Thursday, February 28, 2013

Club for Growth Targets GOP Congressman Rick Crawford

KTLO News: A conservative group is targeting 1st District Republican Congressman Rick Crawford of Arkansas and asking for the public to recommend primary opponents over his support for increasing taxes on millionaires in exchange for a balanced budget amendment.

The Club for Growth on Wednesday listed Crawford and eight other Republican lawmakers on its PrimaryMyCongressman.com website. The site targets congressman that the group says serve in safe Republican districts but have scored less than 70 percent on its scorecard on economic issues such as tax cuts.

Crawford last year proposed a 5 percent surtax on individual incomes exceeding $1 million a year in exchange for Congress passing a balanced budget amendment.

Crawford disputed the group's criticism and said he believed it boiled down to a disagreement with the group over permanent spending controls.

Tags: Club for Growth, Arkansas, 1st District, Rick Crawford

Boozman Introduces Bill to Reinvest Millions in Arkansas

Senators Boozman and Merkley Introduce Corps of Engineers Recreation Improvement Act
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman today introduced legislation, cosponsored by U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), that permits the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reinvest recreation fees to improve facilities where the funds were collected.

The legislation would include the Corps in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and would allow the Corps to retain recreation fees, which they already charge for certain activities, in the same manner as the other federal land management agencies. The legislation will create an incentive for the Corps to maintain good facilities and provide quality recreational opportunities on our public lands.

“When citizens spend money at a Corps recreation facility in Arkansas, Oregon, or other states, they usually assume that money will be invested on-site to improve facilities and create recreation opportunities,” Boozman said. “This will help maintain and improve facilities that people use in the Natural State and continue attracting people to these sites. This legislation would result in millions of dollars of annual reinvestment to Arkansas recreational facilities.

In Arkansas, more than $4.2 million was collected in FY2012 at Corps recreation facilities.

“In Oregon, recreation means jobs,” Merkley said. “Communities that depend on recreation for their local economies need to be able to upgrade and maintain recreational facilities to keep the economy going and create new opportunities. This bill will give the Army Corps a common sense way to improve crumbling facilities and attract and retain recreational users on sites in the Columbia Gorge and across the state.”

The Corps of Engineers Recreation Improvement Act would also enable the Corps to participate in the interagency America the Beautiful Pass program to allow customers an alternative payment option at sites where entrance or amenity fees are charged. This includes the distribution and sale of the passes and the retention of a portion of the revenue for the sales of those passes. It would also allow the Corps to distribute Military Passes. This will make it easier for our servicemen and women to acquire passes.

“The Corps currently honors the pass but isn’t allowed to distribute them. Providing the ability for the Corps to offer passes to customers is a commonsense solution that will encourage continued use of federal recreation sites,” Boozman said.
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Sens. Boozman and Merkley are members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which exercises jurisdiction over the domestic program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Tags: America the Beautiful Pass program, National Parks, Corps of Engineers, Corps of Engineers Recreation Improvement Act

Boozman Votes Against Tax Hikes; In Favor of Smarter Spending Cuts

Two Senate measures to ward off sequestration fail to advance
Sen. John Boozman
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman today voted against the Senate Majority’s last ditch effort to force another tax hike on Americans and eliminate spending cuts slated to kick in tomorrow.

“We absolutely have to cut spending. While sequestration is not the optimal way to accomplish deficit reduction, it will at least force Washington to spend less, something that it has failed to do in years,” Boozman said. 

Boozman voted against the Senate Majority’s plan, supported by the White House, which sought to replace the sequester cuts by eliminating agriculture support programs, cutting defense spending and increasing taxes. The Congressional Budget Office today said that the Senate Majority’s plan actually increases the deficit by over $7 billion.

“The can has been kicked so far down the road it is out of view. Yet President Obama and the Senate Majority want to put off spending cuts again. They want to try to solve this problem on the backs of farmers, small business owners and middle class Americans. We already addressed the tax portion of the fiscal cliff. We cannot delay the other end the equation, spending cuts, any longer,” Boozman said.

Boozman added, “The reality is Arkansans have been forced to make difficult decisions in this tough economy. Many of them haven’t seen a raise in years, but their taxes, gas prices and even the price of food at the store has gone up. To tell them that Washington cannot tighten its belt a little as well would be disingenuous and completely out-of-touch.”

Boozman voted in favor of a Republican plan that sets up a process for the President to propose cuts that would achieve the same amount of savings in a different manner by March 15, 2013. Additionally, the Republican plan allows Congress final approval in the President’s proposal by March 24th.

“Spending cuts must move forward. Ideally, we would like to make them in a smarter, more targeted manner than the across-the-board cuts mandated by sequestration. This is why I voted to give the administration flexibility in how each department trims its respective budget to achieve the same amount of savings required by sequestration. This bill would have allowed the administration to make the cuts in the most effective way, Boozman said.

Both bills failed to gain the 60 votes necessary to move forward in the Senate because od Democrats blocking the bills.

Tags: U.S. Senator, John Boozman, Arkansas, smarter spending cuts, sequester,

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Griffin: Press Discredits White House’s Questionable Claims

False statements exposed

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s sequester scare tactics:
“President Obama has done nothing to replace the sequester cuts he proposed back in 2011—the same cuts he now claims to oppose. But he has launched a coordinated political campaign in a desperate attempt to scare Americans, belied by the fact that Washington will still spend more this year than it did last year. So far, his Administration has falsely claimed the sequester will impact an agency that doesn’t exist, wrongly said teachers will be laid off, hastily canceled the U.S.S. Harry Truman’s return to the Persian Gulf, and foolishly released hundreds of illegal immigrants from jail. While the President’s rhetoric is at fever-pitch, his questionable claims of catastrophe are quickly crumbling. Instead of deliberately undermining the government’s ability to provide critical services in order to score political points, President Obama should stop and consider the real people who will be forced to deal with the consequences of his irresponsible actions.”
The White House’s Questionable Claims Crumble:
1: White House Report Claims Sequestration Will Affect Federal Department That No Longer Exists. “[T]he OMB's September 2012 report says that under sequestration the National Drug Intelligence Center would lose $2 million of its $20 million budget…. [But] the National Drug Intelligence Center shuttered its doors on June 15, 2012[.]” (Reason, 2/25/13)

2: Teacher Pink Slips Claim by Duncan Not Backed by Evidence. “‘There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall,’ Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Sunday on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation.’ When he was pressed in a White House briefing Wednesday to come up with an example, Duncan named a single county in West Virginia and acknowledged, ‘whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know.’ And, as it turns out, it isn’t. Officials in Kanawha County, West Virginia say that the ‘transfer notices’ sent to at least 104 educators had more to do with a separate matter . . . They don’t necessarily mean a teacher has been laid off…. [Only] about five to six teaching jobs…were likely to be cut regardless of the sequester.” (The Washington Post, 2/27/13)

3: Journalist Bob Woodward Says President Obama Canceling Aircraft Carrier’s Deployment Is “a Kind of Madness.”The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward attacked President Barack Obama on Wednesday, saying the commander-in-chief’s decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier because of budget cuts is ‘a kind of madness.’” (Politico>, 2/27/13)

4: Illegal Immigrants Released from Jail Due To Budget Cuts Yet to Occur.
“The announcement that a few hundred illegal immigrants were being released was among the most significant and direct implications described so far by the Obama administration about the pending, automatic budget cuts that will take effect later this week under what is known as sequestration.” (Politico, 2/27/13)

Tags: Tim Griffin, AR-01, White House, sequestration, questionable claims

Arkansas GOP to Sen. Pryor: “What on Earth Have You Been Doing for 1,400 Days?”

Day # 1,400 Passes and Still No Budget from Democrat Senate

Little Rock. Ark. – Today marks the 1,400th day since Senate Democrats have passed a budget in Washington, and today the Republican Party of Arkansas took the occasion to demand that Senator Mark Pryor be held accountable for not passing a budget.

“It is an absolute dereliction of duty for Harry Reid, Mark Pryor, and the rest of the Democrats in the Senate to fail to pass a budget for the last 1,400 days,” said RPA Chairman Doyle Webb. “While middle-class Americans and small business owners all over Arkansas pay their bills and manage their own budgets, we’re left wondering what on Earth Mark Pryor has been doing in Washington for the last four years.”

Background:
FACT: Democrats in the US Senate have not passed a budget since April 29, 2009. (Senate Budget Committee, Budget.Senate.gov, Accessed 2/26/13)
FACT: Our national debt has increased $5.98 trillion since the last time Senate Dems passed a budget (Department of the Treasury, TreasuryDirect.gov, Accessed 2/26/13)
FACT: Our national debt is now at a staggering $16.6 trillion. (Department of the Treasury, TreasuryDirect.gov, Accessed 2/26/13)

Tags: US Senate, Mark Pryor, Democrat, 1400 days no budget

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Arkansas State Police Oppose Second Amendment

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Photo by Oleg Volk
by Nic Horton, The Arkansas Project: The House Judiciary Committee heard HB1408, The Open Carry Act, this morning. Before the bill was presented, it was amended heavily to allow open carry only outside of incorporated cities. Another amendment also provided a protection for carriers who accidentally had their gun exposed.

During questioning on the accidental exposure amendment, Rep. John Walker posed this hypothetical: what if someone is at a sporting event and they trip and fall, accidentally exposing their gun? This could easily incite a riot, according to Rep. Walker. “When people see guns, they panic!” he said. Nicholas Stehle of Arkansas Carry, testifying on behalf of the amendment, said, “That is a very hypothetical scenario because in Arkansas, outside of shooting sport events, concealed carry is not allowed at sporting events.” OK, glad we cleared that up.

Then the real fun began: as testimony was opened up, Arkansas State Police Director Stan Witt appeared to testify against the bill. After his comments, Rep. Bob Ballinger asked Mr. Witt why he was there testifying because it was his understanding that the ASP was not taking a position on this bill. “What changed?,” Rep. Ballinger asked. Mr. Witt said, “I can’t really tell you how long we were aware. I was just made aware of it this morning.” Asked when they decided to take a position, Witt said:
I…uh…I can’t tell you that. I just read the bill this morning and we had a discussion at our department.
In his testimony, Witt said the ASP opposes the bill due to safety concerns — not your safety, the safety of state policemen:
We oppose this bill because of officer safety reasons. Often time officers encounter suspects with guns and they have to make split second decisions. Sometimes..those seconds are critical. If a person is allowed to open carry, we feel like that would cause an officer to have to pause to wonder if that person is legally carrying or not and that those critical seconds could cost an officer his life.
Why is someone with a gun automatically a suspect? I thought we had agreed on that whole idea of “innocent until proven guilty” and the principle of “probable cause?” If there is probable cause to suspect someone carrying a gun, is it too much work for an officer to ask that person to provide their license?

You would think law enforcement officers would prefer to have citizens carrying openly so they know who is armed. Perhaps he’s been in the office too long…
More from Witt:
Another concern is if we respond to a situation where gunshots are involved and we get there and there’s several others with open carry, how long is it going to take us to find out who the bad guy is?
I tend to think that the gun bearers who have stuck around for the police to arrive are most likely law-abiding citizens — citizens who will willingly cooperate with police and provide their licenses when asked. At the end of the day, 2nd amendment advocates can’t assume that all of the consequences of open carry will be good, so let’s not be naive: there could be instances where there is a mix up between good guys and bad guys. As it stands, the bad guys currently have an advantage.

When asked if the amendment to make the bill only apply to rural areas changed his position, Mr. Witt quipped, “No sir, I don’t think there’s a difference.”

Following Mr. Witt, JR Hankins of the Highway Police division also spoke against the bill. This was by far his most memorable comment:
Most people that carry guns like this are good, honest people, but occasionally, you get that radical person out there that we also must deal with that thinks you’re infringing on their Second Amendment rights. So that can cause some tension between law enforcement and the people who actually wear these things.
Ah yes, the nefarious Arkansas citizen that values their constitutional rights — quite a dangerous specimen, no doubt. I guess instead of allowing them to exercise those rights, the state should just squash them. After all, we don’t want people thinking they’re entitled to liberty or anything.

Isn’t it amazing that the 44 states that allow open carry have not been eviscerated, ceasing to exist from all of the law-abiding citizens running around shooting people? Has Mr. Hankins never been to Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, or Oklahoma? All of these states allow open carry — is there blood running in their streets?
When asked about the importance of female joggers and others being able to carry for safety, Hankins said he carries while he jogs — because he’s a police officer — but he keeps his in his fanny pack. It would seem as though Mr. Hankins thinks he is allowed to security, but average Arkansans are not.

(Keep in mind: these Arkansas State Police administrators are presiding over a state that has a city now ranked as the 2nd most dangerous in the nation. Clearly, they are experts.)

Meanwhile, Red Lobster and several of their customers got robbed in Little Rock last night. Wouldn’t it have been swell if there had been an armed lawful citizen there? To echo the words of a member of the River Valley Gun Club who testified on behalf of the bill today: “We’re not your problem.”

The fundamental question of this debate is simple: do the police exist to protect our rights or to dictate our rights? Mr. Witt and Mr. Hankins appear to believe that the police have a better understanding of what our rights should be and are better able to protect us than we are able to protect ourselves. I believe this is a fundamental misunderstanding of our American ideals. Will the consequences of open carry always be good? No. In a free society, as in a draconian society, bad things happen. But do the benefits outweigh the cost? Is our freedom and right to self-defense worth the risk? Undoubtedly, the answer is ‘yes.’

Ultimately, the bill failed to clear committee, receiving only 9 ‘yea’ votes. Kudos to Rep. Ballinger and the bill’s sponsor Rep. Sue Scott for requesting a roll call vote. You can see the vote tally here.

Stay tuned to TheArkansasProject.com — I’ll be posting an interview with Arkansas Carry about today’s developments. In the meantime, you can check out the video of the entire hearing here on the House website.

Tags: Arkansas, State Police, oppose, Second Amendment, HB1408, The Open Carry Act, Nic Horton, The Arkansas Project

Why I Signed Act 145

Mark Darr Signs Arkansas Sen. Bill 131
by Arkansas Lt Governor Mark A. Darr: Last Friday, while serving as Acting Governor in Governor Beebe’s absence from the state, I signed Senate Bill 131 into law. It is now Act 145. The stated purpose of this law is to protect the privacy of Arkansans who have a concealed carry license, or who have applied for one. Specifically, it exempts these citizens’ names and zip codes from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

I am a strong believer in our Second Amendment rights as Americans. The right to defend one’s self is among the most basic granted to us by the Constitution. I am also a strong believer in individuals’ right to privacy when it comes to their personal property.

Senate Bill 131 received overwhelming bipartisan support with a vote of 84 to 9 in the House and 24 to 9 in the Senate. That means that eighty percent of the state legislature voted in favor of its passage. Senator Bruce Holland and Representative Andy Davis are to be commended for sponsoring this bill.

The bill contained an emergency clause stating that it would take effect as soon as it was signed. I felt very strongly that the privacy of Arkansans personal information deserved its immediate attention. The release of such records is an invasion of privacy and threatens the safety and property of the persons identified. Many of you have communicated your support for this bill and I appreciate your making your opinions known.

Since the bill was signed, a news editor in Little Rock took it upon herself to release the list she had obtained before the new law took effect and publish 130,000 people’s names and zip codes.

This is exactly the kind of thing concealed carry holders are concerned about.

The news site that posted the list of names withdrew the list and shut down comments once the editor’s own personal information was posted on their website. I sincerely hope that no one whose privacy has been violated will become a victim of such a reckless action.

Our office has been contacted by people from all over Arkansas expressing their outrage about this egregious violation of personal privacy. Law-abiding citizens, who are simply trying to protect themselves and their family members, are being treated as suspects for crimes they haven’t committed. People like Donna Schaefer of Carlisle, who took the time to come to the Capitol today and express how grateful she was. Donna and her 82 year old mother were two names that were released. They’ve done nothing to warrant suspicion or disrespect. Their story is an example of why I felt the urgent need to sign this bill into law.

I take seriously the trust the people of Arkansas have put in me as an elected official and the obligation I have under the Constitution. The citizens of this great state and the 130,000 citizens that are now protected under this law have my utmost respect.
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Also Reads:
Arkansas Lt. Gov Mark Darr Signs Right-to-Carry Confidentiality Bill
Arkansas: Right-to-Carry Confidentiality Bill Passes and Goes to Governor
Arkansas: Senate Passes Concealed Carry License Privacy Bill
"Mad" Max Brantley No Friend of Gun Owners

Tags: Arkansas, Senate Bill 131, Act 145, Concealed Carry, privacy, gun rights, Lt. Governor, Mark Darr

Monday, February 25, 2013

ICYMI: NRA-ILA Advertising In Arkansas Against Pryor

Senator Rated “C-“ Being Pro-Gun Control

Little Rock. Ark. – As reported by both Roll Call and CNN, the NRA has begun running newspaper advertisements in five states targeting Democratic Senators up for re-election in 2014, including Senator Mark Pryor.

Last week, the NRA-ILA ran a full-page advertisement in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ( see this attachment) that urged Arkansans to “Call Senator Mark Pryor and tell him to oppose Obama’s gun control proposals…” The NRA-ILA ran a similar full-page ad in today’s USA Today ( see this attachment).

According to the New York Times, Senator Mark Pryor has a “C-“ rating from the NRA. In 2004, Senator Pryor voted for a 10-year extension to Senator Diane Feinstein’s assault weapons bans.

Tags: NRA, ILA, Mark Pryor

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Crawford: Restoring Our Nation's Future

Congressman Rick Crawford: In Washington much has been said our nation’s debt ceiling – our maximum borrowing authority. President Obama has called on Congress to quickly raise our borrowing limit well into the future. House Republicans are calling on Senate Democrats to pass a fiscally-responsible budget before raising the debt ceiling. Republicans and Democrats have both voiced concerns about the economic uncertainty our nation’s $16.5 trillion national debt is causing. Uncertainty and economic calamity can be avoided if Congress passes permanent spending controls, like a Balanced Budget Amendment, to ensure all Americans the federal government will stop reckless spending.

Recently, I introduced the Restore Our Nation’s Future Act that would require permanent spending controls be enacted before the debt ceiling could be raised. National polls have shown time and time again the vast majority of Americans support a Balanced Budget Amendment or some other type of spending control that will force future Congresses to live within our financial means. The only path to ensure laws do not expire or legislation is not overlooked, is to pass permanent spending controls.

Previous attempts to reign in federal spending have fallen flat. History has proven that statutory spending controls do not work and often are overridden by future Congresses. In 1985, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which did reduce the deficit for a time, was part of a debt limit bill. The 1990s brought more deficit reduction measures when in 1990, 1993, and 1997 Congress linked the debt limit to deficit reduction attempts. In 2010, the Pay-As-You-Go Act again tried to reign in federal spending. Most recently, the debt limit was the focus of the 2011 Budget Control Act, aimed at saving $2.1 trillion over the next ten years. Almost every significant deficit reduction law of the past 30 years has been linked to a debt limit increase and the national debt has exploded.

The Restore Our Nation’s Future Act would improve upon previous deficit reduction efforts. While statutory efforts to control spending have been changed over time, the Restore Our Nation’s Future Act would be a binding, unbending addition to the Constitution that could not be ignored or altered. Temporary laws are not the solution to our nation’s long-term economic health. If we want to ensure our nation’s place as the World’s only remaining super power, we must take decisive action to end deficit spending.

For years, Democrats and Republicans have spent more money than what was coming into the federal coffers. Instead of blindly raising the debt ceiling yet again, Congress must address the underlying issue – we do not have any binding measures in place to keep Congress from spending money that we do not have. Restore Our Nation’s Future Act could be the catalyst that stops our national debt from growing each day and gives America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners the confidence they need to invest in our country and spur economic growth.
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U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford represents Arkansas’s First Congressional District. He serves on the Agriculture Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. On the Agriculture Committee, Crawford is Chairman of the Livestock, Rural Development and Credit Subcommittee. Congressman Crawford and his family live in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Tags: Congressman, Representative. Rick Crawford, Arkansas, AR-01, Restore Our Nations' Future Act

Friday, February 22, 2013

Griffin: President Obama Needs A Sequester Refresher

House Republicans first voted to replace President Obama’s sequester idea 287 days ago
LITTLE ROCK - Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement regarding the coming sequester cuts, scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2013:
“President Obama needs a sequester refresher. Yesterday he wondered why anyone would wait until the ‘last minute’ to address his sequester idea. Well, the House already passed legislation replacing President Obama’s sequester idea with sensible and targeted savings—we passed it more than 412,000 minutes ago, and we’re still waiting on the Senate and President Obama to act. We also passed a responsible alternative last fall, but with only eight days left until it takes effect, the President is simply not serious about ending Washington’s spending addiction. It should be noted that when you compromise with the President—as many people have demanded—the final deal will inevitably include some of his bad ideas, and the sequester is a prime example.

As you can see in this video, he was for the sequester before he was against it, and now he’s using it as another opportunity to raise taxes on working families.”

A Sequester Refresher for President Obama:
Point 1: The sequester was President Obama’s idea. VIDEO: Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) says that the sequester was President Obama’s idea: “The President’s part of the sequester – the White House recommended it, frankly, back in August 2011, so now we’re feeling the effects of it. Now I don’t want to say the President is solely to blame – he’s not - it’s both the President and Congress.” (Senator Max Baucus, Interview With KTVQ (CBS), 2/19/13)

VIDEO: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the sequester was our idea: “The Sequester was one of the ideas put forward, yes by the President’s team.” (Jay Carney on Fox News’ Special Report with Brett Bair, 02/12/13)

Journalist Bob Woodward says sequester was President Obama’s idea: “At 2:30 p.m. Lew and Nabors went to the Senate to meet with Reid and his chief of staff, David Krone, 'We have an idea for the trigger,' Lew said. 'What's the idea?' Reid asked skeptically. 'Sequestration.'” (Bob Woodward, The Price of Politics, Simon & Schuster, 2012, pg. 326)

Point 2: President Obama strongly defended his sequester idea in Nov. 2011  VIDEO: President Obama: I will veto any effort to get rid of the sequester cuts: “Already, some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts – domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off-ramps on this one.” (President Barack Obama, White House Press Conference, 11/21/11)

Point 3: The House has passed three measures that address President Obama’s sequestration idea. House Republicans passed H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, on May 10, 2012; H.R. 6365, the National Security and Job Protection Act, on September 13, 2012; and H.R. 6684, the Spending Reduction Act, on December 20, 2012.

Tags: US House, Representative, Tim Griffin, R-02, President Obama, sequester refresher

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Curtis Coleman Declares 2014 Candidacy for Governor of Arkansas

Editorial note: Although the following announcement does not mention the word "Republican," a member of the Curtis Coleman campaign said Curtis Coleman has been and continues to be a Republican and is running to be the Republican nominee for Governor in 2014.

Curtis Coleman: It is my honor to declare today that I am a candidate for Governor of the Great State of Arkansas.

I’ve made this decision because it is time to let Arkansas prosper! The simple fact is that Arkansas has every right, reason and resource to be one of the most successful States – populated by some of the most prosperous people - in the Nation. Like many Arkansans, I’m sick and tired of some of our State’s political leaders excusing their poor performance with the hollow pretext that “Arkansas is just a poor state.” It’s true that some studies indicate that we’re 47th in the nation in average personal income. Dr. Shane Knight’s research found that in Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri and Oklahoma, the average personal income in those states is $138 per week more than the average income for someone who lives in Arkansas.

This is inexcusable, and every Arkansan should consider this to be intolerable.

Arkansas has extraordinary resources and even more extraordinary people! We grow more food than we can eat, more fiber than we can wear, more timber than we can use, we produce more energy than we can consume and we have more water than we need. And we’ve produced incredible entrepreneurs including people like Sam Walton, J. B. and Jonelle Hunt, William Dillard, Jerry Jones, Ernest Joshua, Harvey and Bernice Jones, Charles Murphy, Whit and Jack Stephens and Don Tyson.

And there are many more where they came from!

But we must make certain that we don’t let any more get away, like FedEx and AutoZone…great companies that could have been based right here in Arkansas providing hundreds of good paying jobs.

Letting Arkansas prosper means not just more jobs, but better paying jobs for hard-working Arkansans.

More jobs, better paying jobs means Arkansas state government has got to wake up to fact that we’re competing with every state in the region - in fact, every state in the Nation - for businesses and jobs. If we are competing, we’re doing it very poorly. One recent study [1] shows that In the year 2011 alone, Oklahoma’s economy grew at three times the rate of Arkansas’s economy, Tennessee’s grew at six times the rate of Arkansas’ and Texas’ economy grew at ten times the rate of Arkansas’.

We’re falling farther behind, and it’s not because we don’t have great people, or abundant resources or even good roads. We’re falling farther behind because Arkansas has the most onerous, anti-business job-unfriendly tax and regulatory codes of any state we touch. That means that Arkansans are suffering in two ways: we’re paying too much for state government, and new businesses and the jobs they bring don’t want to locate here and then pay too much for state government like we are.

Letting Arkansas prosper starts with reforming our tax code. The Simple Plan, developed by House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs and other foresighted leaders in the Arkansas Legislature, is a great start to putting us on the right road.

We can make Arkansas a much more attractive place to live and work by reducing and simplifying our personal state income tax. We must eliminate taxes on investments in Arkansas businesses just to be able to compete with our neighboring states to attract new investment capital to create new good-paying jobs in Arkansas. We must change the fact that it’s more difficult to start a new vocation in Arkansas[2] than in 48 other states in the country.

An Arkansas businessman called me a few weeks ago and said that he had calculated that he could move his business to Tennessee and save 9% or more per year. His business is growing rapidly and will likely be in the top 50 in the world in his particular business sector by the end of this year. We had lunch this week and he’s going to hang in there with me; in fact, he’s going to help craft a tax reform plan that will let him keep his business and his employees in Arkansas.

We can make simple changes like attracting more retirees to Arkansas – who are a fantastic asset to our State – by doing simple things like eliminating the state income tax on pensions paid to military veterans who retire in Arkansas (we need to do that just to catch up with other states).

Simple changes like expanding our cultural tourism industry in Arkansas –already Arkansas’ second largest industry. If we can attract just 1% of retiring baby boomers to visit Arkansas, we can generate upwards of an additional $1 billion dollars into our state’s annual economy.

The changes we need to make are not complex and we can make them happen!

Letting Arkansas prosper means dramatically improving the quality of education in Arkansas. Make no mistake. Arkansas has some outstanding teachers. They’re not the problem. But public school teachers around the state consistently tell me they spend an average of 42% of their time just filling out paperwork. And as their students get older, they progressively lose control of their classrooms out of fear of litigation.

Gov. Beebe likes to report that Arkansas is 5th in the nation in education. But the same report[3] that he cites also said that we’re 45th in the nation in graduating high school students who are prepared for success in life. I think that’s a much more important measure of how effectively we’re educating our children.

Giving our children the opportunity to graduate with a chance of success in life means doing three things:

First, it means restoring the rights of parents to control where their children go to school, what their children are taught, and then letting the education money follow their children to the school of their choice. I call that moving public education from a government monopoly to a free market economy, and it is inarguable that a competitive free market consistently produces a superior product or service to that of a monopoly.

Arkansas is in desperate need of improving its high school graduation rate of only 74 percent, and a recent report [4] revealed that Arkansas is one of ten states in the country where high school graduation rates are actually declining.

But even in Washington D.C., more than 90 percent of the students who were allowed to participate in the school choice D. C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, more than 90 percent graduated! Compared to only 70 percent of their peers in non-choice schools!

Second, giving our children the opportunity to graduate with a chance of success in life means putting a greater emphasis on producing skilled craftsmen and tradesmen in Arkansas. When did we lose the dignity of a trade, of making things with your hands and not just your head?

There is a striking skilled-labor shortage in America and in Arkansas. Earnings for four-year college graduates have actually been dropping over the last decade while the average annual salary for manufacturing jobs has risen to over $73,000 per year.[5]

I am not advocating discouraging our children from a four-year or a post-graduate degree. Let’s continue to encourage Arkansas students to create new technologies and new solutions for the challenges of the 21st century. But at the same time, let’s stop ignoring our children who want to earn a great living and create wealth and independence for themselves and their families by excelling at a trade or skill. That means simple changes like putting shop back in high school and moving our outstanding two-year community colleges up the higher education “feeding chain” in Arkansas.

The second largest steel-producing county in North America is in Arkansas; Mississippi County in Northeast Arkansas. I had the privilege of touring one of Nucor Steel’s impressive mills recently, and the opportunity to talk to about a dozen of their non-management employees, all of whom were proud of their jobs. I asked those few with whom I had the opportunity to visit two questions: (1) “Are you from Arkansas?” and (2) “Do you live in Arkansas.” Of the admittedly few I got to talk to, none said they were from Arkansas and none said they lived in Arkansas.

None of them were from Arkansas because we don’t produce nearly enough skilled craftsmen in our educational system, and all of them lived in Tennessee or Missouri where they got to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks. By the way, as I recall the average salary of a non-management employee at Nucor is about $88,000 per year.

Third, giving our children the opportunity to graduate with a chance of success in life means we must change our goal from just providing equal opportunities to providing first class educational opportunities for all Arkansas students.

The fact is if we allow any region of our State or any culture within our State to be trapped in poverty, we cannot prosper as a whole. Over many generations, the farmers of our State have taught us – not only simple economic lessons – but valuable life lessons.... how hard work, kindness and pulling together can create a strong and vibrant economy. That’s what we’ll do as Arkansans - for all Arkansans - including all of parts of Arkansas and all people of our great State.

Third, letting Arkansas prosper means limiting the size and re-tasking the mission of state government.

Arkansas has some outstanding state employees who are committed to serving Arkansas’ citizens, and eliminating their jobs is not the objective. But reducing the cost of state government by eliminating unnecessary duplications and creating a smaller, smarter more efficient state government is the objective. And the goal is to reduce the cost of government for every Arkansan. According to House Majority Leader Westerman’s studies, since the year 2000 – in the last 12 years - the cost of Arkansas state government has grown at a whopping rate of 140 percent while the average Arkansan’s income has grown at only 35 percent during the same time period. In the last 12 years, the cost of state government has grown by more than three times the rate of the growth of our ability to pay for state government. Obviously, that is an unsustainable course that must be reversed.

Letting Arkansas prosper means re-tasking the State’s agencies to the priority of helping - or better yet - letting Arkansans be successful in their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. We will move to the process of evaluating every dollar state government spends to this criteria: Does it let Arkansans be successful? Or are we simply perpetuating an unnecessary bureaucracy?

And let me briefly say something about economic development in Arkansas. Arkansas’ communities are the building blocks of our economy, and therefore the building blocks of our State’s prosperity – not state government. In the coming months I will be introducing my “Plan for 21st Century Economic Development in Arkansas.” It’s a plan that distributes economic development to Arkansas’ cities and counties, and creates– instead of just one centralized economic development engine in Arkansas – 150 or 200 economic development engines in Arkansas. This approach will mean that communities will be empowered to choose their own futures and create partnerships to make their vision a reality, with the State supporting their efforts, not controlling them.

It’s a plan about which I am enormously excited and hope that I’ll have the opportunity to share it with Chambers of Commerce and civic clubs across Arkansas.

Finally, letting Arkansas prosper means regaining the intended balance of power between the states and the federal government.

Letting Arkansans prosper requires getting government out of our faces, off our backs and out of our pocketbooks. There is no question that from Obamacare to the EPA, the federal government is increasingly encroaching on the fundamental rights to property and privacy, those rights considered by our Founders to be the twin pillars of liberty and freedom.

Washington is not going to give back the ground it has taken from the States; the States are going too have to push back. But Arkansas cannot and will not stand alone. If we try to stand alone, we will be squashed like a June bug on the sidewalk in the summertime. But the great news is that we won’t have to stand alone. As your Governor, I will lead our State to join a coalition of other like-minded states and governors who - together- can become an irresistible political and legal force to recover the Constitutional Democratic Republic gifted to us by our Founders.

If necessary, I will stand on the border of our State and say “No! Not in Arkansas!” to a federal government that would attempt to infringe or destroy those fundamental rights guaranteed to us by our Creator, including and especially the right to keep and bear arms.

If you share these dreams and embrace this vision of a prosperous and successful Arkansas, please pledge your vote and give me your help. You can do both at CurtisColeman.com.

If we make these changes, if we become the prosperous people we should be and can be, we don’t need another professional politician at the helm. We need a businessman. A businessman who’s had to make a payroll, who’s had to fight smothering and strangling over-regulation just to keep the doors open, who’s provided health insurance for his employees. Someone who’s been under the regulations instead of over them and someone who knows that state government can be managed with business-like efficiencies. And someone who not only has a vision for what Arkansas and Arkansans can be, but a passion to lead us there.

Arkansans have every right, reason and resource to be one of the most prosperous people in the Nation. It is time we rejected the failed programs of the past and the failed policies of the past; policies that have been perpetuated by an establishment caretaker mentality. It’s time we take our place at the top the list, at the head of the line and say to the rest of America, “Watch us! We’ll show you how it’s done in Arkansas!”

God bless you! May God bless Arkansas! And may God bless America!

Thank you!

[1] U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/gsp_newsrelease.htm
[2] Institute for Justice, “License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing” licensetowork.ij.org/ar
[3] Education Week, State Report Cards www.edweek.org/ew/qc/2012/16src.h31.html?intc=EW-QC12-LFTNAV
[4] Building a Grad Nation, Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, www.americaspromise.org/our-work/grad-nation/~/media/Files/Our%20Work/Grad%20Nation/Building%20a%20Grad%20Nation/BuildingAGradNation2012.ashx
[5] Joel Kotkin, distinguished presidential fellow at Chapman University. Reprinted in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette on 05 February 2012, Section H, with permission from the Autumn 2011 edition of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal (city-journal.org).

Tags: Arkansas, 2014 elections, governor, candidate announcement, Curtis Coleman

Friday, February 15, 2013

Boozman Reject’s Senate Leader’s Sequestration Proposal

Sen, John Boozman
Calls For Protection in Food Safety Net
WASHINGTON D.C. –. The Senate Majority’s so-called “balanced” proposal to avoid sequestration includes $27.5 billion in cuts to agriculture programs that would leave a gaping hole in our nation’s food safety net.

Arkansas Senator John Boozman, a member of the Agriculture Committee, rejected this proposal, calling it a “food fight with rural America.”

"Our food safety net is just that, a delicate balance of interwoven risk management programs that protect the entirety of our food supply in all regions of the country,” Boozman said. “The wholesale elimination of part of that safety net in the absence of comprehensive reform in the Farm Bill is irresponsible.”

The Senate and House Agriculture Committee passed versions of the Farm Bill in 2012 included the expiration of the Direct Payment program, but filled the gaps created by that cut with updated tools that meet today’s risk management needs.

“Our producers know that we need to transition to more responsive, market-based risk management tools and stand prepared to help play a role in getting our fiscal house in order,” Boozman said. “Only cutting Direct Payments and ignoring other savings and program interactions in the Senate and House Farm Bills is anything but balanced.”

“Some in the Senate Majority continue to imply that Direct Payments are given to folks who don’t need them. To be clear, Direct Payments have been incredibly important to our farmers in Arkansas as they have suffered through the drought that has rippled through our nation’s entire agriculture economy. They have been important to our growers who have suffered significant increases in input costs, poor yields, or market interruptions due to low river levels on the Mississippi River and they have been incredibly important in securing credit, including this spring as growers are making planting decisions and arranging financing. Our producers are ready to contribute to deficit reduction—including the ultimate elimination of Direct Payments—but not by singling out one particular program in some shady back-room deal. We need a responsible and balanced process that reforms our safety net in the context of a five-year Farm Bill that includes choices that protect all crops and regions, and we should begin working on that right away,” Boozman said.

The House has passed two bills to replace sequestration with more responsible spending reforms. The Senate Majority Leader has not allowed a vote on either piece of legislation. Sequestration will take effect on March 1, 2013.


Tags: U.S. Senator, John Boozman, sequestration, State of the Union,President Obama

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Boozman Presses for Approval of Keystone XL Pipeline

Img by AF Branco
Highlights Economic Benefits in Arkansas
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in a colloquy on the Senator floor calling on President Obama to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to provide well-paying jobs for Arkansans.

“Keystone XL would benefit Arkansas tremendously and put people to work. We have a large Nucor plant in Blytheville that would supply a lot of the steel used in the pipeline. Welspun Tubular in Little Rock already made 500 miles of pipe but instead of increasing employment they’ve had to lay-off workers because of the indecision on this project,” Boozman said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and every major labor union estimated the Keystone XL project would create 250,000 jobs over the course of the project, including 20,000 workers that would be on the job immediately.

“We talk a lot about jobs in regard to this project, but that simply cannot be overemphasized,” Boozman said.

In January, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman gave the thumbs up to a revised Keystone XL route. President Obama had used the governor’s opposition as an excuse for delaying the project, but following the announced support, Boozman joined more than 50 of his colleagues in sending a letter to the President urging him to approve the project.

Background: The Keystone pipeline would transport 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to U.S. refineries and create thousands of American jobs. Despite reviewing the Keystone XL permit for three years and conducting two comprehensive environmental evaluations of the project, President Obama has refused grant a permit to allow construction of the pipeline.

Tags: U.S Senator, John Boozman, supports, S-L Pipeline, Arkansas, jobs, the economy

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Crawford: State of the Union Response

Congressman Rick Crawford: Tonight we heard President Obama's vision for America. The President believes more government is the solution to every problem facing our country. When I talk to folks back home in Arkansas, they tell me big government is the problem. My constituents are burdened with excessive regulations and they are concerned about our country's massive national debt. President Obama did little tonight to ease the challenges we have in Arkansas.

For too long Republicans and Democrats have kicked the can down the road instead of addressing the great uncertainty created by our national debt. If we truly want to grow our economy and create good paying jobs, we must enact permanent spending controls that will force Congress to live within our financial means and restore certainty to our fragile economy. Statutory efforts to control spending can be changed over time. Permanent spending controls would be an unbending addition to the Constitution that could not be ignored or altered.

In Arkansas, common sense tells us we cannot spend money that we do not have. Unfortunately, common sense is not so common in Washington these days. During my time in Congress I have become convinced that temporary laws are not the solution to our nation's long-term economic health. If we want to ensure America's place as the World's only remaining super power, we must take decisive action to end deficit spending.

Tags: US House, Representative, Rick Crawford, response, Obama's SOTU, 2013

Arkansans Call On Senator Pryor: Vote Against Hagel

Chuck Hagel Will Cost Arkansans Thousands of Jobs

If his past is any indicator, a Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will support major spending cuts to defense that would cost Arkansans thousands of jobs and cut resources and training for U.S. service members at the Little Rock Air Force Base. Senate confirmation of Hagel, an opponent of sanctions and the use of force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, would send a message of American weakness to Iran at this critical time.

“Senator Pryor needs to remember that a vote for Obama’s nominee, Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense will put more Arkansans out of work. In a matter of days we will see whether Senator Pryor supports President Obama or the people of Arkansas,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb.

Senator Pryor has the choice to do what is right for Arkansans by voting against Hagel’s nomination. Will he stand by President Obama and other Senate Democrats in voting to confirm a flawed nominee? Call on Senator Pryor today because our state deserves better.

Hagel Supports Sequestration Cuts That Obama’s Outgoing Defense Secretary Warns Will “Devastate Our National Security”
Asked About The “Dire Consequences” To National Security Should Sequestration Go Into Effect, Hagel Said The Defense Budget Was “Bloated” And “The Pentagon Needs To Be Pared Down.” QUESTION: “On this Joint Committee that’s being created, Leon Panetta, our Defense Secretary, has warned of really dire consequences to U.S. national security if this so-called trigger gets pulled, in which case we would see $600 billion in automatic cuts to the Defense Department. Do you agree with his assessment that that would be very harmful to national security.” HAGEL: “Defense Department, I think, in many ways, has been bloated. So I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down. I don’t think that our military has really looked at themselves strategically, critically, in a long, long time.” (Chuck Hagel, Interview With The Financial Times, 9/1/11)

Tags: Arkansas, Senator Pryor, vote against Hagel, DOD, RPA

Boozman Response to State of the Union

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman issued the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

Jobs
“I am disappointed that President Obama did not bring any new, specific ideas to the table to address the biggest issue facing our nation—jobs. His focus seemed largely on other issues at a time when everyone in Washington should be focused like a laser beam on how we can create an environment that can put more Americans back to work and in well-paying jobs. We need to work together to jumpstart job growth in the private sector, but the President must lead by example.”

Sequestration
“We have got to get our fiscal house in order. We are less than three week away from drastic across-the-board cuts that President Obama proposed and agreed to and while he talked of the need to avoid the sequestration, offered little in terms of specifics on how we can achieve that goal. The House has already passed two bills that have languished in the Senate and the President has yet to introduce a plan of his own to avert the sequestration to Congress. The reality is soon all our resources will be consumed by serving the debt. We can’t afford that, and sequestration is not the optimal solution, but we must reduce spending. However, the cuts can, and should be done, in a smarter way.”

Immigration
“President Obama discussed his ideas for immigration reform, many of which we’ve heard before. I’m glad that members on both sides of the aisle are involved in these reform discussions. There are some key provisions that I would like to see in a reform package and the President touched on some of those including securing the border and enforcing the laws on the book. However, he continues to push amnesty, which is a policy direction I cannot support. We must not reward people for breaking the law, so I will continue to oppose amnesty proposals. In the meantime we can accomplish some of these ideas with current legislation.”

Obamacare
“I would disagree with President Obama’s contention that his law has brought down health care costs. They are skyrocketing, largely because the law does nothing to contain costs. That is going to hit home as Americans will see their premiums rise under this law. The only way to stop this trend is to institute market-based reforms instead of allowing the government to dictate our health care needs.”

Gun control
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and all those affected by unimaginable tragedy like Newtown. We must have an open and honest discussion about the state of mental health care in this country and the root causes of this senseless violence, but new gun laws are not the answer. I will continue to fight to protect our Second Amendment right."

Tags: John Boozman, State of the Union,President Obama

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Griffin: Obama’s SOTU Address Underscores ‘Washington’s Spending Addiction’

Says ‘President Obama is obsessed with raising taxes’
WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement in reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union (SOTU) address:
“President Obama is obsessed with raising taxes, and no matter how rosy he makes them sound, his big government proposals underscore Washington’s spending addiction. Instead of presenting a plan to prevent the Obamaquester, or submitting a proposal to turn his rhetoric about a ‘balanced approach’ into arithmetic that actually balances the budget, President Obama offered little more than tried-and-failed stimulus spending and higher taxes. Arkansans know higher taxes stifle opportunity and make it harder for folks to find jobs.”
Last month, Griffin sent a letter to President Obama, asking him to present the cold, hard facts about the country’s financial situation. He requested the President state: 1) the national debt as of the day before the State of the Union address; (2) the change in national debt since the date of the previous year’s State of the Union address; and (3) the per person share of the national debt. Griffin also requested the President to state clearly the years Medicare and Social Security are expected to go bankrupt. 
During Obama’s presidency, the federal debt has increased by more than $5.8 trillion, reaching a record $16.4 trillion.
In September, Griffin supported a measure that would have repealed the across-the-board Obamaquester spending cuts, scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2013. The House-approved plan would have replaced them with equal or greater spending reductions by targeting wasteful programs.
Earlier today, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf testified before the Senate Budget Committee, saying it’s hard to score Obama’s proposal to replace the Obamaquester because he hasn’t “seen a specific proposal.”
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U.S. Congressman Tim Griffin represents Arkansas’s Second Congressional District. eis a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means while also serving as an Assistant Whip for the majority. He and his family live in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Tags: US House, Representative, Tim Griffin, AR-2, Barack Obama, SOTU, Washington’s Spending Addiction

Lt. Governor Darr Makes Formal Statement Regarding 2014 Governor's Race

Editor Note: Asa Hutchinson and Curtis Coleman have both indicated that they will run for the Republican nomination for Arkansas Governor in 2014.

Little Rock, Ark - Lt. Governor Mark Darr (R-Springdale) issued the following statememnt in regards to the 2014 race for Governor.

"I have fielded many questions over the past few months from friends and supporters concerning the 2014 Gubernatorial Race. I have received support and encouragement to run for this office and I am very humbled and appreciative. During this time, Kim and I have prayerfully considered this important decision. We have decided that this race is not the right choice for us at this time. I am happy to announce my support of my friend, Asa Hutchinson for Governor of our great state. I intend to do anything that Asa deems helpful to assist him in his race for our state's highest office, Darr said."
"In January, I said that I would be announcing my future plans formally, after the current legislative session's completion, and I will do so."

Tags: Mark Darr, Arkansas, 2014 Governor's Race, Asa Hutchinson, Curtis Coleman

Friday, February 8, 2013

Capping Government Spending and Growth in Arkansas

AFP Arkansas: State Representative Bruce Westerman (Hot Springs) spent a few minutes with AFP Arkansas to talk about his bill (HB1041) that would cap government spending and growth here at home. The key to this bill is that we don't have to spend every penny that's taken in.


Tags: Arkansas, government spending, growth, State Representative, Bruce Westerman, Hot Springs, AFP Arkansas

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Boozman Statement on Changes to USPS Delivery

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today released the following statement after learning the plans of the U.S. Postal Service to reduce mail delivery to five days a week:
"We need to provide the postal service with greater flexibility to continue serving its customers. That’s why I supported Senate-passed legislation last year that gives good guidance to getting the USPS back on its feet and offering options for reform without cutting practical service. While I am disappointed the postal service had to resort to changing its delivery service, the financial strain of losing nearly $16 billion last year should not come at the expense of the needs of Arkansans. We will work to limit the ramifications this decision will have on businesses and families who rely on the postal service.”Background: In 2012, the Senate approved S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Act. Boozman voted in favor of the bill. The legislation prohibited USPS from establishing a general, nationwide delivery schedule of five or fewer days for at least 24 months after the enactment of this Act and required USPS to ensure that any change in its delivery schedule will not result in more than two consecutive days without mail delivery, including recognized federal holidays.

Tags: U.S. Senator, John Boozman, Arkansas, U.S. postal Service, USPS, reduced delivery, Postal Services debt

Griffin: Time for the President to Convert His Rhetoric into Arithmetic

Says the PLAN Act is a ‘critical step’ toward getting ‘Washington’s spending addiction under control’
WASHINGTON– Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after House passage of the Require a PLAN Act (H.R. 444):
“Like most Arkansans, I know we must get Washington’s spending addiction under control because it is stifling opportunity and making it harder for folks to find jobs. In January, the House passed the No Budget, No Pay Act – effectively forcing the Senate to pass a budget for the first time in four years. Today, the House took another critical step to addressing our nation’s annual trillion-dollar budget shortfall by passing the PLAN Act. The PLAN Act requires President Obama to convert his rhetoric about a ‘balanced approach’ into arithmetic that actually balances the budget.”H.R. 444, which Griffin cosponsored, would require the President to either produce a budget that would balance within 10 years, or provide a supplemental plan by April 1, 2013, that identifies in which fiscal year his plan would achieve balance, and what steps that plan would take to achieve a balanced budget.

By law, the President must submit a budget each year on the first Monday in February. President Obama has failed to do so on time four out of the past five years, including this year. In fact, his past four budgets have all included annual deficits exceeding $1 trillion. Last year, his budget failed to garner a single vote in the Senate. During his presidency, the federal debt has increased by more than $5.8 trillion, reaching a record $16.4 trillion debt.
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U.S. Congressman Tim Griffin represents Arkansas’s Second Congressional District. H is a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means while also serving as an Assistant Whip for the majority. He is a Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve. He previously served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President George W. Bush. Griffin and his family live in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Tags: Representative, Tim Griffin, Arkansas, District 2, U.S. House, PLAN Act, President Obama, budget, balance the budget

State GOP Announces New Executive Director

Little Rock, Ark. – The Republican Party of Arkansas (RPA) today announced the promotion of Megan Tollett as its next Executive Director. Tollett, who begins her tenure immediately, served as RPA Political Director since May of 2010. She was named ED at an RPA Executive Committee meeting on Saturday.

“I am incredibly honored to be given the opportunity to serve the Republican Party in this capacity. As a young woman from South Arkansas, I feel that I will bring a unique perspective to the position of Executive Director. This is an exciting time for the State Party after our historic election cycle in 2012, and I look forward to the prospect of electing more Republicans across the state in 2014,” said Tollett.

“Megan has been an integral part of the Republican Party success as it achieved a majority after 138 years. Mrs. Tollett having grown up in rural Arkansas embodies the values and beliefs of everyday hardworking Arkansas taxpayers. She will be a great asset to the party’s growth in the future,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb.

In 2012, Tollett was successful in managing a 1 million mail piece program and the State Party’s Victory operations. She is among 6 women across the nation to serve as a State Party Executive Director.

Tollett, a Howard County native from Dierks, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Henderson State University with an emphasis in Marketing and a minor in Political Science in 2007. She also holds a Masters of Business Administration from HSU.

Tags: Republican Party of Arkansas, RPA, executive director, Megan Tollett, Arkansas,

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mike Huckabee - 2013 Greene County Lincoln Day Dinner Speaker

Dorothy Crockett, Arkansas 1st District GOP Committee: Greene County, Arkansas, has done it again! Not only can you have Dinner but you get to see and hear our own former “Governor Mike Huckabee” (former Presidential Candidate and Host of the Fox News Huckabee Show) for only $35.00 per person or a table of 8 for $250.00. If I can help you in any way, please contact me. I will have tickets very soon.

If you are interested in a VIP ticket, contact Greene County or me. I will have tickets very soon.

Tags: Arkansas, Greene County, 2013, Lincoln Day Dinner, Mike Huckabee, keynote speaker

Monday, February 4, 2013

AFP-Arkansas: Capitol Highlights

AFP Arkansas is ready to knock on doors and call fellow Arkansans to stand against government overreach. You can invest in our work by donating HERE! Let’s believe in a better future for our children and grandchildren, not a future laden with debt. ~ Teresa Oelke

by Teresa Oelke, AFP 
Arkansas State Director: Things started picking up in pace this week in the Arkansas Legislature. Over 200 bills have been filed in the House. Below are a few things we are keeping an eye on in Little Rock.

The “Super Project”
Last week Governor Mike Beebe touted a new steel mill project. While 525 new jobs sounds enticing, let’s look at some facts.
  • These 525 jobs will run the taxpayers $200,000 per job.
  • Allowing the government to pick winners and losers almost never works out to the advantage of the people.
Please join us in asking Governor Beebe and all legislators to be open and transparent about this new project. Hardworking Arkansas taxpayers deserve that.

HB 1041: Responsible Spending Initiative
Representative Bruce Westerman, Hot Springs, has introduced (HB1041) which would limit the growth of government spending so that it would not exceed the growth of the economy. This bill is a good opportunity to change the “spend every penny” mentality the state of Arkansas currently practices.

Interview with State Senator Johnny Key on School Choice Legislation
Senator Johnny Key, Mountain Home, sat down with us for a discussion on student opportunities in Arkansas. We asked him to give us a run down of his bill on school choice (SB65) and he obliged. You may click here to view what he had to say.

Be an AFP county leader!
AFP-Arkansas is in the process of identifying two to four leaders per county to identify key issues affecting their area, join us at local events, and promote economic freedom. These leaders will be included in bi-monthly conference calls, strategic briefings, and many exclusive opportunities. Please email Phyllis Bell if you would like to become a county leader!

Tags: AFP, AFP Arkansas, Teresa Oelke, Arkansas Legislature, Capitol Highlights, Super Project, Steel Mill, HB 1041, Responsible Spending Initiative, School Choice Legislation

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Boozman Statement at Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing

The Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing "The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and the Need to Invest in the Nation's Ports" This first hearing of the 113th Congress focused on our nation's ports. This is important as Congress moves to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act. Below is U.S. Senator John Boozman's (R-AR) opening statement at the hearing:


Tags: Senator, John Boozman, Environment and Public Works committee, Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund national ports, Arkansas Rivers, Mississippi River

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Rep. Crawford: No Budget, No Pay

Update: The Senate also passed H.R. 325 (64-34) and it has been sent to President Obama for signature.
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Rep. Rick Crawford, R-AR-1: Last week the House of Representatives passed a measure aimed at forcing the United States Senate to pass a budget for the first time in four years. The No Budget, No Pay legislation [H.R. 325] requires the Senate to pass a fiscally conscious budget before increasing the debt ceiling. If the Senate does not pass a budget, Senators will not receive a pay check.

In households across the First District, a budget is essentially a statement of priorities. Families prioritize money for a mortgage, college education and tithing, because those expenditures reflect their values. Budgets help keep families from spending money they do not have and hopefully gives people the ability to save dollars for hard times. The Senate would be wise to learn from families across the country and develop a responsible budget.

The Senate’s lackadaisical attitude when it comes to budgeting is irresponsible and unsustainable. Our country has a serious spending-driven debt crisis that threatens our economic and national security. Current and former political, military and world leaders have called on Congress and the President to rein in the out-of-control spending. A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that “A nation with our current levels of unsustainable debt … cannot hope to sustain for very long its superiority from a military perspective, or its influence in world affairs.”

Passing a budget would be a meaningful step towards confronting our record spending and debt. I remain a staunch advocate for enacting permanent spending controls, like a Balanced Budget Amendment. Together, we must overcome political unwillingness and put the good of future generations of American ahead of the inability to make tough decisions.

No working person in America gets paid for not doing their job, and Members of Congress shouldn’t either. The American people put their faith in us when they elected each Member last November, and it is up to us to hold ourselves accountable to get our country out of debt while getting our economy back on track. During my first term in the House of Representatives, a budget was passed each year. As the House continues to offer workable solutions, I hope the President and the Senate will be willing partners in getting our debt under control.
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U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford represents Arkansas’s First Congressional District. He serves on the Agriculture Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. On the Agriculture Committee, Crawford is Chairman of the Livestock, Rural Development and Credit Subcommittee. Congressman Crawford and his family live in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Tags: Rep. Rick Crawford, No Budget, No Pay, HR 325