Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
February 15th, 2018 • News

February 15, 2018

  • The legislature began the 2018 fiscal session, and for the next month we’ll work almost exclusively on bills to authorize spending for state agencies.
  • The state of Arkansas will spend almost $6 billion dollars next year in general revenue funds. However, we also must factor in federal matching funds, special revenues from dedicated sources such as the motor fuels tax on gasoline, and cash funds that colleges and universities collect in tuition and fees.
  • When you add them all up, the Arkansas legislature authorizes about $30 billion a year in state spending. That authorization comes in the form of 300 appropriation bills that we’ll vote on during this fiscal session.
  • We throw around a lot of numbers during fiscal sessions, but the important thing to remember is that when it’s all over, the state will have a balanced budget.
  • The main spending categories are public schools, institutions of higher education, state prisons and health services.
  • Health programs include Medicaid, funding of long-term care facilities and drug abuse treatment. Funding for prisons will include funds for probation and parole officers, halfway houses and specialty courts such as drug courts.
  • The major headline from opening day was the governor’s announcement that he wants to cut about $180 million a year in state income taxes.
  • Although that announcement garnered a lot of news coverage, keep in mind that the legislature must wait until next year to vote on the governor’s proposal. That’s because he won’t actually submit it to the legislature until January of 2019
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from February 15, 2018