the privileged, to raise up artificial distinctions among citizens where none should exist, to grant preferences and favors to flawed ideas, because in trying to pick winners, politicians almost always pick losers. The best ideas don’t need government aid to succeed in a free economy. And we’re left with the bill: less opportunity, less prosperity, and less liberty.

But more important, the next generation, who are as much a part of America as we are, as our forefathers are, will be left with the bill. There’s no justice in that. Abe Lincoln explained long ago, it’s the same struggle of right and wrong we’ve seen since the beginning of time, “the same old serpent that says you work and I eat.”

Let us today rededicate ourselves to the spirit of our Constitution: to secure the blessings of liberty not only for ourselves, but also and especially for our posterity. Eleven generations of Americans have done it for us; we owe them and the next generation of citizens nothing less.

I’m mindful tonight that we would have nothing to pass on to the next generation without the courage and sacrifice of the men and women of our Armed Forces. They stand guard tonight in Afghanistan and all around the world—just as they have since Lexington and Concord. From the Minutemen who defeated the mightiest empire in the world, to the volunteers who held the Union together so their heirs—like my dad and his dad—would be able to save humanity from Nazi and Soviet tyranny, to the 9/11 generation today, our soldiers have always stood ready to lay down their lives so others may live. We owe them all a debt of gratitude too big to ever repay.

But we can begin to repay them by living up to their example in Washington. Shortly after I began this campaign, an elderly lady came up and asked me, “You were in the Army, right?” I said, “Yes, ma’am.” She said, “Now you want to be in Congress?” I said, “Yes, ma’am, I do.” And she said, “Why would you want to leave the country’s most respected institution for the country’s least respected institution?”

Lately, it’s a sad fact that our political institutions have lost respect among our citizens. Our troops, on the other hand, are respected not just for what they do—fight and win our country’s wars—but for who they are, for the character they display. If our political leaders demonstrated some of the same virtues—like duty, integrity, and courage—our political institutions will regain that lost respect.

As it is, one of the most common questions I got asked on the campaign trail was, “Will Washington change you?” I don’t think they meant it in a good way—maybe “change” has developed a bad taste after four years of Barack Obama. Washington too often does change those we send there, and not in a way that General Washington would have approved.

Seven years ago today, I reported to the U.S. Army’s Ranger School. Every day we recited the Ranger Creed, as a reminder of the high standards set for us. I remember those lessons very well. I will take those lessons to Washington in hopes of changing it, not to be changed by it: I volunteered fully knowing the hazards. My country expects more of me. I will shoulder more than my share of the task. I will set the example for others to follow. I will fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission, though I be the lone survivor.

And what is our mission today? As every soldier knows, it’s to pass on what we’ve been given in better shape than we found it. What we’ve been given is a country that has brought more prosperity and more liberty to more people than any in history. That country was born in the sacrifices of our founders, who knew that government should be limited, that it should treat citizens as equals, and that it must protect a private sphere of economic freedom and religious liberty. Those principles will guide me in Congress and they will restore America’s greatness.

No doubt, we’ve had our challenges recently and I can’t promise we’ll overcome them in the next year or even the next Congress, because they’ve been building for decades. Nor can I promise that you’ll always agree with my votes, because I owe each of you my conscience, my judgment, my unbiased opinion. But I do promise that together we can complete the mission, we can overcome our challenges, we can build a brighter future, and we can pass on a legacy of liberty greater still than the one we inherited.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
Tom Cotton

Tags: Arkansas, Congressional Races, republicans, Tom Cotton, Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack, election 2012

GOP Gains in Arkansas House: Dems Lose Majority Control

Another amazing headline in the Arkansas Business: Arkansas Democrats Lose Majority in State House

Andrew Demillo reports: LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Democrats will not have a majority of seats in the state House next January, for the first time since Reconstruction [1874].

With results counted through early Wednesday, Republicans hold a 50-48-1 edge over Democrats and the Green Party in the state House. One race is yet to be decided, but the Democrats don't have a candidate in it. It takes 51 votes to pass a bill out of the House. The GOP can take control of the chamber if it wins a remaining seat in northwestern Arkansas where some votes remain uncounted. . . . [Read Full Story]

Tags: Arkansas, state House, Republicans win, republicans, election 2012, reconstruction

Republicans To Control Arkansas Senate

Wow, look today's headline in Arkansas Business: Arkansas Senate Flips to GOP; First Time Since Reconstruction.

Andrew Demillo reported: LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Republicans seized control of the state Senate for the first time since Reconstruction in Tuesday's election, while also preventing Democrats from taking a majority of seats in the state House.

The GOP seized control of the Arkansas Senate, giving the party an edge it last saw during a special session in 1874. . . .

Republicans Tuesday night gained a state Senate majority for the first time since Reconstruction and held a 21-13 edge with votes yet to be tallied in one race as of early Wednesday morning.

Democrats had controlled both chambers since the post-Civil War period ended in 1874.

Arkansas was the last state in the old Confederacy to never have Republicans control a legislative chamber since the post-Civil War period.

State GOP Party Chairman Doyle Webb said Tuesday he believed the results showed that voters wanted a "viable two party system" in the state. "They want a check and balance on the Democrat Party," Webb . . . . [Read Full Story]

Tags: Arkansas, State Senate, Republicans win, republicans, election 2012, reconstruction

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day: Vote for New Conservative Majority in Arkansas

BootBerryism Twitter follows AR House Republicans Twitter  which addressed the count down to a new majority after 138 years of one party control by democrats.  The image above identifies the unopposed races between Republicans and Democrats.  There are a few districts where democrats unopposed by republicans are opposed by third party candidates. Hopefully, today's results will see the voters leading Arkansas to join the other southern states who have moved right to conservatism after years of the Democrat Party movement toward socialism and liberalism and abandoning the Arkansas values of God, tradional family, freedom,  liberty, and love of country.

Tags: Arkansas, vote today, 2012 election, Nov 6, Arkansas House Republicans, twitter, new majority

Monday, November 5, 2012

Let's Make History

Katherine Vasilos, Communications Director:, RPA: Democrats have controlled the state Legislature for 138 years. Tomorrow night, that will change due to the support and hard work of conservative Arkansans like you.

This year, we have endured one the most negative political campaigns in Arkansas history courtesy of Arkansas Democrats and Washington DC outside groups who have made untruthful claims and partisan personal attacks on Republicans. It’s clear - Democrats will say or do anything to hold onto power.

What’s even more alarming is one outside group known as the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) was directly funded by Governor Mike Beebe and the state Democratic Party. That’s right – Arkansas Democrats paid outside groups to flood our communities with dirty attacks. Read more here.

On the other hand, we are proud to have run a campaign based solely on the issues, focusing on policy differences and legislative records. You deserve a fact-based campaign and that’s exactly what we ran.

The stakes have never been higher to bring new leadership to Arkansas and America. Did you hear what Barack Obama said last week? He said that “voting is the best revenge.” That’s not the vision we need for our country. Mitt Romney said it best – "vote for love of country, not revenge.”

We hope you’ll join us tomorrow night for our “Countdown to Victory” Election Night Watch Party in West Little Rock at the Embassy Suites beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Honored guests include, U.S. Senator John Boozman, Congressman Tim Griffin, Lt. Governor Mark Darr, House Republican Leader Rep. Bruce Westerman, current elected state legislators and legislative and local candidates.

You can RSVP online here:
Let’s make history tomorrow!

Tags: election 2012, making history,

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gov. Beebe: Arkansas May Have to Scale Back Services Under Medicaid Program

Heritage Reported on Aug 1, 2012: "Obamacare Robs Medicare of $716 Billion to Fund Itself." POTUS stated that the $716 Billion taken from Medicare and Medicaid to fund Obamacare would have little or no effect on the services currently provided and no real financial impact to individual States. Seems our Democrat Governor Beebe (aka, O'Beebe) didn't get the message. If you haven't voted early, or voting early on Monday, be SURE TO VOTE ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2012

Cecile Bledsoe
Arkansas State Senator Cecile Bledsoe, Capitol News: LITTLE ROCK – The state Medicaid program may have to scale back delivery of some services, the governor said in press interviews.

Medicaid officials have warned that the program faces a potential budget shortfall of $250 million to $400 million next fiscal year. During the 2013 regular session the legislature will make the final determination on the budget of the Medicaid program.

The governor has asked officials at the state Human Services Department to try to avoid complete elimination of any programs, and instead to explore the possibility of reducing the frequency that services are available to eligible Medicaid recipients.

In preparation for the session, lawmakers are holding budget hearings at the Capitol. A starting point for serious budget negotiations will come when the governor’s administration presents a proposed balanced budget on November 15.

In the same interview, the governor said that the state can add money to the Medicaid budget in two ways. The first is by allocating new revenue that has resulted from growth in the Arkansas economy and thus in the total amount that the state collects in taxes. The second source would be last year’s surplus of $145 million. He said he generally prefers not to spend “one time” money such as a budget surplus to ongoing expenses such as Medicaid costs, but sometimes it is necessary.

The governor said a tax increase to bolster Medicaid is not a good option.
Medicaid subsidizes health coverage for the poor, the elderly and people with disabilities. Payment comes from the state and federal governments, with the federal government contributing about 70 percent this year. Combined state and federal spending this year will be about $4.5 billion in Arkansas.

Balancing the Medicaid budget for the next two fiscal years is expected to be the most difficult funding issue facing legislators in the 2013 session. One problem is the anticipated shortfall of up to $400 million.

Another issue will be whether to expand Medicaid under the federal health care reform act. Initially, the federal government would pay for 100 percent of the costs of making an additional 250,000 Arkansans eligible for Medicaid. The state would gradually assume a share of the costs until 2021, when the state would be responsible for 10 percent of the costs of the expansion.

There are other pressing needs for state revenue, and every day during budget hearings legislators hear requests for funding. Public defenders have made the case for additional personnel. Institutions of higher education requested more state aid last week, in order to keep up with enrollment growth and to possibly avoid increases in tuition and fees. The state Correction Department, which operates prison units, must securely supervise a consistently growing number of inmates.

Public schools from kindergarten through grade 12 will get an increase in funding of between $56.6 million and $78.4 million. Those amounts represent increases of 1.8 to 2.5 percent in school funding. Analysts for the legislative Committees on Education have determined that an increase in spending within those parameters is needed to keep education funding in Arkansas constitutionally adequate.

Tags: Arkansas, Capitol News, Cecile Bledsoe, Medicaid program, reduced services, Gov, Mike Beebe, Obamacare, vote, election 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Arkansas Dems Can Run But They Can't Hide

Arkansas Democrat Radio Ad Makes Last-Ditch Attempt To Run From Barack Obama
Little Rock, Ark. – In their latest effort to distract voters before Election Day, the state Democratic Party launched a series of radio ads running from President Obama, clinging to Governor Beebe and claiming that “Arkansas Democrats are not Washington Democrats.”

“Just days before the presidential election, Arkansas Democrats are scrambling to run away from Barack Obama, possibly to the surprise of the President’s most die-hard supporters across the state,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Communications Director Katherine Vasilos. “Clearly state Democrats know voters will hold them accountable for their support of the President’s unpopular policies and are doing everything in their power to hold onto 138 years of one-party control.”

As local political scientist Hal Bass recently pointed out, it’s hard for Arkansas Democrats “to make a credible claim that they're different from the national Democrats."

“This election is about policy over personalities,” said Vasilos. “On Tuesday, Arkansas voters will reject the status quo of the Democratic Party and elect a Republican majority to the state Legislature who has a plan for bold conservative reform to help hardworking taxpayers and move our state forward.”

Click here to listen to the radio ad.

Tags: Arkansas, Democrats, hiding from Obama, Obamacare, Obama's failed record

This is Our Moment | This is Our America

NRCC: For generations, we've understood that with a little hard work, nothing was beyond our grasp. It's time we had a government that worked with us, and not against us. The "This is Our America" campaign shares stories from candidates and regular Americans around the country who are fired up about the 2012 election and have faith that America is bigger than it's challenges.

We are the National Republican Congressional Committee, and our mission is to make sure Congress spends and taxes less, so the economy can get back on track.


Rep. Mike Kelly: I really think this election is not just for control of our government. It's for the heart and soul of this country. And if we lose this now, we'll never, ever regain it. It'll be gone forever.

Mia Love: For the first time, parents don't believe their children are going to have the same opportunities they've had. We are not better off than we were four years ago.

Rep. Allen West: When I think about what kind of America I leave for my children and my grandchildren, I can't saddle them with this debt. I can't saddle them with a dependency society.

Sean Hintze: We have to tighten our belts. I think that Washington has to do the same thing.

Rep. Stephen Fincher: We're about individual freedom, we're about communities helping and taking care of one another. We want to grow the middle class. Give every opportunity to people to be whatever they want to be.

Beverly Middaugh: I only ask for two things. Freedom and opportunity. Freedom and opportunity. With that, we can do worlds.

Susan Brooks: I think that this election, is one of two paths. Do we want more government intervention in our lives, or do we want less?

Fincher: Folks, this is the most important election of your lifetime. This is about restoring American, common sense, core principles back to each American. Giving you the opportunity to choose and decide what you want to be.

Kelly: And on that day, November the 6th, there can be nothing that holds you up from getting from where you are to where you need to be to cast that ballot.

Gov. Mitt Romney: I have a plan that takes advantage of the extraordinary opportunity that exists in America right now. That's going to get this economy going again and create jobs, jobs, and more jobs.

We've seen the last four years. We don't want four more years like the last four.

Kelly: We're going to fight. We're going to make sure we keep this America, this dream, this way of life alive for generations to come. It's incumbent upon us. It's not an option. This is one you don't walk away from. This is not a storm that's going to blow over. This is one you have to face head on.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

State GOP To Host Election Night Watch Party In West Little Rock

 Little Rock, Ark. – The state Republican Party will host a “Countdown to Victory” Election Night Watch Party Tuesday night at the Embassy Suites in West Little Rock.
Honored guests include U.S. Senator John Boozman, Congressman Tim Griffin, Lt. Governor Mark Darr, House Republican Leader Rep. Bruce Westerman, current elected state legislators and local legislative candidates.
The event is free and open to the public.
What:  “Countdown to Victory” Election Night Watch Party
When:  Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 7:00 p.m. CST
Where:  Embassy Suites, Ambassador Ballroom, West Little Rock, 11301 Financial Centre Parkway 
Media Arrival Time:  Media access in the ballroom begins at 1:00 p.m. CST
Sound:  A mult box will be available.
Truck Parking:  Live truck parking is available behind the hotel at the south end.  
***Note To Media: This is a credentialed media event. To obtain credentials, please email no later than Monday, Nov. 5, at 5:00 p.m. CST.

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