Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Trick, No Treat

Toon by AF "Tony" Branco
by Holly Wilson, RPA Communications Director: Tonight we will see all sorts of ghouls, goblins, zombies and various other creepy characters walking the streets looking for tricks or treats. As spooky as that sounds, nothing could be scarier right now than some of the things going on in politics! Here are a few of the frightening highlights.

All Trick, No Treat
“If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Period.” That is the now infamous promise that President Obama made hundreds, if not thousands, of times during the last several years. The only problem is it isn’t true. Mark Pryor knew that it wasn’t true and knew that Arkansans would lose their healthcare, yet he continued to make Mike Ross is running around trying to convince people that he is a so-called “Blue Dog” Democrat who hails from a district as “ conservative as Michelle Bachman’s,” Arkansans are recalling that Ross provided the deciding vote to allow this ObamaScare to pass out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, ultimately to be passed by the full House and Senate. The daunting effects of Ross’ vote are only just beginning, so he better beware that next November Arkansans will hold him accountable!

Terrifying Polls
It’s truly a terrifying Halloween for Democrats in the polls! The President's tanking numbers are enough to scare any Democrat on the ballot in 2014. President Obama’s approval rating has declined to an all-time low as public frustration with Washington and pessimism about the nation’s direction continue to grow. This news is especially terrifying for Mark Pryor who is so closely identified with Obama and his Administration that he always chooses him over Arkansas.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Tags: Mike Ross, Mark Pryor, All Trick, No Treat, polling, RPA

Cotton Supports Legislation to Keep Mark Pryor’s Promises

Pryor Promised Arkansans They Could Keep Their Health Insurance

Little Rock, AR — Yesterday, Congressman Cotton cosponsored both the If You Like It You Can Keep It Act and the Keep Your Health Plan Act. If passed and signed into law, both bills would enable Americans who currently have health insurance to keep their current health care plans if they so chose, without penalty. Under the If You Like It You Can Keep It Act every current plan held through December 31st of this year would become “grandfathered” and safe from the mandates of Obamacare.

“I support the full repeal of Obamacare, but in the meantime, Arkansans deserve what they were promised by Sen. Mark Pryor and President Obama: if they like their health care plan, they can keep it. Far too many hard-working Americans have become a victim of that broken promise as health insurance cancellation notices arrive in mail boxes.”

According to news reports, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana—another one of Obamacare’s most vocal cheerleaders—has endorsed the concept and is considering introducing her own similar legislation.

But when approached on questions on this yesterday, Senator Mark Pryor apparently held his cell phone against his ear to avoid questions.

Cotton campaign manager Justin Brasell said, “Why is Mark Pryor avoiding questions on this issue? Arkansans deserve an answer as to why they were told they could keep their insurance when that wasn't true. Senator Mark Pryor should do the right thing and sign onto legislation to keep the promises he made when selling this disastrous Obamacare law.”

Today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that at least 42,500 Arkansas families who have plans with Arkansas Blue Cross or QualChoice will lose their current insurance plans. (Andy Davis, “State-exchange sign-ups slim,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/31/13).

Additionally, not only will healthy women see their premiums skyrocket, increasing by 245 percent, but as many as 139 black women across the state in the individual insurance market stand to lose their health insurance.

Pryor promised Obamacare would “protect and expand an individual’s choice of doctors and insurance plans.” He said, “Elements of this package will drive down costs for families, small businesses, and government; protect and expand an individual’s choice of doctors and insurance plans without any government interference; and assure affordable, reliable healthcare for every Arkansan.” (Sen. Mark Pryor, “On Senate Passage Of Health Care Reform,” Press Release, 12/24/09)

And on the Senate’s version of Obamacare, Pryor said, “I think when people see this they’ll really like what we have done.” (Erica Werner, “Democratic Health Care Coalition Survives Deal,” The Associated Press, 12/9/09).

Clearly, Mark Pryor broke his promises to Arkansans. The least he could do would be to join Senator Landrieu and support this legislation.

Tags: Tom Cotton, Supports legislation, to Keep, Mark Pryor promises

Griffin Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Reform Federal Government’s Surveillance Practices

Says ‘Our right to privacy and our civil liberties must be preserved and protected’
LITTLE ROCK - Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after cosponsoring the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet Collection, and Online Monitoring (USA FREEDOM) Act (H.R. 3361):

“Our nation must be relentless in pursuing and tracking those who seek to harm Americans, and I fully support the intelligence professionals who work night and day to keep us safe.  I also support the Fourth Amendment, and I’m increasingly concerned by reports of the federal government abusing the Patriot Act and overreaching in its surveillance of innocent American citizens.  Our right to privacy and our civil liberties must be preserved and protected, and that’s why I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of this bipartisan bill.”The USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 3361) was introduced by Patriot Act co-author Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) and would:
  • End bulk collection of Americans’ communications records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act
  • Strengthen the prohibition on “reverse targeting” of Americans
  • Require the government to more aggressively filter and discard information about Americans accidentally collected through PRISM and related programs.
  • Reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) by creating an Office of the Special Advocate (OSA) tasked with promoting privacy interests in the court’s closed proceedings and empowered with the authority to appeal the court’s decisions.
  • Add stronger reporting requirements to ensure that Congress is made aware of actions by the FISC and intelligence community.
  • Give the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board subpoena authority to investigate issues related to privacy and national security.
  • Increase transparency by requiring the Attorney General to publicly disclose all significant FISC decisions issued after July 10, 2003.
  • Allow Internet and telecom companies to publicly report estimates of the number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders and National Security Letters (NSL) received and complied with and the number of users or accounts on which information was requested
  • Require the government to make annual or semiannual public reports estimating the total number of individuals and U.S. persons that were subject to FISA orders authorizing electronic surveillance, pen/trap devices and access to business records
  • Set a single standard for Section 215 and NSL protection to ensure different authorities are not used to support bulk collection
  • Institute a sunset date on NSLs so that Congress must review and reauthorize the government’s authority
In July, Rep. Griffin supported Rep. Justin Amash’s (MI-03) amendment regarding the National Security Agency’s surveillance of Americans’ telephone records.  The amendment failed by a vote of 205 to 217.

In June, Rep. Griffin agreed with Rep. Sensenbrenner’s statement that tracking the phone calls of millions of innocent citizens is “excessive and un-American.”

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Tags: Rep Tim Griffin, AR-02, co-sponsor, bipartisan bill, reform government surveillance practices, tracking Americans, 4th Amendment, U.S. Constitution

A Man of Principle for US Senate | Rep Tom Cotton | Allen West Guardian Fund

by Lt. Col. Allen West: Do you want to take back the U.S. Senate?

The Guardian Fund has endorsed freshman Congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas in his bid for U.S. Senate against Mark Pryor, an entrenched Democrat. Tom is a rising star in the Republican Party and without a doubt one of the brightest spots in American politics today.

The Left knows they’re in grave danger of losing control in the Senate if they can’t defend this seat, so they’re already gunning for Tom. More than a year before Election Day, the Democrat establishment is running ads smearing Tom’s record in Congress with lies and trying desperately to destroy his character. These attacks are false and we need to fight back on Tom’s behalf right now.

The Guardian Fund is building up an arsenal to defeat the left’s attacks against Tom and all of our endorsed candidates and our goal is to raise $250,000 online between now and the end of the year. Your donation today of $25, $50, $100, or more will play a key role in our success.

An Army combat veteran who led troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tom Cotton is a man of principle who knows what it means to lead. To say America needs Tom- and more like him — in the United States Senate to do battle with Harry Reid is an understatement.

That’s precisely why the liberal fundraising machine is already funneling money into Arkansas to destroy Tom on the airwaves. Trust me—they’re ready and willing to invest millions in this race. Tom is going to need the help of conservatives nationwide to come out on top.

So can I count on you to make sure the Guardian Fund has the resources to defend Tom Cotton and all of our endorsed candidates?

Thank you in advance for your support of the Guardian Fund and this great patriot, Tom Cotton.
Steadfast and loyal,
Allen West
Lt. Col. Allen B. West, USA (Ret)
U.S. Congressman (2011-2013)


Tags: Allen West, Gardian Fund, endorsement, Tom Cotton, Us, Senate, 2014 Election

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Rep. Tim Griffin: Obamacare Leads to Single Payer System

by Wanda Carruthers, NewsMax: The problem with Obamacare is it's a "one-size-fits-all" approach to healthcare that will ultimately lead to a single-payer system, House Ways and Means Committee member Rep. Tim Griffin said Wednesday.

"The problem with this law, it is a Washington-knows-best, one-size-fits-all, top-down deal that tells all of the states how they're going to do it. And what it ultimately is leading to is a single-payer system," the Arkansas Republican told Fox News' "Happening Now."

"We're pushing more people out of private insurance, into the exchanges. More people are going to be pushed onto Medicaid," he said Wednesday.

Under a single-payer system, the government or a government-sponsored organization, rather than private insurance companies, collects all fees and pays all healthcare costs.

Griffin found himself caught up in a bit of drama with Democratic New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell during Tuesday's House Ways and Means Committee hearing.

The two collided over whether there were alternatives to Obamacare during the testimony of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

Pascrell gave an animated response to a statement by Griffin.

"It is a false choice to say it is Obamacare or nothing. There are numerous proposals, including the one that I'm a co-sponsor of," Griffin said.

"You can sit there and say that you had a legitimate alternative after these years?" Pascrell shot back at Griffin. "We've gone through 44 votes, 48 votes now, of you trying to dismantle the legislation. You call that cooperation? I don't."

Griffin said it was "just false" for Pascrell to imply there are only two ways of dealing with healthcare.

"He was basically saying what a lot of Democrats want the American people to believe. And that is that there are only two options," Griffin said Wednesday. "Either Obamacare, as it is being implemented, or nothing at all. And that is just false."

Pascrell's actions were theatrics "for the camera," Griffin said.

"I don't think anyone on the committee really considered those antics to be serious. I think that was more for the camera. And apparently, it worked," Griffin said.

Calling Obamacare "fundamentally flawed," Griffin said it continues to be important to get the facts about it to the American people.

"This law is fundamentally flawed. And we have an obligation — if that is, in fact, our beliefs and the beliefs of our constituents — we have an obligation to continue to make the points that we're making," Griffin said.

Tags: Rep, Tim Griffin, AR-02, Houses Ways and Means Committee, Obmacare, leads to, single payer Systemnsert tags

State Rep. Ann Clemmer Announces Candidacy for Second District Congressional Race

Benton, AR – Republican State Representative Ann Clemmer has announced that she will file the necessary paperwork to become a candidate for Arkansas’ 2nd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  
Clemmer indicated that she made the decision to run because “the challenges we face in Arkansas and across the country are too serious for me to sit back and hope that others will fix them. A stagnant economy, a growing mountain of debt, and a disastrous health care law are all hurting the people of Arkansas today and threatening the futures of our children and grandchildren.

“For years, politicians in Washington D.C. have allowed partisan gridlock to get in the way of results,” Clemmer continued. “When I talk to voters from all over the district, from teachers in Van Buren County to small business owners in Conway, they want to send someone to Congress who will focus on creating good-paying jobs in the district and bringing common sense solutions to D.C.”

Clemmer is currently serving in her third term in the State House where she was selected to serve as the Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore. She is the Chairman of the Higher Education Committee and the Vice Chairman of the Education Committee. She also serves on the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs, Rules, and Legislative Council Committees.

During her tenure in the State House, Clemmer has had the opportunity to enact legislation to help improve the lives of Arkansans. A believer in smaller government and pro-business reform, she has also been a strong advocate for Life, a proponent of ethics reform, and a champion for education. In 2011 and in 2013 she proposed amending the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship to increase the percentage of proceeds that would be awarded to students. She was also a lead sponsor of ethics legislation in 2009 that became law in 2011.

Prior to the beginning of her campaign for state representative, Clemmer was a frequent panelist on AETN's "Arkansas Week", a regular commentator for "Arkansas Viewpoint" on KUAR (NPR- Little Rock) and provided radio, print, and television political commentary on a regular basis.

In addition to serving as an elected official, Clemmer has over 25 years experience as an educator. She taught for a number of years at Arkansas Northeastern College (then Mississippi County Community College) before accepting a faculty position in the Political Science Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where she teaches classes on American Politics.

Ann has lived in Saline County since 1992. She and her husband Jamie have three daughters, two sons-in-law, and a granddaughter.  You may follow her on Facebook.

Tags: Ann Clemmer, Republican candidate, US Congress, AR-02, Arkansas, 2014 Elections

How Can Anyone Trust Mark Pryor?

Democrats Admit They Knew People Would Not Be Able To Keep Their Plan Under ObamaCare
Not long ago, Democrat Mark Pryor promised Arkansans that ObamaCare would “protect and expand an individual’s choice of doctors and insurance plans.”

That's just not true. News outlets note that ">more than two million Americans have been told they cannot renew their current insurance policies -- more than triple the number of people said to be buying insurance under the new Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare."

Now, top Democratic Leaders in Washington admit that they actually knew middle class Americans would lose their coverage because of ObamaCare:
"House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer conceded to reporters today that Democrats knew people would not be able to keep their current health care plans under Obamacare and expressed qualified contrition for President Obama’s repeated vows to the contrary. We knew that there would be some policies that would not qualify and therefore people would be required to get more extensive coverage."Mark Pryor knew that Arkansans would lose their healthcare, yet he continued to make false promises about ObamaCare to voters in Arkansas.  Now families, workers, and women are just starting to realize  that they are unable to keep their doctors and their health care plans – despite President Obama and Mark Pryor repeated promises otherwise.

"Mark Pryor knew that many Arkansans would lose their health care plans under ObamaCare, yet he continued to deceive them and promise otherwise. Now his broken promises are coming back to haunt him," said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen. "Folks in Arkansas who have seen their health care costs skyrocket or have lost their health care plans know that Mark Pryor simply can't be trusted to keep his word."

Tags: can anyone trust, Mark Pryor, NRSC

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Griffin Shares Arkansan’s Obamacare Experience with HHS Official . . .

. . . and, Highlights Alternative Reform Plan.
In heated exchange, corrects Democrat’s bogus claim


(click here to watch video from today’s hearing)

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after questioning Marilyn Tavenner, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), on the problems Americans are experiencing with the Obama Administration’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare:
“Because of Obamacare, folks around the country and in Arkansas are losing insurance plans they would have liked to keep, and some are facing premiums that have doubled, tripled or worse.  As the disastrous rollout of this harmful law and its broken website makes clear, this isn’t the way to expand access, guarantee coverage and lower costs – which is why I’m going to keep fighting for real, patient-centered reform that protects those with pre-existing conditions, ensures affordability and improves the quality of care.”In today’s Ways and Means Committee hearing, Rep. Griffin read a comment he received from an Arkansas state employee in Little Rock who forwarded a copy of the Employee Benefits Division’s newsletter “The Buzz.”

“Our insurance covers less and costs more,” the employee wrote to Rep. Griffin. “It [‘The Buzz’] says, ‘These changes were made to more closely align the plans with the Affordable Care Act,’ and in another sentence, ‘Because of this, the value of the plans were lowered to be more in line with the law.’  I am quite disgusted.  Just [because] the federal government is starting a health insurance market place doesn't mean that my coverage needs to change, but it has, and it has changed for the worse.”Rep. Griffin is a cosponsor of The American Health Care Reform Act (H.R. 3121), which would repeal and replace Obamacare.

Today’s hearing also featured a heated exchange between Rep. Griffin and Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ-09). Griffin pointed out that the health care reform plan he supports as an alternative to Obamacare would protect individuals with pre-existing conditions against discrimination.

Rep. Griffin, along with Sen. John Boozman (AR), Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01), Rep. Steve Womack (AR-03) and Rep. Tom Cotton (AR-04), sent a letter yesterday to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius expressing concern about the impact of Obamacare on the availability and affordability of health insurance plans in Arkansas.

Today, CBS News reported: “[M]ore than two million Americans have been told they cannot renew their current insurance policies -- more than triple the number of people said to be buying insurance under the new Affordable Care Act[.]

Yesterday, NBC News reported: “President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years. Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a ‘cancellation’ letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience ‘sticker shock.’”

Tags: U.S. Representative, Tim Griffin, Arkansas, AR=02. Obamacare, experience, HHS, 

French Hill Announces As Republican For U.S. House of Representatives, District 2, Arkansas

French Hill
Little Rock, AR - Little Rock businessman and civic leader, French Hill, 56, announced today that he is running for U.S. House of Representatives in District 2, Arkansas, the seat being vacated by Rep. Tim Griffin. French Hill called Congressman Griffin to notify him of his decision to run and is filing his paperwork to establish a committee with the Federal Election Commission today.

In making the announcement, Mr. Hill said, “I’m running for Congress because we need more business leaders in Congress – not more career politicians. I grew up in the Second District and live and work here today. Everyday at my business my priorities are helping Arkansas’s entrepreneurs start and grow their own businesses and encouraging families to save and invest. I know first hand the challenges businesses and families in Arkansas face, and in Congress, I will fight every day for policies that spur economic growth and job creation. I will demand greater accountability at every level of the federal government and do away with job-killing policies like ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank. Representing the Second District in Congress would be an honor, and I look forward to working hard to earn the trust and support of Arkansans in the months ahead.”

More on French Hill: A ninth generation Arkansan, Mr. Hill has devoted himself to building central Arkansas as a premier place to live, work, and raise a family. After a successful career with Arkansas’s largest financial institution, in 1999, he founded Delta Trust and Banking Corp., a banking and investment business headquartered in Little Rock. He serves as chairman and chief executive officer. Delta Trust has grown from an idea on paper to a business employing over 130 bankers, trust, insurance and investment advisors across ten offices in the state of Arkansas and with customers across the country.

In addition to his business endeavors, Mr. Hill is generous with his time, serving many civic organizations including service as a trustee of the George W. Donaghey Foundation, benefiting the growth and development of UALR; a board member of Arkansas Children’s Hospital; past chairman of the UALR College of Business Advisory Board; a board member of the Quapaw Area Council, Boy Scouts of America; past president ofFifty for the Future; past president of the Rotary Club of Little Rock; past board member of the Little Rock Catholic High School Foundation; a commissioner of the Historic Arkansas Museum; and he is serving as the 2013 chairman of the board of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Hill and his wife Martha have two children, Liza and Payne, and they attend the Cathedral of St. Andrew Catholic Church. Mr. Hill is a1975 graduate of Little Rock Catholic High School and a 1979 magna cum laude graduate in economics from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Prior to his return to Little Rock in 1993, Mr. Hill was a senior economic policy advisor to President George H.W. Bush and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. For his service at the Treasury and the White House, he was awarded the Treasury’s Distinguished Service Award in 1993. Working with the late Senator John G. Tower, Hill served as a senior legislative aide on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs from 1982 to 1984. Mr. Hill is a passionate outdoorsman, and he actively enjoys hunting, fishing, canoeing, camping, and backpacking in the Natural State. He is a Life Member of the NRA and the Ozark Society as well as a member of Ducks Unlimited. He is a past south central section chair of The American Alpine Club.

Tags: French Hill, Republican, candidate, US. Representative, Arkansas, 2nd District, AR-02, 2014 election

They Broke Their Promise: ObamaCare Sticker Shock

Can Mark Pryor Be Trusted Any Longer About Health Care?
Over the last three weeks Americans across the country have seen what an unmitigated disaster Healthcare.gov has been.  Many families, workers, and women are realizing that they are unable to keep their doctors and their health care plans – despite repeated promises otherwise. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Americans are now facing significantly higher premiums. That number is expected to rise considerably into the millions.

Just last night, NBC News reportedthat the "Obama Administration knew millions could not keep their health insurance" and that the administration "has known that for at least three years."  Yet, it wasn't until yesterday that the White House admitted for the first time that "it's true" some Americans will not be able to keep their health care plan under ObamaCare.

Pryor was less than honest when he claimed, ObamaCare would “protect and expand an individual’s choice of doctors and insurance plans.”

According to Kaiser Health News reporters Anna Gorman and Julie Appleby: "[T]he cancellation notices, which began arriving in August, have shocked many consumers in light of President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their plans if they liked them."

Now the White House is back with another promise, this time that the website will be fixed in the next 33 days. That means that Democrats like Mark Pryor - who've repeatedly made false promises about ObamaCare - are now tied to the Administration's self-imposed deadline. Should these broken promises and failures not be addressed, Democrats like Pryor will likely be forced to delay ObamaCare -  something they insisted would never happen just three weeks ago.  Why? They broke their promises.

ObamaCare is Mark Pryor's legacy. What does that mean? As a senior Democratic consultant with strong ties to the White House and Capitol Hill lamented to the National Journal:
"'Dem Party is F****d.' That was the subject line of an email sent to me Sunday by a senior Democratic consultant with strong ties to the White House and Capitol Hill. The body of the email contained a link to thisLos Angeles Times story about Obamacare 'sticker shock'".

"Mark Pryor wasn't honest about ObamaCare, and now his broken promises are coming back to haunt him,"  said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen. "Over the next 33 days, middle class sticker shock, families being dropped from their health plans, and bureaucratic dysfunction will continue to expose Mark Pryor's broken promises about ObamaCare. Mark Pryor will backpedal to save his political career, but Arkansans know he can no longer be trusted to keep his word." 
BACKGROUND: Pryor Said The Bill Would “Protect And Expand An Individual’s Choice Of Doctors And Insurance Plans.” “Elements of this package will drive down costs for families, small businesses, and government; protect and expand an individual’s choice of doctors and insurance plans without any government interference; and assure affordable, reliable healthcare for every Arkansan.” (Sen. Mark Pryor, “On Senate Passage Of Health Care Reform,” Press Release, 12/24/09)

Tags: broken proimise, Obamcare sticker shock, democrats, Mark Pryor

Monday, October 28, 2013

Arkansas GOP Lawmakers Vent Concerns On Health Law

THV 11 - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas' Republican U.S. House members and senator are venting concerns about the federal health care law's implementation in a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack and Tom Cotton and U.S. Sen. John Boozman sent the letter Monday about the impact the 2010 law will have on insurance plans in Arkansas and the rollout of the insurance exchanges created under the overhaul.

In the letter, the lawmakers asked Sebelius to provide information by Nov. 1 about the federal government's knowledge of the impact the law would have on state insurance providers, state stakeholders' knowledge of the exchange's status before its Oct. 1 launch and the number of people who have been able to enroll in Arkansas.

Tags: Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack, Tom Cotton and U.S. Sen. John Boozman, letter, DHHS Secretary Sebelius

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Water Infrastructure Means Jobs

by Rep. Rick Crawford, AR-01 Last week, I was named a conferee to the Farm Bill conference committee along with Senator John Boozman as the House and Senate begin the process of reconciling their differences on this critical bill. I am excited to begin this process and look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure Arkansas is well-represented in this debate.

Another disappointing jobs report was released earlier this week, with fewer jobs than projected being created and more discouraged workers leaving the workforce and stopping their search for work altogether. The President's status quo in Washington isn't working - we need a President and Senate that are willing to come to the table and work with the House on positive, pro-growth legislation that will jump start the economy.

On Tuesday, I spoke on the House floor to honor Army Explosive Ordnance Device (EOD) Staff Sgt. Joshua Bowden, who was killed in Afghanistan earlier this year. I met Staff Sgt. Bowden in 2011, when the EOD Caucus, which I chair, hosted the first annual EOD Day on the Hill. It was an honor to have met this courageous warrior who died defending our freedoms. Watch my address on the floor of the House here.

This Wednesday marked the 30th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the American Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. Many experts credit this as the unofficial start to the War on Terror - it is an important and tragic day that we must not forget.

This week, the House passed bipartisan water resources legislation, the Water Resources Reform & Development Act, by a vote of 417-3. Serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, I worked alongside Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) to guide this legislation through committee toward passage on a bipartisan basis. This legislation will support jobs, trade, and growth in Arkansas and is an important component to our national infrastructure.

My column this week is on the importance of this water resources reform legislation for jobs:

Water Resources Reform and Development Act a Chance for Reform

This past Wednesday the House passed, by a bipartisan vote of 417-3, landmark legislation known as the Water Resources Reform & Development Act (WRRDA), which supports jobs and trade in Arkansas by maintaining our critical waterways infrastructure. A fiscally responsible bill, it makes smart reforms that will keep Arkansas growers and manufacturers competitive on the global stage by driving down transportation costs and promoting international trade.

Historically, Congress has enacted water resources reform legislation every two years. Yet, the last such legislation to be enacted into law was in 2007 – nearly 5 years overdue. This bill is a reform bill, called the most responsible water resources legislation ever considered – de-authorizing $12 billion in outdated or unnecessary projects while simultaneously making smart investments in our ports and waterways that lead to jobs and growth. The bill also cuts burdensome bureaucratic red tape, reducing the amount of wasted taxpayer dollars on paperwork and lost time while narrowly focusing on important projects for authorization. The bill focuses on broad reforms that maintain Congressional oversight of water infrastructure projects and serves as an important check on the power of the Executive Branch.

America currently enjoys a competitive advantage over other nations in the global marketplace because of our well-developed waterways infrastructure that makes it cheap and easy for our producers to transport goods to our ports and be shipped across the world. Currently, roughly one-third of the United States’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is generated by international trade, with 99% of those goods passing through our ports. If we fail to maintain these critical arteries of commerce, developing nations like Brazil who are investing in their own infrastructure to compete with our producers will diminish or erase this advantage we currently enjoy.

Maintaining our waterways infrastructure means jobs and growth for Arkansans. I am proud to serve on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee which authored this legislation and brought it to the floor, and I was proud to cosponsor the bill and support its passage last week. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to see this strong reform legislation passed into law which will reduce the debt, create jobs, and keep America and Arkansas competitive on the global stage.

Tags: Rick Crawford, US Representative, Arkansas, AR-01, Water Infrastructure, jobs

Friday, October 25, 2013

Flip-Flop Friday for Democrats!

Holly Wilson, Communications Director:  WOW, what a week we’ve had in Arkansas politics! In case you missed anything amidst all the excitement, we have your update here!

Arkansas Can’t Afford Patrick Hays
With the recent news of Congressman Tim Griffin not running for a third congressional term, the political opportunistic tide has started to roll in. First up with an announcement – less than 24 hours later – was Democrat, and former North Little Rock Mayor, Patrick Hays. Hays may have been first with an announcement, but he surely isn’t the best choice for Arkansas voters.  Hays couldn’t wait to get behind President Obama’s failed $800 billion stimulus project, even as our nation was facing $17 trillion in debt.  Arkansas can't afford Patrick Hays and his tax-and-spend liberal policies. Hays in Washington will just be another vote backing President Obama and Nancy Pelosi every step of the way!

Mike Ross Flip-Flop!
Yesterday, we saw where “Sportsmen for Ross” were holding a fundraiser and it got us to thinking, where does Mike Ross stand these days on Second Amendment rights? It’s hard to keep up! He traditionally opposed any gun-control measures until last December when he flip-flopped his position, stating that it was time for reform and that he supported a ban on high-capacity weapons. This change of opinion, however, was in the wake of his congressional retirement and prior to his announcement to run for Governor, so chances are VERY likely that he will flip-flop again in a desperate attempt to trick Arkansans into thinking that he is 100% pro-Second Amendment. Arkansas deserves a Governor who is solid in their stance on such an important Constitutional right.

That Was Fast!
Well speaking of epic flip-flops, Mark Pryor takes the cake this week! After choosing just three weeks ago to shut down the government rather than negotiate on ObamaCare, he is now running scared and on the verge of making one of the biggest and most politically motivated flip-flops in recent history. Why? Because he seen his numbers tank!

Political Animals
The gloves are coming off! And in one corner we have our very own Golden Glove Champ Chairman Doyle Webb squaring off against the new Chairman of the Arkansas Democrats. You don’t want to miss this special edition of the Political Animals Club on November 6 th starting at 11:30 am at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. Register Here to attend! Seats are very limited!

Tickets on Sale NOW!
Check out our latest “Webb Cast” to find out more details about purchasing your Rand Paul tickets or visit Ticketmaster at this special link. There are a limited number of General Admission seats available so get your tickets now! If you are interested in learning more about a VIP opportunity or joining our TUSK club please contact Alisha at alisha@arkansasgop.org!

Tags: RPA News Letter, Flip-Flop, Democrats, Rand Paul, Hot Springs, Arkansas

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Where Does Flip-Flopping Mike Ross Stand on the Second Amendment?

Little Rock. Ark. – In view of the fact that “Sportsmen for Ross” are holding a fundraiser this evening, Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb today issued the following statement regarding Mike Ross’ position on Second Amendment rights.Mike Ross traditionally opposed any gun-control measures until last December when he flip-flopped his position, stating that it was time for reform and that he supported a ban on high-capacity weapons. Chances are very likely that he will flip-flop again in a desperate attempt to trick Arkansans into thinking that he is 100% pro-Second Amendment. Arkansas deserves a Governor who is solid in their stance on such an important Constitutional right.”
Tags: Doyle Webb, Republican Party of Arkansas, Mike Ross, Supported Gun ban, 

Griffin Cosponsors American Health Care Reform Act

Says ‘patients deserve customized care,’
‘not Obamacare’s one-size-fits-all, Washington-knows-best approach’
           
WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after cosponsoring the American Health Care Reform Act (H.R. 3121):

“Workers and families are losing their health insurance plans, premiums are going up and the Obamacare website isn’t working.  It’s clear we have to scrap Obamacare and start over to get health care reform right.  I’ve long advocated for real, patient-centered reforms that will lower costs by encouraging innovation, increasing competition, cracking down on frivolous lawsuits and reducing waste, fraud and abuse.  The right kind of reform will expand access and ensure more Americans get high-quality, affordable health care.  Patients deserve customized care that fits their needs – not Obamacare's one-size-fits-all, Washington-knows-best approach – and that’s why I’m proud to support this legislation.”


-          Repeal Obamacare
-          Protect individuals with pre-existing conditions against discrimination
-          Let individuals buy insurance from providers anywhere in the country, just like auto insurance
-          Treat those who get insurance through their employer and those who get insurance on the market equally, via a standard tax deduction for health insurance purchasers
-          Expand access to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and increase the amount of pre-tax dollars that can be contributed to portable savings accounts for health care expenses
-          Enable small businesses to partner together and create insurance pools to bring down costs
-          Discourage frivolous lawsuits through medical malpractice reform that limits trial lawyer fees and non-economic damages
-          Preserve the rights of conscience and life by blocking taxpayer money for abortions

Tags: Tim Griffin, U.S. Representative. sponsors, American Health Care Reform Act

Women Hurt by ObamaCare Costs

ObamaCare Hurts Arkansan Women,
Pryor Proudly Stands By Unpopular Law

Pryor's ObamaCare to increase premiums by 245% for Arkansas women
NRSC: ObamaCare is turning into a real life nightmare for women, but Mark Pryor (D-AR) doesn't seem very concerned. 
A new analysis from the American Action Forum (AAF) finds that young women face triple digit increases in the cost of their health care premiums. The study details that in Arkansas premiums for healthy women will skyrocket, increasing by 245 percent or $139 per month.
Across Arkansas, young women, mothers, sisters, aunts, and seniors will be impacted by the onerous and expensive impact of ObamaCare; women that are losing their health insurance, fearing the upcoming doctor shortage or paying for exponentially more expensive premiums.
Despite those realities, Mark Pryor refuses to acknowledge that ObamaCare is causing health care costs to rise and seems unconcerned that women across the state will struggle to afford the new law. Make no mistake; it is the personal impact that ObamaCare will have on women, seniors, and families that is the real trainwreck for Mark Pryor who has repeatedly defended the unpopular law instead of women in Arkansas.
"The facts show that ObamaCare will hurt women throughout Arkansas, yet Mark Pryor still proudly boasts about the unpopular law," said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen. "Mark Pryor broke his promises to Arkansas women on ObamaCare, which limits health care choices, raises costs and lowers the quality of care. Instead of continuing to ignore the many problems of ObamaCare, Mark Pryor should admit it has been a failure and delay it."

Tags: Woman hurt by Obamacare, Obamacare, Mark Pryor, for Obmacare

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Poll Shows Cotton Leading

Two new polls released today; Both show Pryor in trouble!
Little Rock, AR — A new poll from OnMessage, Inc. released today shows Congressman Tom Cotton leading Senator Mark Pryor in the 2014 U.S. Senate race 45% to 41%.

Pollster Wes Anderson said in a memo about the results, “If the election were held today there is little doubt that Tom Cotton would become Arkansas’s next U.S. Senator. … the odds are stacked against Pryor. He cannot run away from his support of President Obama or his signature legislative achievement, Obamacare. On both measures a strong majority of the voters have found Senator Pryor wanting.”

The poll shows that six in ten Arkansas voters hold an unfavorable opinion of President Obama, and importantly, more than half hold a “very unfavorable” opinion of the President. 62% of likely voters oppose Obamacare (53% strongly), and one third of Democrats oppose the law.

Read the polling memo here. The live telephone survey was conducted October 15 – 17, 2013.

Separately, results of the University of Arkansas’s 15th annual Arkansas Poll released this morning, show that more Arkansans blame President Obama and Democrats for the partial government shutdown. It also shows Senator Mark Pryor with a declining approval rating.

Cotton campaign manager Justin Brasell commented, “The news just keeps getting worse for Senator Mark Pryor. It seems after a decade in Washington, his advocacy for more spending, more debt and his 95% voting record with President Obama, are finally catching up to him. Arkansans are catching on. Pryor says one thing in Arkansas, then does the opposite in Washington.”
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Tags: Arkansas, 2014 Election, US Senate, Polling, Tom Cotton, Mark Pryor

ObamaCare Hits Arkansas: Thank Mark Pryor

ObamaCare Hurts Arkansans,
Pryor's Political Career Tied to Unpopular Law
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The disastrous ObamaCare launch has caused many to question whether Administration officials should be fired and the unpopular law be delayed. Meanwhile, Mark Pryor refuses to acknowledge that ObamaCare is causing health care costs to rise, that many people are not able to keep the doctors that they are comfortable with, and that workers are seeing their hours cut and suffering the consequences.
The flawed website can't be differentiated from the product, the website is part of the product and as the glitches and broken promises continue to come online, Pryor will try to distance himself from ObamaCare. The truth is, however, that ObamaCare is Pryor's legacy and the problems run far deeper than the need for an IT specialist. If simply signing up for the program causes this kind of problem, imagine what a disaster trying to see a doctor will be for Arkansans. 
Make no mistake; it is the personal impact that ObamaCare will have on women, seniors, and families that is the real train wreck for Democratic candidates who have tied themselves to the unpopular law.
In Arkansas: 
  • Health care costs for individual market plans will increase 41%.
  • Seniors will see Medicare cuts to doctors and hospitals totaling more than $10,000 per Arkansas enrollee.
  • Arkansas could have to increase Medicaid spending $665 million – more than $500 per household.
  • A 27 year old will see their premiums increase by 171% and a 50 year old by more than 79% according to the Heritage Foundation. 
"Mark Pryor is one of ObamaCare's biggest proponents, but the unpopular law is already hurting the middle class and increasing health care costs in Arkansas," said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen. "The result of Mark Pryor's relentless support of ObamaCare is that dysfunctional Washington now stands between doctors and patients, which raises costs and lowers the quality of care. "
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Tags: Obamacare, Arkansas, Mark Pryor, key vote on Obamacare

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Arkansas GOP Issues Statement in Anticipation of 2 nd District Candidacy Announcement

Little Rock. Ark. – The Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb today issued the following statement in anticipation of the announcement from Patrick Hays that he will be seeking the Democrat candidacy for the 2 nd District now held by Congressman Tim Griffin."Patrick Hays thought it was a good idea to support President Obama's $800 billion failed stimulus package, even as our nation was facing $17 trillion in debt. Arkansas can't afford Patrick Hays and his tax-and-spend liberal policies. Hays in Washington will be another vote backing President Obama and Nancy Pelosi every step of the way.”
Tags: Republican Party, Arkansas, Chairman Doyle Webb, addressing, Democrat, Patrick Hays, democrat, candidate

Griffin Will Not Seek Third Term

October 22, 2013
Dear Friend,
Some of you may have already learned of this from media accounts, but there is some important information I need to share with you.

I will not seek reelection to a third term to the U.S. House of Representatives, and I would like to take a moment to explain to you why I have made this decision.

Serving the people of the Second Congressional District is an honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given by my fellow Arkansans. To those who have prayed for and supported me and my family, thank you--thank you for your kindness, commitment, time, trust and understanding. Your support has made everything I’ve been able to do possible.

God has blessed me with a wonderful wife, Elizabeth, and two precious children, and for several months Elizabeth and I have been discussing whether to seek a third term in Congress, especially considering the formative ages of Mary Katherine and John.  It has been an agonizing and difficult decision involving much prayer, thought and discussion.  We have decided that now is the time for me to focus intently on my top priority, my family, as Elizabeth and I raise our two young children.

To that end, I will not seek reelection to a third term.  I will complete my second term, but I have made no decision as to my plans after Congress except that I will continue in public service, including as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve.

In September 2009, I launched my campaign for Congress as a common sense conservative and have kept my word by supporting bold but pragmatic solutions to address our most pressing problems, including a balanced budget, Medicare reform, repeal of Obamacare, tax reform, and regulatory reform. I am proud that the House's efforts resulted in the Budget Control Act (BCA), the largest spending reduction in American history. I am equally proud that the House has stopped numerous harmful proposals. I choose to be a citizen-legislator rather than a career politician, and I will continue to do my best representing my fellow Arkansans through the remainder of my term.

I believe 2014 will be another historic year for conservatives in Arkansas, and I stand ready to help with that effort and make sure a conservative wins the 2nd Congressional District.  Several Democrats have reportedly been looking at running for this seat.  As a result, it is imperative that I make and announce my decision now not to seek a third term so that Republican candidates who wish to succeed me will be able to prepare their campaigns and compete on an equal playing field with the Democrats.

May God continue to bless Arkansas and the United States of America.
Thank you,
Tim Griffin

Tags: Tim Griffin, nor running for 3rd term, US Congress, AR-02, Arkansas

Monday, October 21, 2013

Eliminating Personal State Income Tax was Realistic Other Places But Not Arkansas?

by Col. Gene McVay: Eliminating Personal State Income Tax was Realistic in Tennessee.
Realistic in Nevada.
Realistic in Florida
Realistic in Wyoming
Realistic in Washington
Realistic in South Dakota
Realistic in Alaska
and Realistic in Texas
But, according to Asa Hutchinson who is seeking the GOP nomination for Governor, eliminating Personal Income Tax is Unrealistic in Arkansas.

I suppose, "If you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on being what you've always been" (Samuel L Jackson in the move The Samaritan). Arkansas has been 45th or worse in per capita income for as long as I can remember. None of the states with no Personal Income Tax have incomes anywhere near the low mark set by Arkansas.

Per capita taxes are another matter, Arkansas soars to 15th when it comes to taxes paid as a percentage of income. That does not seem to be attracting business, in fact, Billionaires who formerly lived in Arkansas now live in those states that REALISTICALLY have no State Income Tax. Even former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee moved to Florida after becoming a millionaire.

Maybe Arkansas can get lucky, maybe another Sam Walton, Witt Stephens, J.B. Hunt, Don Tyson, William Dillard or Charles Murphy will come along and help lift the state out of the doldrums, don't hold your breath.
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Col. Gene McVay is a retired Air Force pilot and a conservative activist. He was former Baxter County Republican Chairman before he returned to active duty in the Arkansas Air Guard. You can follow his daily opinions and thought on his facebook account.

Tags: Arkansas, state income tax, Gene McVay

Man on the edge: Mark Pryor

by Jazz Shaw, Hot Air: 2013 is winding to a close and it’s high time to carve out some space and look at the critical parts of the agenda for next year. At the top of that list has to be the eminently doable task of picking up six seats in the United States Senate and relieving Harry Reid from his oppressive duties as Majority Leader. One of the golden opportunities on this front will be found in the person of current Democrat Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Not everyone would pick Pryor as a likely choice for a GOP takeaway, since the two term Pryor comes from a long established state party machine family (his father was a three term Senator as well as Governor) and has the full support of the Clinton machine in Arkansas. But as a recent analysis by the NRSC shows, Pryor’s career arc in the upper chamber is looking more and more like a replay of Blanche Lincoln.
Meet Blanche Lincoln 2.0… Mark Pryor has the name, has the money, has the Clinton machine, and is running for re-election in Arkansas, a state that proved those talking points won’t get you very far if you are fundamentally misaligned with the electorate.

A quick historical refresher, Lincoln lost her seat by 21-points (despite outspending her opponent by more than 4x).

In 2010, Lincoln and her team were quick to point to her fundraising prowess as a strong indication that she was going to hold her seat despite being in a solidly red state. The FEC shows that she raised over $1 million in each quarter of 2009 and went into 2010 with over $5 million cash on hand – sums very similar to Mark Pryor’s fundraising operation which brought in $1.04 million (an amount lower than both his previous quarter and his challenger Rep. Tom Cotton). Then she lost by 21-points.
Pryor is facing a host of problems, ranging from demographics to being an increasingly bad fit policy-wise with the voters of his state. He did well in his last outing, but that was during a Democratic landslide with heavy Democrat turnout supporting Barack Obama. This cycle will undoubtedly turn out a decidedly older and more conservative voter pool than he saw last time. And on top of the general trends, voters will soon be reminded that Pryor, who represents a fairly red state, has been acting less and less like a free thinker and more like a free range liberal. Take this video of Pryor talking about taxes for example.
PRYOR: What we need is not to use the debt ceiling to hold hostage to try to get our fiscal house in order, we need to do a more comprehensive approach. You know, one of the problems, quite honestly, is that a lot of people don’t want to put taxes on the table. I think we should put taxes on the table. And again I think we should look at the recommendations that have come from Simpson Bowles or some of the other studies.
Yes… that should really go over well with Arkansas voters.

Another area where Pryor has opened himself up to surrendering his seat to the GOP is found in his support of and votes in favor of keeping Obamacare. One of the most recent polls in the field shows precisely how his constituents feel about that topic. Check out these two cascaded responses. The first is the generic, “if the election were held today” between Pryor and Republican Congressman Tom Cotton, who would you vote for.
PRYORPOLL1
Cotton comes out on top, but only by a little. (Certainly not enough to account for the undecided voters and leaners as a slam dunk.) But now watch what happens when voters are informed about Pryor’s record on Obamacare.
PRYORPOLL2
Quite the difference, eh? This is one of the races we should not only be watching, but getting actively engaged in. The GOP, as noted above, is in a remarkably good position this cycle. There are 35 seats in the Senate up for grabs and we’re only defending 14 of them, mostly deep red in nature. Of the remaining 24 seats currently held by Democrats, Republicans only need to pick up six. And Pryor, noted in the NRSC analysis as possibly “the most vulnerable incumbent” among them, should be very high on the list. Tom Cotton is a proven performer and veteran of two wars. He’s already attracting a lot of statewide support at home, but this race is no cakewalk and he can use all the help he can get. You can learn more here.

Tags: Hot Air, man on the edge, Senator Mark Pryor, 2014 election, Tom Cotton

Arkansas GOP Issues Statement Regarding Congressman Tim Griffin’s Retirement Announcement

Little Rock. Ark. – The Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb today issued the following statement regarding the announcement from Congressmen Tim Griffin that he will not be seeking a third term in Congress.“I want to sincerely thank Congressman Tim Griffin for his excellent service to Arkansas and our Country. He has been a trailblazer in fighting to protect the citizens of the 2 nd District from the negative impacts of ObamaCare, as well as a strong advocate for small businesses in the state from the unfair burden of overreaching federal regulation.  We wish Congressman Griffin and his family all the best; we look forward to the service he will provide throughout the remainder of his term.  Many conservative Republicans are evaluating their possible candidacy, we are confident that the people of the 2 nd District will elect another strong representative to fill the big shoes of Congressman Griffin!”
Tags: Arkansas, Republican Party, Chair, Doyle Webb, Retirement, Tim Griffin, AR-02, Congressman

Asa Hutchinson Addresses Delta Grassroots Caucus in Memphis

Asa Hutchinson
Img. by Adrian Sainz
by Adrian Sainz, AP Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson said Friday that completely eliminating the state's personal income tax is unrealistic, though he maintained that a gradual reduction is a better approach to tax relief than the targeted cuts proposed by Democratic opponent Mike Ross.

Hutchinson and Ross addressed members of the Delta Grassroots Caucus in Memphis on Friday, discussing education and economic development in addition to taxes.

The caucus aims to promote economic progress in the Mississippi Delta region. They hold an annual conference, though this year's is the first to be held in Memphis. . . .

A former congressman, Hutchinson was the GOP nominee for governor in 2006 and lost to Beebe. Beebe has endorsed Ross, a former congressman and the only Democrat running for governor.

During his speech, Hutchinson said Arkansas' individual income tax rates reduce the state's ability to compete for businesses and jobs. Excess growth revenue could be applied to a reduction of the income tax, he said.

According to the Federation of Tax Administrators, the state individual income tax rate ranges as high as 7 percent. Hutchinson did not specify an ideal percentage for the state income tax.

Hutchinson criticized Ross for saying he would support "targeted" tax cuts if Arkansas were running a budget surplus. Ross said earlier Friday that he would support tax credits for small and large businesses to encourage investment in the state.

Hutchinson said tax relief should be across the board. "It's not just industry that needs to have tax relief," he said.

After his talk, Hutchinson bristled when a questioner suggested that he supports eliminating the entire income tax.

"I have never said that. I don't know where you got that," Hutchinson said.

Outside the conference room, Hutchinson addressed a reporter's question about a zero percent personal income tax.

"It's not realistic for Arkansas in the short term for sure, to get down that low, particularly when you don't want to raise any other taxes," Hutchinson said. ... Read More

Tags: Asa Hutchinson, 2014 candidate, Arkansas, Governor, income tax

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation: To hear Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tell it, America’s long national nightmare is over.

Except…it’s not.

Our national nightmare isn’t the government shutdown; it’s Obamacare.

Congressional leaders have been congratulating themselves on reaching a deal to spend more of our money — a deal that keeps their own special Obamacare treatment.

But while they were arguing about it, regular people have been reeling from the horror of Obamacare’s insurance hikes.

See the latest stories that have poured in about the #ObamaHikes

That’s right—Members of Congress and their staffs are still getting their taxpayer-funded subsidies to pay for their health insurance.

That $5,000 for individual coverage or $11,000 for family coverage will come in pretty handy for them if they’re shopping on the Obamacare exchanges, where Heritage research shows premiums are up in nearly every state.

Congress has ignored the shocked outcry from Americans opening letters from their insurance companies.

And those letters are landing in the mailboxes of both liberals and conservatives. One woman who voted for President Obama found out she will pay $1,800 more for her insurance next year. She told the San Jose Mercury News, “Of course, I want people to have health care. I just didn’t realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.”

This is the new reality under Obamacare. Instead of giving people relief from these crushing blows to their finances, Congress made a deal to borrow more and keep Washington’s spending spree going.

As Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Fellow Romina Boccia wrote yesterday, the deal “locks in Obamacare’s implementation with no relief in sight for those Americans who are seeing their premiums increase, their working hours cut, and their job opportunities diminished.”

Congress didn’t listen to the people who are wondering how they’re going to make ends meet in just a few months. It didn’t listen to you.

But we’re listening — keep sending us your stories about how Obamacare is impacting your family. And our experts will keep the vital information coming on everything from Congress’s unfair, illegal deals for themselves to how much everyone else is paying in the insurance exchanges.

And we’ll be here when government funding runs out again in January — and we hit the debt ceiling again in February. Because Congress doesn’t seem to learn.

Tags: congress, exchanges, Government Shutdown, Harry Reid, Health Care, health insurance, national nightmare, Obamacare, Mitch McConnell, premiums, President Obama, spending To share or post to your site, Please Hat Tip and link to the article on the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Coleman Commends Arkansas Legislature for Special Session Accomplishments

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR – Following the close of the Arkansas legislature’s three-day special session, Republican gubernatorial candidate Curtis Coleman released a statement praising the Arkansas legislature’s progress on public school employee (PSE) insurance and the defeat of a school district revenue grab by the state.

“Members of our legislature are to be commended for working together to find a temporary fix for extraordinary PSE insurance hikes by embracing a plan that avoided higher taxes and set the stage for much needed permanent reforms,” Coleman said. “I am convinced that future, sustainable reform will allow local school districts to have the freedom to negotiate health insurance plans for their teachers and staff directly with insurance providers.”

“Taxpayers can be especially proud that a proposal for the state to seize and redistribute local school property tax funds was soundly rejected. The defeat of this misguided plan could not have been accomplished without the bi-partisan opposition group led by House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman.

"Instead of school districts fearing that the state will seize more local revenue and take more control away from local communities, we need to shift how we think about educating our children. I look forward to revealing our dynamic education policy proposals that will advocate less interference by the state and more control by parents and local communities, which I believe is the future of an outstanding education for our children and the critical foundation for prosperity in Arkansas."
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More information on Coleman is available at Curtis Colemand For Arkansas

Tags: Curtis Coleman, Arkansas Legislature, Special session, defeated proposal, seizing and redistributing local property tax,

Arkansas Gov. Beebe's Latest Redistribution of Wealth Scheme

What Governor Beebe and the Democrats are doing (and the Republicans are allowing them to do).  A Washington County, Arkansas citizen calls the action "blatantly unconstitutional."  Contact your legislators immediately.  Background info follows:

GOP Legislators Spar Over Beebe’s Plan For School Funding:  For the past few weeks, legislators have debated (mostly behind closed doors) how to solve the teacher insurance premium hike “crisis.” Republican legislators have been meeting frantically behind closed doors to craft a solution that is protective of taxpayers that Governor Beebe wants. It seems likely that the state will craft a “short-term solution” that involves using surplus money to patch the gap in premium funding. However, the governor has seized this crisis and is using the opportunity to invoke another one of his redistributive policy dreams: transferring millage funds from “rich” school districts to poorer districts. . . . Read More.

Beebe’s “Non-Starter” Wish List Becomes Starter For Some GOP Legislators:   "Yesterday, I wrote about Governor Beebe’s redistribution plan for Arkansas school funding. As part of that story, I shared several mass emails from and to Republican legislators that revealed their thinking on this issue (many are upset with the plan, to say the least). Perhaps as a result of my story, last night I received even more emails that more clearly demonstrate the divide in the GOP caucus — as well as the evolving nature of the debate over the imminent special session’s agenda. . . . Read More.

Beebe Decides He's OK With Wasting Tax Dollars on Special Sessions:  Throughout this year’s legislative session, many lawmakers called for a special session to deal with the issue of Medicaid expansion. Their argument was that the decision was too important to rush and many lawmakers wanted more time to visit with their constituents. Governor Mike Beebe -- the only person who can call a special session -- flatly rejected all of these calls for a special session, however, citing their expense to taxpayers. In fact, around the first of January, just before the . . . Read More.

Tags: Arkansas, redistribution of wealth, Governor Mike Beebe, democrats, republicans, medicare expansion, teachers, taxpayers,