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Weekly Address

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New Jobs and Tax Cuts

It was a good week in and out of the Capitol for the people of Arkansas:

Let’s start with the big jobs announcement at the end of the week. On Thursday, we welcomed three new technology firms and 140 new jobs to downtown Conway. These knowledge-based, big data jobs are a foundational part of the future of our economy. The arrival of these new technology companies to Arkansas is a tribute to the leadership in Conway, which has invested in building a workforce that attracts good-paying, high-tech jobs.  Under my administration, we plan to mirror what city leaders in Conway are doing to create and attract technology jobs to our state.

The big news in Conway comes just days after we announced that a major clothing company is expanding its operations in Clarksville, bringing 120 manufacturing jobs from Honduras back to Arkansas. So in one week, our state has welcomed the arrival of 260 new jobs and an economic investment of $3.9 million. That’s a great way to start the new year.

The return of manufacturing jobs to Arkansas continues a nationwide trend, and Arkansas is well positioned to build its manufacturing base. But we must balance that with knowledge-based jobs like those announced in Conway. To achieve that kind of balance in our state, we need computer science education. We need computer-coding classes offered in every high school in Arkansas. On Wednesday, legislation to accomplish this goal was introduced in the Arkansas General Assembly. In addition, the bill creates a Computer Science and Technology in Public School Task Force that will provide recommendations on computer-science education and on how to meet the anticipated technology workforce needs of our state.

I was pleased this week that the House passed our plan to reduce income taxes for middle-class Arkansans. The plan passed overwhelmingly. Now the bill goes back to the state Senate. If passed there, it will put money back into the pockets of 600,000 Arkansas taxpayers. For the average Arkansas family, this tax break could mean three weeks of groceries or a new set of tires. For many two-income families, my plan could mean a tax break for BOTH members of the family — a total that could reach $1,000. That’s real money. I hope you will contact your state representative or senator and thank them for supporting this tax-reduction bill.

Let’s keep the momentum going at the state Capitol.

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