Thursday, December 31, 2015

Governor Hutchinson Issues Statement on Planned Parenthood Ruling

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement regarding Thursday’s ruling on Planned Parenthood:“This was a ruling on a preliminary motion, and we are hopeful that when the case is considered in full that the Judge will support the law.

“The legislature passed HB 1394, sponsored by Rep. Charlene Fite, earlier this year, which established the Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act. On March 20, I signed it into law because I agreed with the legislature’s intent to protect women by requiring physicians to follow procedures approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for these abortion drugs and to have the abortion clinic’s doctor associate with a physician who has hospital privileges. This is a common sense approach for safety and I am hopeful the Court agrees that this is a proper purpose for the legislature to act.

“As made evident by their lawsuit, Planned Parenthood places a premium on the convenience of abortion providers over the health and welfare of women seeking these procedures.”

Tags: Gov. Asa Hutchinson, statement, planned parenthood, ruling, Arkansas, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Governor Hutchinson Announces End of Year Appointments

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the following appointments:
Lisa Washburn, Hot Springs, to the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Advisory Committee.  Appointment expires October 1, 2019.  Replaces Anne Sorter.

Daina Potter, Malvern, to the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Advisory Committee.  Appointment expires October 1, 2019.  Replaces Claudia Barone.

Michael Perkins, Little Rock, to the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Advisory Committee.  Appointment expires October 1, 2019.  Reappointment.

Dr. James Meserow, Little Rock, to the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Advisory Committee.  Appointment expires October 1, 2019.  Reappointment.

Carole Garner, Little Rock, to the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Advisory Committee.  Appointment expires October 1, 2019.  Replaces Suzanne McCarthy.

Jerri Clark, Cabot, to the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Advisory Committee.  Appointment expires October 1, 2019.  Reappointment.

Laura Abbott, Cabot, to the Arkansas Child Abuse/Rape/Domestic Violence Commission.  Appointment expires July 1, 2017.  Replaces Diane Bryant.

Susan Bradshaw, Conway, to the Arkansas Child Abuse/Rape/Domestic Violence Commission.  Appointment expires July 1, 2017.  Replaces Annette Watson.

Lisa Channell, Benton, to the Arkansas Child Abuse/Rape/Domestic Violence Commission.  Appointment expires July 1, 2017.  Reappointment.

Karl Mounger, Siloam Springs, to the Arkansas Child Abuse/Rape/Domestic Violence Commission.  Appointment expires July 1, 2017.  Replaces Merlin Leach.

Joseph Griffith, Holly Grove, to the Delta Cultural Center Policy Advisory Board.  Appointment expires October 1, 2018.  Reappointment.

Vivian Hoskins, Helena, to the Delta Cultural Center Policy Advisory Board.  Appointment expires October 1, 2018.  Reappointment.

Keith Edmonds, Bruno, to the Trauma Advisory Council.  Appointment expires July 1, 2017.  Replaces Kenneth Jones.

Dr. Jonathon Palmer, to the Trauma Advisory Council.  Appointment expires July 1, 2017.  Replaces Dr. Clinton Evans.

Michael Laws, El Dorado, to the Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council.  Appointment expires July 1, 2018.  Replaces Jamin Snarr.

David Stoppel, Berryville, to the Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council.  Appointment expires July 1, 2018.  Reappointment.

Margarette Oliver, Menifee, to the Arkansas Cemetery Board.  Appointment expires January 15, 2019.  Replaces Mary Williams.

Billy Altom, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Public Transportation Coordination Council.  Appointment expires September 20, 2019.  Replaces Joseph Davison. 

Dr. Daniel Hennessey, Little Rock, to the State Board of Optometry.  Appointment expires April 26, 2018.  Replaces Dr. George Haas.

Dr. James Burgess, Greenwood, to the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy.  Appointment expires June 30, 2017.  Replaces Joyce Palla.

Howard Holthoff, Dumas, as District Judge of Desha County District Court, McGehee Department.  Appointment expires December 31, 2016.  Replaces The Honorable Gibbs Ferguson.

Gary Tucker, Monticello, as a Justice of the Peace of the Drew County Quorum Court District 2.  Appointment expires December 31, 2016.

Chris Gardner, Jonesboro, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas.  CV-15-179 Travis Trammell v. Linda Marlene Wright.  Replaces Justice Rhonda Wood.

Newly created Governor’s Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism (Act 111/SB 210).  Term lengths will be determined by drawing of lots at the first official meeting of the board.

Governor’s Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism:
Gloria Redman, Little Rock
Denver Landers, Benton
Jolie Busby, Little Rock
Mayor JoAnne Bush, Lake Village
Charlie Cain-Davis, Little Rock
Mark Cassady, Nashville
Robert Coon, Little Rock
Bruce Davis, Hot Springs Village
Sydney Jacimore, Fort Smith
Kelley Nosari, Mountain Home
Amanda Richardson, Little Rock
David Hudak, Bella Vista
Peggy Sissel, Little Rock
Clayton Sorrells, Amity
Melvin Wasson, North Little Rock
Doyle Ray, Pine Bluff
Vernard Henley, Jr., Little Rock
Melanie Orman, Stuttgart
Tammie Cloyes, Searcy

Tags: Governor, Asa Hutchinson, appointments, Arkansas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Column and Radio Address: We're Not Done Yet

by Governor Asa Hutchinson: It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the end of 2015, but what a year it has been. At my inauguration back in January, I promised a new day in Arkansas – an era focused on job creation, tax cuts and computer science education.

One year later, there are approximately 33,000 more Arkansans employed than before I took office. In 2015 alone, we announced new jobs and company expansions in every region of the state – with investments totaling nearly $2 billion.

We took the story of Arkansas to the world, touting the state’s defense industry and steel manufacturing capabilities to Europe; showcasing our agriculture community to Cuba; and pitching the incredible economic potential of South Arkansas to China and Japan. The seeds are being planted, and we’re not done yet.

What we do here in Arkansas matters to people all over the globe, and 2015 underscored that message.

With unanimous support from the legislature, we passed the most comprehensive computer science education law in the country. And earlier this month, we announced the first-of-its-kind K-8 standards in computer science. As noted by Code.org and WIRED magazine, the state of Arkansas is now the national leader in computer science education.

And starting in 2016, Arkansans will benefit from the largest income tax cut in our state’s history – more than $100 million.

Through the support of our citizens and members of the legislature, we’re making great strides in our state’s foster care system, workforce training and prison reform by giving non-violent offenders a second chance.

But for all we’ve accomplished in 2015, there is plenty left to do. In fact, the work is just beginning. As we head into 2016, topics such as health care, highway funding and criminal justice reform will take center stage. These are critical issues, but nothing is too big for our state.

After all, Arkansans can do anything, because – well – we have done everything, and in 2016, we’ll prove that to be true once again. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your governor. It’s the greatest public honor I will ever have. From my family to yours, Happy New Year.

Tags: Weekly Republican Address, End of Year, 2015, Asa Hutchinson To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Governor Asa Hutchinson Releases “Year End Review” Video

“What we do here in Arkansas matters to people all over the globe, and 2015 underscored that message.”

LITTLE ROCK – The Office of Governor Asa Hutchinson today released a “Year End Review” video highlighting the accomplishments of 2015 while looking ahead to topics that will take center stage in the New Year.
(To watch the video, click HERE.)

Tags: Arkansas, Governor, Asa Hutchinson, End of year , Review To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sen. Boozman: Looking Back and Ahead

A Note from John

I am honored by the trust you have placed in me to serve as your United States Senator in Washington, D.C.  It is a privilege that I do not take for granted.  Recently I was asked by a young constituent what I liked the most about being a Senator.  To me the answer is pretty clear - I like having the ability to help the people of Arkansas. Whether there’s an issue with Social Security, or someone having a problem with getting the medical care they need, I enjoy responding to their calls and finding a solution.
When I first ran for the Senate, I made a promise to my fellow Arkansans - that I would not be intimidated by old school politicians in Washington and that I would listen to the people of Arkansas and work on the issues most important to you.  No doubt, there's a lot of work to do, but I am pleased that we are making progress and getting the people's work done.  Here’s some of what we’ve accomplished this year:

Looking Back

I Voted No to Irresponsible Spending
I voted NO on the latest funding deal.  With our national debt reaching over $18 trillion dollars, the American people are demanding that Washington make serious efforts to rein in the out of control spending of the Obama Administration.

Instead, both Houses passed a $1.1 trillion bill that grows the federal government and busts the budget caps with $50 billion in new spending.

Even though this massive bill contained some provisions that I support because they will help Arkansans, I simply could not vote for legislation that contains such irresponsible spending. It's the same reason I voted against the budget agreement that was reached at the end of October.  We must show taxpayers that we are serious about reining in federal spending. 

I Voted to Repeal Obamacare and Defund Planned Parenthood
I voted to repeal key parts of Obamacare and to defund Planned Parenthood.  Americans are tired of the broken promises of Obamacare.  The law remains unworkable, unaffordable and more unpopular.  With this vote, the Senate took a crucial step forward in beginning to lift the burdens and higher costs the law has placed on all Americans.

Planned Parenthood has shown a clear disregard for the sanctity of life and hardworking taxpayers should not be footing the bill for these inhumane practices.  This bill redirects money from the organization to other women's health services providers to ensure that taxpayers are not funding Planned Parenthood's indefensible actions.

Fighting EPA Power-Grabs
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated federal law when promoting its Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

The EPA’s illegal campaign shows the desperate measures the agency was willing to take to hide the overwhelming opposition to WOTUS. The GAO ruling proves that this was a manufactured public relations campaign unknowingly funded by taxpayers who oppose this EPA power-grab. It’s proof that the Obama Administration is willing to break the law to get its way.

Arkansans understand we don’t need DC bureaucrats controlling our land. That is why I stand with the homeowners,  small businesses and family farmers in Arkansas in opposition to the WOTUS mandate.  The Senate passed a resolution that reflects the American people’s rejection of this heavy-handed mandate and shows our commitment to a balanced and thoughtful approach to water quality protection.  The President needs to understand the American people’s opposition to this power-grab is very real.

I also joined with my colleagues to pass two similar resolutions of disapproval of the EPA’s misguided carbon mandate. These resolutions would prevent this carbon mandate power-grab from taking effect, protecting Arkansans from a dramatic increase in electricity costs, which would be devastating for low-income families and seniors living on fixed-incomes.

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Approves My Bill to Help Homeless Veterans
I authored legislation that would reauthorize current veteran homelessness programs and clarify qualifications for existing housing assistance benefits.  This is a great step toward ending the cycle of homelessness endured by so many of our veterans.  I will continue to work to ensure that my legislation becomes law.  Enacting long-term programs that provide the resources, tools and training our veterans earned will help eliminate veteran homelessness.
Important Senate Action in 2015
  • Passed the first bicameral budget since 2009, which was the first balanced budget since 2001
  • All twelve appropriations bills were approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee for the first time in six years
  • Passed legislation that would create jobs and strengthen our economy by moving the Keystone XL Pipeline forward, a project that was unwisely rejected by the Obama Administration
  • Landmark education reform expanding state and local control was passed and signed into law
  • The first long-term highway bill since 2005 was passed and signed into law
  • Major Medicare reform legislation that will ensure seniors can receive care by permanently ending automatic cuts to providers was passed and signed into law
  • Passed legislation to ensure the American people would have a say in the Iran nuclear agreement, an ill-advised and dangerous move by the Obama Administration that was negotiated behind closed doors
  • The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, a bill that will help America continue to lead in the international fight to end modern day slavery, was passed and signed into law
  • The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, a landmark bill to improve mental health care and suicide prevention resources for veterans, was passed and signed into law
Looking Ahead
Next year I will be campaigning for reelection.  2016 is also a Presidential Election year. After almost 8 years living with the Obama Administration, I know you will agree that we must elect a conservative Republican President - someone who will return our country to the core conservative principles that have made America great.

Radical terrorism must be dealt with quickly and effectively and I am confident that a Republican President will do exactly that.  I look forward to bringing jobs to Arkansas, replacing Obamacare with a patient-centered health care plan that the people of Arkansas want, and continuing to work on the issues that are important to the people of our state.
All Americans want our nation to be confident again.  Americans need to be confident that if they don't have a job, they can find one and that it will pay well.

Our seniors need to be confident that their years of hard work, and years of paying taxes, will be rewarded and that Medicare and Social Security will be there for them.

Our children and grandchildren need the assurance that we are not going to tax and spend their future away.

And when our veterans return home they must be confident that they will return to a grateful nation, and that our country will provide all of the benefits that they were promised.
And America needs to regain the respect of the world.  Our nation stands for freedom - we must continue to shine that beacon brightly.

I personally ask for your support of my reelection campaign.  Please be an active member of our team.  There are many ways to be involved – make a financial contribution to my reelection, become a fan on Facebook and/or follow our campaign on twitter.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful wrap up of 2015 and a terrific New Year!

Tags: ISenator, John Boozman, Looking Back, Looking Ahead To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Boot Berryism and the ARRA News Service
We extend to our readers and contributors
a blessed Merry Christmas!

Tags: Merry Christmas, 2015 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Governor Hutchinson Announces Appointments

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the following appointments:

Mrs. Stacy Crawford, Jonesboro, to the Board of Trustees of Arkansas State University. Term begins January 15, 2016 and expires January 14, 2021.

Mr. Bunny Adcock, Conway, to the Board of Trustees of the University of Central Arkansas. Term begins January 15, 2016 and expires January 14, 2023.

Mr. Tom Kennedy, Little Rock, to the Board of Trustees of Arkansas Tech University. Term begins January 15, 2016 and expires January 14, 2021.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:
“These three individuals that I’ve appointed are valued members of their communities with sound backgrounds in both education and government. They are well respected among the members of their particular board, and I have no doubt they will serve their respective institutions well.”

Appointment Bios:

Mrs. Stacy Crawford is a Social Worker at NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro. She holds both a Master’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is certified in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning. Mrs. Crawford is an alumna of Arkansas State University, where she served as a Senator in the Student Government Association and as Vice-President of Membership Education for Alpha Omicron Pi.

Mrs. Crawford is an active member of the Craighead County Crisis Response Team, NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital Shared Governance Committee, Elks Lodge, Congressional Spouses Club and Republican Spouses Club.

Mrs. Crawford and her husband, Congressman Rick Crawford, live in Jonesboro with their two children, Will (10) and Delainey (8).

Mr. Bunny Adcock is the Vice Chairman of the Board at Centennial Bank. His service to the University of Central Arkansas includes previous employment as both Vice President of Finance and Head Golf Coach. Mr. Adcock has also served as a member of the UCA Foundation Board of Directors, International Programs Advisory Committee, Responsible UCA Committee, Cost Containment Committee and the Dean’s Advisory Committee to the School of Business.

Mr. Adcock continues to provide support to the University through his direct involvement in UCA Purple Circle, the Adcock Scholarship, Friends of the UCA Library and the International Programs Emergency Fund.

Mr. Adcock and his wife, Carol, live in Conway.

Mr. Tom Kennedy is the Vice President of Public Affairs at Entergy Arkansas, Inc. He is an alumnus of Arkansas Tech University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He also holds a Juris Doctor from UALR School of Law.

Mr. Kennedy served two terms as Prosecuting Attorney for the Fifth Judicial District and was appointed as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. He previously served as a State Senator, and was named one of the top ten legislators by the Democrat-Gazette. Mr. Kennedy currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas.

Mr. Kennedy and his wife, Kristi, live in Little Rock.

Tags: IArkansas, Governor, Asa Hutchinson, appointments,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Who is hurting the Republican Party in Arkansas?

A reminder of  who are the
True Republican Conservatives!
Image via ARRA News Service
Conduit For Action Commentary: Some big government Republicans (Establishment Republicans) claim Conduit for Action is hurting the Republican Party in Arkansas. So, what is it that CFA has been doing?
  • Pointed out “carefully crafted language” used to adopt and to keep Obamacare Medicaid Expansion under cute names like “Private Option” and “Arkansas Works”.
  • Exposed policies that grow government dependence, not only through health care to able bodied adults who don’t work but also through maintaining the waiver exempting food stamps from the federal requirement for recipients to work.
  • Warned the public about the deceptive Issue #3 that was supposed to be about ethics reform but actually protected big lobbying interests, extended term limits, and gave elected officials big raises.
  • Criticized use of the General Improvement Fund to allow individual legislators discretion over spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, and which has been used for such things as a fireworks show and a county park for which the county did not ask for or want considering the county’s greater needs all the while posing to take credit with the taxpayers’ money.

  • Highlighted crony capitalism that rewards some businesses while leaving other businesses and individual taxpayers to pay for the perks for some.
  • And the list goes on.
Considering CFA’s record, does CFA or big government Republicans better represent these two conservative PRINCIPLES in the Platform of the Republican Party of Arkansas?INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY AND INITIATIVE

INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM AND LIBERTY SECURED BY A LIMITED GOVERNMENT
So, who is hurting the Republican Party in Arkansas? CFA or big government Republicans? You be the judge.

Thankfully, not every Arkansas Republican is a big government Republican, and we would be remiss if we failed to note that there are a number of fiscally conservative Republicans in the Arkansas Legislature. We thank them for standing up for smaller government and more freedom, despite opposition from Democrats, big government Republican colleagues, their own governor, and special interests who want a slice of the pie.

Does CFA have to talk about fiscal issues?
Conduit for Action is not affiliated with a political party, but CFA is a conservative organization. CFA focuses on fiscally conservative issues, smaller government, less regulation, openness in government, and more freedom. Big government Republicans would like for CFA to talk about something else, but fiscal matters and freedom are what we talk about. To ask us to talk about something different would be like asking the NRA to not talk about the Second Amendment or to ask the Arkansas Family Council not to talk about pro-life legislation.

Are you a fiscal conservative?
How can you help hold Arkansas government accountable on fiscal issues?

All we ask is that you spread the word that you are tired of big government in Arkansas and want Arkansas politicians who are fiscally conservative. . . .

WARNING: If you express your fiscal conservatism you won’t be in line to be the beneficiary of crony capitalism contracts or become someone who will have the kind of influence needed to control any politician. What you get is much better – the satisfaction of promoting freedom and helping keep future generations from being slaves to big government.

Tags: Arkansas Republican Party, Conduit for Action, CFA, fiscal conservatives, ARRA News Service image, True Conservatives To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

TRID Rule Causes US Home Sales to Tank in November

Related: Congressman French Hill (AR-02) introduced H.R. H.R. 3192, the Homebuyers Assistance Act, which passed the House in October by a vote of 303-121. H.R. 3192 would provide a formal hold-harmless period for those making a good faith effort to comply with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (TILA-RESPA) Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule, which became effective on October 3, 2015.

Also: More TRID Problems: Wary Investors Kicking Back More Mortgages (National Mortgage News)

US Existing Home Sales Tank In November
AP - 12/22/2015

Home sales plunged sharply in November, as buyers faced rising prices and new regulations that might have delayed some closings.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales of existing homes collapsed 10.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.76 million. It was the weakest pace in 19 months.

The setback follows solid gains in real estate for much of 2015. Sales of existing homes are on track to rise roughly 5 percent for the entire year. But the introduction of a new disclosure form in October likely prevented many homebuyers from closing on sales in November. Home values are also rising at more than double the pace of wages.

The median home sales price was $220,300 in November, a 6.3 percent annual increase from a year ago.

The new rules introduced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to inform homebuyers about interest rates and fees may have delayed the completion of sales last month. It took 41 days to close a sale in November, compared to 36 days a year ago. The extended timeframe means that some sales may have been pushed back into December.

Sales fell in all major geographic regions, including the Northeast, Midwest, South and West.

Still, an improving job market and relatively low mortgage rates have encouraged home-buying for this year. Unemployment at a healthy 5 percent has endowed more people with a sense of financial certainty.

But tight inventories and rising prices have curbed further gains. Sales have cooled after accelerating to a rate of 5.58 million in July. Relatively few properties are on the market as the economic expansion has crossed the six-year mark, with many homeowners still recovering equity lost during the Great Recession and the bursting of the housing bubble.

The number of listings on the market has dropped 1.9 percent from a year ago, a shortage that has restricted options for buyers and fueled escalating prices. As a result, more people have no choice but to rent. The share of homeowners has slipped to 63.7 percent from a high of 69.2 percent in 2004.

Low mortgage rates have minimized some of the financial pressure. Still, rates are higher than a year ago. The Federal Reserve hiked a key short-term rate last week, the first increase of its kind in nearly a decade as the economy appears solid enough to manage higher borrowing costs.

The average, 30-year fixed mortgage rate has risen to 3.97 percent from 3.8 percent a year ago, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.


Tags: US, Existing Home Sales, Tank, November, TRID Rule, U.S. Rep. French Hill, AR-2, introduced, H.R. 3192, Homebuyers Assistance Act To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sen. Boozman: I Voted NO To Irresponsible Spending!

by Sen. John Boozman: Last week I voted no on the latest funding deal. With our national debt reaching over $18 trillion dollars, the American people are demanding that Washington make serious efforts to rein in the out of control spending of the Obama Administration.

Instead, both Houses passed a $1.1 trillion bill that grows the federal government and busts the budget caps with $50 billion in new spending.

Even though this massive bill contained some provisions that I support because they will help Arkansans, I simply could not vote for legislation that contains such irresponsible spending. It's the same reason I voted against the budget agreement that was reached at the end of October. We must show taxpayers that we are serious about controlling federal spending.

I’m running for reelection so that Arkansas families have a strong voice in Washington; one that does not bend on critical issues such as this, that are so important to the future or our children and grandchildren.

I know that Washington's out-of-control spending is a top concern for you as well.

Tags: U.S. Senator, John Boozman, vote no, Irresponsible spending bill To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

All Systems Go For Santa!

by Sen. Tom Cotton: I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season! As Christmas approaches, I’m happy to report that NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, will track Santa Claus for the 60th straight year. During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this month, I asked Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Paul Selva to confirm that NORAD is prepared to track Santa once again. While he didn’t have a complete intelligence report available at that moment—some things have to remain classified! — he was able to divulge that the reindeer have been fed their oats and are prepared to deliver gifts to all of those boys and girls who were well-behaved this year.

Tom with members of the Arkansas State Legislature
WTO Authorizes More Than $1 Billion in Tariffs on American Goods
Earlier this month, the World Trade Organization's (WTO) authorized Canada and Mexico to place more than $1 billion in tariffs on American goods. Unfortunately, these tariffs come as little surprise given the impact COOL regulations have had on our trade relationships with Canada and Mexico. While we knew they were coming, over $1 billion in tariffs will be a devastating blow to both our national and state economies. The economic impact on Arkansas alone would be tens of millions of dollars. And this is only the beginning. If we don’t take action to stop COOL regulations, we will alienate other trading partner and face additional tariffs. Rest assured, I am working with my colleagues in Congress as well as with partners at the Canadian and Mexican embassies to modify COOL regulations and protect Arkansans from losing access to these important markets.

Every Student Succeeds Act
As the son of a public school teacher and principal and a graduate of Arkansas public schools, I know firsthand the benefits of a public school education. But over the last several years our schools have been stifled by government bureaucracy, and, as a result, too many children haven’t received the quality education they deserve.

That’s why I supported legislation the recently passed by the Senate that will bring much needed reform to our education system by enabling states and local communities to decide what’s best for their students. This bill both ends Common Core mandates for states and significantly empowers states to determine their own measures of student success. I will continue to be an advocate for reforms to our public school system and will support policies that reduce the role of Washington politicians in the education of students in Arkansas and across the country.

The EPA’s Wrongful Use of Social Media to Generate Support for WOTUS
Earlier this week, the Government Accountability Office ruled that the EPA wrongfully used of social media to generate support for the Waters of the United States. It comes as little surprise that the EPA broke federal law while promoting the disastrous Waters of the United States rule. Over the last six years they’ve repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to promoting President Obama’s radical environmental agenda over the interests of the American people and our natural resources. And they take orders from a President whose also been known to skirt the laws of the land if they interfere with his ideas.The GAO’s ruling is another important step toward overturning the misguided Waters of the United States rule completely. Rest assured, I will work to continue the fight against this rule and against EPA overreach.

President Obama’s Remarks on National Security and Defeating ISIS
On Thursday, President Obama made a brief statement on our national security and defeating ISIS. And while he didn’t offer much, he was correct about one thing: our intelligence and security officials are the best of the best. We are fortunate to have these dedicated professionals working on our behalf. That’s why it’s disappointing that President Obama, our commander in chief, has made it harder for these men and women to do their jobs and keep us safe. His failure to confront ISIS and our enemies around the world means we face more threats both at home and abroad. And because of his policies, they now have access to fewer tools to identify and neutralize these threats. If President Obama truly wants to thank our intelligence community for their outstanding work, he should present a real strategy to defeat the Islamic state and he should restore and strengthen vital intelligence programs.

Around Arkansas
It has been a busy couple of weeks for staff in my four state offices in Arkansas! On December 7th, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, my office attended the arrival of the USS Hoga to the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum in North Little Rock. My staff also attended a reception for this year’s Operation Wounded Warrior Support honorees, the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new VA office in Mountain Home, the Crawford-Sebastian County Community Development Council’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, and the JB Hunt expansion announcement!

Tags: U.S. Senator, Tom Cotton, newsletter, December, 2016 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Griffin Announces Appointment to Arkansas Ethics Commission

Ashley Driver Younger
LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today appointed Ashley Driver Younger to the Arkansas Ethics Commission and issued the following statement:“Today, I appointed Ashley Driver Younger to the Arkansas Ethics Commission. Her broad range of experience will prove beneficial to the Commission. I congratulate Ashley, and I appreciate her willingness to serve Arkansans in this role.”Younger will replace William C. Bird III. Her term will commence January 1, 2016 and expire December 31, 2020.

Ashley Younger issued the following statement:“I am honored that Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin has selected me to serve in this important capacity. I look forward to serving the State of Arkansas as a member of the Arkansas Ethics Commission and will approach all aspects of my appointment with careful consideration and due diligence.”About Ashley Driver Younger:
Younger is a 2010 cum laude graduate of the Univ. of AR School of Law. In the spring of 2015, Younger joined the Office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge as an assistant attorney general for the criminal division. Prior to her work at the attorney general’s office, Younger served as an attorney at Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, PLLC. After completing law school, Younger served as a judicial clerk for the Hon. Richard D. Taylor, Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern & Western Districts of Arkansas. Younger is a member of the American Bar Association, the Arkansas Bar Association, and the Junior League of Little Rock.
Tags: Lt. Gov., Tim Griffin, Arkansas, appoints, Ashley Driver Younger, Arkansas Ethics Commission To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Governor Calls For Efficiency Review of Arkansas State Government

Dr. Bill Smith, ARRA News Service: Yesterday, I attended my traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas to attend attending a special reception and media event for the Arkansas Policy Foundation. APF is a cost-efficient nonpartisan, non-profit organization that analyzes the impact of public policy on Arkansas and makes recommendations. There findings are independent and are directed at promoting more efficient government at lower cost to the taxpayers. As an educational organization, it also regularly submits its research to scholarly journals that use a peer review process.

Yesterday, the Arkansas Policy Foundation celebrated 20 years of service to the public. In the past, the Foundation has emphasized the importance of tax policy and education reform:
Principles of tax policy: Arkansas would benefit from comprehensive, pro-growth reform; Arkansans are not under-taxed; taxes and rates do matter to entrepreneurs; dynamic scoring of tax changes and effects provides benefits. It also had conducted an efficiency review of Arkansas government in the mid-1990s that called for performance-based budgeting among other recommendations. Education reform: The Foundation seeks intellectual honesty and complete openness in reporting the lack of academic progress in Arkansas' school system. It had previously completed a n of state education which became known as the Murphy Commission which resulted in many changes especially in educational under Gov. Mike Huckabee's administration.Various speakers addressed the past success and influences of APF. Then, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Giffin addressed the future potential impact that APF could have on more efficient government as a prelude to Gov. Asa Hutchinson arriving to share his decision and prior announcement at the State Capitol.

Gov. Hutchinson shared his prior announcement at the State Capitol with the other heads of the government present. Hutchinson had issued a memorandum ordering “mandatory compliance” by state agencies in an efficiency review to be conducted by Arkansas Policy Foundation.

Hutchinson said, "The policy foundation came to me and said they would like to engage in that. Of course, I remember the Murphy Commission that was so helpful a decade or so ago and we’re not finished yet. We need new ideas and we hope a private sector approach taking a look at it can generate those ideas."

Governor Hutchinson also identified, "I’ve specifically asked Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin to take one aspect of that, not the whole project but the Department of Human Services. To look at the organizational structure of DHS and it’s really a good time when we’re in transition with a new director coming in."

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin said, "I am honored to assist the governor in his review of the Department of Human Services so that we can all better serve the people of Arkansas and be better stewards of taxpayer dollars."

APF will not be tasked to "[R]eview of the IT structure or contracts. Those areas will be reviewed separately by the Governor’s Office and the legislature." Previously, both legislators and the governor have criticized a Medicaid enrollment and eligibility IT contract that more than doubled in cost from $108 million to $220 million.

Gov. Hutchinson has instructed all agency directors to cooperate with the foundation and has asked his deputy counsel, Andrew “Vu” Ritchie, to be a liaison between the foundation and the agencies.

At the end of the Hutchinson announcement at AFP, Greg Kaza, executive director, said that APF hopes to have its report completed by next fall. And ended the event with, "As volunteers ,we’re ready to go to work, and we will!"

Tags: ARRA News Service, Arkansas, Governor, Asa Hutchinson, Lt. Governor, Tim Griffin, Arkansas Policy Foundation, efficiency review, Arkansas State Government To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces DHS Organizational Review; Lt. Governor Griffin to Lead Effort

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today an organizational review of the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS). The effort will be led by Lt. Governor Tim Griffin.

As part of the review, Governor Hutchinson has asked Lt. Governor Griffin to assess the organizational structure of DHS and look at any duplicative services. The review will also include identifying ways to achieve greater efficiencies and areas needing to be strengthened if they currently lack sufficient resources.

The timeline for completion of the DHS organizational review is set for March 1, 2016, as the new DHS director assumes his role. The project does not include a review of the IT structure or contracts. Those areas will be reviewed separately by the Governor’s Office and the legislature.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:
“As we continue the search for the next director of DHS, it’s important we take a look at the organizational structure to achieve any new possible efficiencies. I have asked the Lieutenant Governor to lead this effort, because I know he will conduct a substantive review of the department at this critical time and will do so with integrity and the due diligence needed.”

Lt. Governor Griffin issued the following statement:
"I am honored to assist the Governor in his review of the Department of Human Services (DHS) so that we can all better serve the people of Arkansas and be better stewards of taxpayer dollars."

Tags: Governor Hutchinson, DHS Organization review, Lt. Governor, Tim Griffin, leads effort To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the following appointments:
Representative Charles Armstrong, Little Rock, to the Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Advisory Council.  Appointment expires at the Will of the Governor.

Representative Sheilla Lampkin, Monticello, to the Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Advisory Council.  Appointment expires at the Will of the Governor.

Cliff Rushing, Hot Springs, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, Judicial District #18 East.  Appointment expires January 14, 2019.  Replaces Dorothy Clark.

Phillip Fletcher, Conway, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, Judicial District #20.  Appointment expires January 14, 2019.  Replaces Luther Ratchford.

Dr. Mark Pippenger, Little Rock, to the Alzheimer’s Advisory Council.  Appointment expires at the Will of the Governor.  Replaces Dr. Kenneth Sauer.

Susan Neyman, West Fork, to the Alzheimer’s Advisory Council.  Appointment expires at the Will of the Governor.  Replaces Allison Hogue.

Robin LeGuin, Arkadelphia, to the Alzheimer’s Advisory Council.  Appointment expires at the Will of the Governor.  Replaces Elise Siegler.

Rachel Davis, North Little Rock, to the Alzheimer’s Advisory Council.  Appointment expires at the Will of the Governor.  Replaces Shane Carter.

Mary Spainhouer, Jonesboro, to the Perfusionists Advisory Committee.  Appointment expires July 14, 2018.  Replaces Stan Butler.

Gregory Stanfill, Rogers, to the Arkansas Development Finance Authority Board of Directors.  Appointment expires January 14, 2017.  Replaces Julie Mills.

Thomas Fortner, Lonoke, to the Arkansas State Board of Registration for Professional Soil Classifiers.  Appointment expires November 1, 2020.  Replaces Dennis Hackbart.

John Trafford, Plumerville, to the Grade “A” Milk Program Advisory Committee.  Appointment expires July 31, 2021.  Reappointment.

William Haak, Gentry, to the Grade “A” Milk Program Advisory Committee.  Appointment expires July 31, 2021.  Replaces Matthew Simon.

William Doerhoff, Maumelle, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging.  Appointment expires January 14, 2018.  Replaces Faye Abernathy.

Lesley Nalley, Bigelow, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging.  Appointment expires January 14, 2019.  Replaces Anna Farris.

William Bryant, Conway, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging.  Appointment expires January 14, 2019.  Replaces Harry Mason.

Lori Benedict, Sturkie, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging.  Appointment expires January 14, 2019.  Replaces Ronald Cantrell.

Margaret Wolf, Rogers, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging.  Appointment expires January 14, 2016.  Replaces Peggy Dowdy.

Mary Ellis, Fort Smith, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging.  Appointment expires January 14, 2018.  Replaces Bernard Mize.

Phillip McBee, Pine Bluff, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging.  Appointment expires January 14, 2019.  Reappointment.

Syble Echols, Jonesboro, to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging.  Appointment expires January 14, 2019.  Reappointment.

Dr. Daniel Hennessey, Little Rock, to the State Board of Optometry.  Appointment expires April 26, 2018.  Replaces Dr. George Haas.

Dr. James Burgess, Greenwood, to the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy.  Appointment expires June 30, 2017.  Replaces Joyce Palla.

Keith Edmonds, Bruno, to the Trauma Advisory Council.  Appointment expires July 1, 2017.  Replaces Kenneth Jones.

Lona McCastlain, Austin, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas.  CV-15-491 Thomas L. Lagios v. Kenneth Mitchell Goldman and Deanne Fields Goldman.  Replaces Justice Rhonda Wood.

Chris Gardner, Jonesboro, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas.  CV-15-179 Travis Trammell v. Linda Marlene Wright.  Replaces Justice Rhonda Wood.

Chad Atwell, Fayetteville, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas.  CV-15-180 John David Moore v. Nancy Moore.  Replaces Justice Paul Danielson.

Scott Richardson, Little Rock, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas.  CV-15-198 Seeco, Inc. n/k/a SWN Production (Arkansas), Inc. v. Sara Stewmon.  Replaces Justice Courtney Goodson.

Scott Richardson, Little Rock, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas.  CV-15-197 Seeco, Inc. n/k/a SWN Production (Arkansas), Inc. v. Eldridge Snow.  Replaces Justice Courtney Goodson.


Tags: Governor, Asa Hutchinson, Appointments To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Griffin Applauds Blytheville’s Move Toward Public School Choice

LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement after the superintendent of Blytheville public schools wrote a letter to the Arkansas Department of Education requesting the District’s participation in public school choice:
“My eyes lit up with excitement this morning when I read Blytheville Public School Superintendent Richard Atwill’s letter to the Arkansas Department of Education regarding the Blytheville School District’s willingness and desire to participate in public school choice. I recently visited with Blytheville parents and toured Blytheville public schools with Superintendent Atwill, and I believe Superintendent Atwill’s request is a step in the right direction.”
Tags: Lieutenant Governor, Tim Griffin, Blytheville, Public School Choice To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Hill Statement on Fed's Decision to Raise Interest Rates

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, Congressman French Hill (AR-2) released the below statement:
“While the markets have been making these adjustments for months, today the Federal Reserve has begun to raise the federal funds rate after holding it near zero for seven years. While I’m glad to see the Fed take this step, in my view, it needs to develop a more rules-based approach to monetary policy, such as that contained in the House-passed FORM Act, to prevent ambiguity in the future.”

Tags: U.S. Rep., French Hill, The Fed, interest rate To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Governor Hutchinson Releases Statement on Unanimous Vote by Legislative Task Force on Healthcare Reform

LITTLE ROCK – Earlier today in a bipartisan, unanimous vote, members of the Legislative Task Force on Healthcare Reform backed Governor Asa Hutchinson’s framework for “Arkansas Works” with a commitment to finding at least $835 million in cost savings over the next five years. By passing the motion, the task force also gave their consent to Governor Hutchinson to begin waiver negotiations with the federal government.

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:“Today’s unanimous, bipartisan vote by the Legislative Task Force on Healthcare Reform was an important one. It shows the state and the country that we’re united in pursuing waivers from the federal government to have health coverage for Arkansans that emphasizes personal responsibility, incentives to work and responsible management of the program – the foundation of ‘Arkansas Works’.

"Based upon this unanimous support from the task force, we will be pursuing the waivers before the federal government, and while we still have to find $835 million in savings over the next five years, this kind of commitment from the legislature makes me confident that we can achieve that kind of result.”

Tags: Governor, Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas, Legislative Task Force, vote, healthcare reform, waiver negotiations, federal government,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Governor Receives Report from Highway Working Group -- More Taxes & Fees

LITTLE ROCK – As directed under executive order from earlier this year, Governor Asa Hutchinson received the official report from the Governor’s Working Group on Highway Funding Tuesday evening. Governor Hutchinson will review the recommendations and announce his decision in mid-January.

The report can be found on the Governor’s website, HERE.

Editor's Note: Recommend reading the report! There are "some recommended" items (increased taxes, increased fee collection, monitoring travel, etc.)  that  most Arkansans will not like. For example, one recommendation would require Arkansans to file a report every year of mileage used on their personal vehicles every year and to pay a fee for the miles driven. This is a bad idea and will punish Arkansans in rural areas of the state who have to travel to other locations (vacations, extended work, etc.). Looks like a few liberal "green" idea from outside of rural America has been recommended by this working group.  

Tags: Highway Working Group, report, more taxes, more fees To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

General Aviation Bill Passes Senate with Boozman Language to Help Small Aircraft Pilots Keep Flying

WASHINGTON Language authored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to reform general aviation medical standards was included in the Pilot’s Bill of Rights II and unanimously passed by the Senate Tuesday night.

The language—a modified version of the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act introduced by Boozman in February—seeks reforms to maintain safety while supporting capable pilots and jobs in the industry and at our small, local airports.

“These reforms are necessary because the FAA has stalled on its pledge to eliminate bureaucratic barriers that ground capable aviators. Over the last decade, 60,000 pilots left the industry, many due to the costly and time consuming process of obtaining paperwork that FAA has acknowledged needs to be changed. By incorporating my bill in the Pilot’s Bill of Rights II, we can provide safety and eliminate these burdens which have proven unnecessary,” Boozman, a co-chair of the Senate General Aviation Caucus, said.

Boozman’s language allows pilots to fly many types of small, light aircraft without a third class medical certificate.The light-sport aircraft program has demonstrated that these changes can occur without compromising safety.

Pilots will be required to undergo a flight review by a certified flight instructor every two years. During these flight reviews, instructors will continue to evaluate each pilot’s physical and cognitive condition, as well as his or her ability to safely operate an aircraft. Small aircraft pilots would be required to maintain a valid driver’s license. Limited medical examinations by a personal physician will be required once every four years, but the requirements will be much less burdensome.

Boozman’s efforts have garnered the support of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

Tags: Generation Aviation, bill, Senator, John Boozman To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Government and Jobs in Arkansas (Economic Development 101)

Jobs will flourish when you get government out of the “job creation” business and into the reducing government business!

by Joe Maynard, Conduit for Action: There is a lot of talk lately in Arkansas about our state government creating jobs. In that same discussion we hear words like “economic development” and “workforce training.” Though this article will touch on those last two terms, it will mostly explain that it is not possible for government to “create” jobs. Though some government jobs are necessary, the math is clear that government is a “taker” and not a “producer.” By its very nature, government cannot “create” jobs other than those needed to run its own activities (and those at the expense of economic growth.*)

In application, there are two methods today where government claims “job creation,” the traditional method and the newer method–government incentives.

The traditional method of “claimed” job creation is when government directly hires more people because it expands government services or indirectly hires through funding infrastructure projects such as highways (performed by the private sector.) Even though more people may be hired to do these jobs, while doing so, this government activity crowds out private wealth activity as it places a perpetual tax burden on its citizens to cover the immediate and long-term costs of these jobs, not to mention pulling qualified people from the wealth-producing private sector.

Government incentives is the more high profile manner in which state governments (claim to) create jobs. It is basically the giving of its tax dollars collected from its citizens to certain private companies it alone determines are worthy. Sometimes state governments will attempt to bring in companies from outside their state. And sometimes they will simply give tax dollars to private citizens or companies already in their state. These include tax dollars to relocate, expand, or start a new business. (A list of the top private company (corporate welfare) recipients of government tax dollars may be viewed on the Good Jobs First website.

Now examine this second method of claimed job creation with some measure of common sense. If there is an existing company in, let's say Oklahoma, and we in Arkansas offer our Arkansas tax dollars to the Oklahoma company to cause it to move to our state, two things are really happening.

First, the people working in Oklahoma become unemployed or they move to or drive daily to Arkansas and keep their job. Does that create new jobs?

Second, the Oklahoma company moves to Arkansas with the tax money paid in by the people in Arkansas, including the Arkansas business competitors to the Oklahoma company. Logic then follows that the existing Arkansas business taxpayer is effectively subsidizing its competitor. With those free dollars from the Arkansas business taxpayer, the Oklahoma company may then hire away from the Arkansas company, at higher wages, the Arkansas taxpayer’s currently employed skilled workforce (with dollars furnished by the Arkansas business.) Does this create more jobs?

Under this scheme, does the current unemployed population (including those in the new improved government workforce develop program) suddenly rush in and become employed? Not necessarily.

What may be a better approach to “applying its own government solutions to job creation” is for government to tackle duties they currently claim as their own: education, infrastructure, and welfare. If done correctly, what impact would this have on job creation?

Education and Workforce Training: The vast majority of companies in our state and elsewhere have need for good employees that can show up on time, pass a drug test, and have a basic understanding of reading, writing, and arithmetic. These are things we in Arkansas collectively pay almost $13,000 per student per year in our government K-12 education system monopoly (public schools.) How is that working for us? Why not do those well before promising other benefits from more government education (such as workforce training?) Is it realistic to think that yet another bureaucracy can educate and create a skilled workforce for private companies when the same system cannot do it in the previous 13 years educating the same person?

Infrastructure: Good water and sewer systems, adequate roads, public safety, etc. are requirements for stable and continued job creation. Spending money on trees in the median, bike trails, over the top art and public building architecture and layer upon layer of administration does not get this done. People who are unemployed do not really care about trails and trees and grand public buildings, as they prefer good job opportunities. (There must come a time when we say “no” to more federal government money which forces these kinds of bad ideas on Arkansans who need economic opportunity.)

Welfare: If a young person, and others, see the value provided by government benefits as a better option than the entry level jobs, what is the incentive to enter or to stay in the job market? As government more freely gives away what it takes from those working, there is little incentive for the able-bodied to struggle and work their way out of poverty. It is possible, but it is becoming less and less attractive. Why are there still "jobs Americans won't do" and government benefits for those who will not do these jobs? We recruit foreign workers to do these jobs and pay Americans not to do them? This is where we are! Government is competing for the workforce against the private sector.

Lastly, who in government is so qualified and experienced that they can pick the correct long term (viable) companies to subsidize, without personal gain, which will hire the currently unemployed for any meaningful length of time? I would argue not one single person. This is the reason that we, as a state should follow the free market and limited government model that made this country the greatest producer of goods and wealth for all the people that the world has ever known. Elected people will not and cannot ever produce this result, regardless of the rhetoric or good intentions. As our Lt. Governor Griffin often says, "It's not the icing (incentives), it's the cake (tax, education and regulation policy) that is the problem."

Despite the claims of “jobs created (or saved, right?)”, government does not create jobs by moving employed people from area to area or company to company. One company wins, others lose. Do you want your government to decide?
Educate K-12 PROPERLY, without MORE MONEY first, spend highway and infrastructure money properly, and quit giving working people’s money and Arkansas companies’ jobs away. Then we can have a productive economic development discussion!

*(For more detail on the basic economics discussed here, see the classic article from the Foundation for Economic Education –"Why Government Can’t Create Jobs".


Tags: Arkansas, jobs, job creation, government, Economic Development 101 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Don't Tread On Me! Except In Arkansas

by Debbie Pelley Adapted from Conduit for Action

Nationally, Republican voters are rebelling against big government Republicans (often referred to as "establishment Republicans"). The backlash is apparent: (1) political outsiders and candidates who fight the establishment currently lead the polls for Republican nominee for president, (2) Speaker of the House John Boehner, who epitomizes the establishment Republican side, is resigning; and (3) a recent poll shows that Republicans voters feel betrayed by politicians in their Party.

According to a Fox News poll:
"62 percent of Republican primary voters feel "betrayed" by politicians in their party, and another 66 percent say the recent Republican majorities in Washington have failed to do all they could to block or reverse President Obama's agenda."Critics of "Establishment Republicans" describe them as supporting big government programs and having little stomach for fighting liberal policies of President Obama and the Democrats. They give up without a fight for conservative principles. Establishment Republicans hide behind the fatalistic words, "I have to be pragmatic."

Republicans who value conservative principles and are willing to stand up for those principles are often labeled as "Tea Party Republicans" even if they don't belong to a Tea Party group. They, like Tea Party groups, are staunch supporters of the constitution and of conservative principles, and they are willing to fight for both.

What about Arkansas?
The 2014 elections included notable victories by principled conservative Republicans against both Democrats in the general election and establishment Republicans in the Republican primary. But establishment Republicans are firmly in control in Little Rock, and it appears many of them are likely to be reelected without even having a Tea Party Republican opponent.

Arkansas' establishment Republicans try to placate the Republican base by emphasizing that they are Pro-Life and Pro-Second Amendment. (As if other Republican candidates might be against these.)

Arkansas' establishment Republicans advancing their big government programs using the establishment mantra of "We have to be pragmatic" and they try to distract voters by claiming conservative tweaks to the big government programs they impose on taxpayers. Amazingly establishment Republicans have even made their pitch at local Tea Party meetings.

Here are some examples from 2015 illustrating that principled Republicans and Tea Party groups have a lot of work to do in Arkansas.

1. Common Core Continues. One of the biggest complaints voters made during the elections of 2014 was Common Core in our schools. An effort to repeal Common Core never materialized in the 2015 legislative session because Governor Asa Hutchinson wanted to punt the ball down the field for another two years by creating a task force. It appears that the only result of the task force will be a name change and make some tweaks to Arkansas' Common Core. In other words, the state would rather go along with Common Core than to give up some federal education money.

2. Religious Freedom Restoration Act – Watered Down Version. HB1228 concerning adoption of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by both the House of Representatives and Senate and was delivered to the Governor. Instead of signing the bill, the Governor Hutchinson called for a "do over" with a weaker bill. Tea Party Republicans refused to vote for the watered down version.

3. Work requirement for Food Stamps waived. Federal law requires food stamp recipients to work but President Obama allowed states to apply for a waiver from the work requirement and Democrat Governor Mike Beebe obtained the waiver so that no work is required in Arkansas. Despite Arkansas now having a Republican administration the waiver remains in place and the welfare roll grows.

4. Tax Relief Fiasco. A modest tax relief law was passed for middle income taxpayers. That is good news. The bad news is the way it was handled was an embarrassing mess. Establishment Republicans took a play from the Democrat playbook and adopted an amendment by Senator Bill Sample to give less money back to taxpayers by shifting tax burden to businesses. The amendment took away capital gains tax relief promised by law in 2013.The provision to take away the capital gains relief was amended into the bill and passed out of the Senate the same day. Senator Linda Collins-Smith said there was confusion in the Senate because the amended version was passed so quickly. She and others wanted to change their vote to "No". So she made a motion to recall the bill by to the Senate to reconsider the vote on the bill. Her motion failed, with only six votes for her motion. Throughout the legislative session, the business community continued to voice their complaints about the scheme to shift tax burden to them. The mess was finally cleaned up late in the session when another bill was passed to restore the promised capital gains relief. The embarrassment could have been avoided if conservatives had stuck to principles instead of acting out of expediency.

5. Proposed Constitutional Amendment to remove fiscal restraints. The legislature adopted SJR16 by Senator Jon Woods to propose a constitutional amendment concerning how much state general revenue can be shifted into funding state assistance to big business for their big economic projects. Currently Amendment 82 of the Arkansas Constitution allows a whopping 5% of the state's general revenue to be pledged for such projects. The legislature is proposing to completely eliminate any fiscal restraint on how much of our tax money can be diverted to such private business projects. How can you divert tax money without tax increases being on the horizon? (This year the legislature approved funding for one project, $87.1 million to assist Lockheed Martin, but it was not spent because the company did not get the federal contract it sought.­ By comparison, a roads group is proposing a wholesale gas tax increase of 10 cents to raise $110 million for highways.)

6. Continued crony capitalism and pork projects. In January, Governor Hutchinson announced that his budget did not have room for surplus funds for the General Improvement Fund (GIF), much of which goes to fund special projects of individual legislators and projects chosen by the Governor. [Hutchinson pitches 3% budget lift, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 01/28/2015] But, that pronouncement didn't last long and the GIF received hundreds of millions of dollars. One of the items in the GIF legislation is $20 million for the Quick Action Closing Fund. This fund was in the news earlier this year when Governor Hutchinson awarded a $950,000 grant to aid the American Taekwondo Association to build a new headquarters.

7. Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. In 2013 the legislature passed a huge expansion of government (over 32% increase) by adopting Obamacare Medicaid Expansion (currently called Private Option). Establishment Republicans told us the program was for poor working families but it turns out that an estimated 40% to 46% do not work at all; and the vast majority are able bodied working age adults with no children, not "working families."

Since the federal government will not allow work requirements for enrollees, their idea now is to continue to expand government by giving businesses incentives to hire enrollees. In 2015 several bills were filed to repeal Obamacare Medicaid Expansion but none of them were allowed to advance. Instead, SB96 (Act 46) by Senator Jim Hendren was represented to the public as a way to end the Private Option at the end of 2016. However, the bill itself acknowledged that the Private Option would end anyway by its own terms at the end of 2016. The bill created a task force with the clear duty to recommend a way to CONTINUE coverage for the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion population (currently called Private Option). The task force then hired a consultant and charged the consultant to make recommendations consistent with keeping Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. No surprise, the consultant has recommended a continuation of the Private Option (but under a different name-"T-HIP.") The timing is such that establishment Republicans can seek reelection without having to vote on continued authorization for Obamacare Medicaid Expansion until after the primaries.

Do you want more of the same? That is what you will get from the coalition of Democrats and establishment Republicans.

Tags: Debbie Pelley, Conduit for Action, Arkansas, Common Core, Private Option, Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Work requirement for Food Stamps waived, Tax Relief Fiasco, Proposed Constitutional Amendment to remove fiscal restraints, Continued crony capitalism and pork projects, democrats, establishment republicans To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.