Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
January 11th, 2018 • News

January 11, 2018

  • In preparation for the Fiscal Session that begins on February 12, the legislature has begun budget hearings to review in detail state agency spending requests.
  • Arkansas has a very conservative budget, and unlike the federal government in Washington, we operate under a strict balanced budget law. When the economy slows down, Arkansas state government does what Arkansas families do. We cut back on spending to make ends meet.
  • Most of the discussion will center around the general revenue budget, which is the state’s main source of discretionary spending. It amounts to more than $5 billion a year, and most of it comes from individual income taxes, sales taxes and corporate income taxes.
  • Thanks to modest growth in the Arkansas economy, state government expects modest growth in general revenue for the remainder of this year and next year. Therefore, legislators will make budget decisions based on forecasts of modest growth.
  • A major consideration is that the governor has announced his intentions to trim Medicaid spending, by about $47 million a year. When you combine spending cuts with revenue growth, it means that the legislature will be able to beef up the state’s reserve funds.
  • Arkansas gains two major benefits from expanding reserve funds. First, it’s like a savings account and helps the state pay its bills if the economy goes into a slump.
  • Secondly, reserve funds enhance the state’s credit rating and allow for greater incentives when we’re recruiting new industries. That means we can be more aggressive in going after major manufacturers and superprojects that create hundreds of well-paid jobs.
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from January 11, 2018