Press Release

Asa Arkansas's Governor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01.27.2015

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Budget Highlights & Promises Kept

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson’s balanced budget for 2015-2017 biennium returns $100 million to middle-class Arkansans while providing funding for new priorities, existing programs, and essential state services.

In addition, the balanced budget keeps campaign promises made by the governor on education, public safety, taxes and economic development while finding new savings and efficiencies in state government.

PROMISES KEPT

Governor Hutchinson's balanced budget:

  • Meets the adequacy requirements for funding K-12 public schools. (The governor will work with legislators to assess additional needs for state pre-K programs. This is in addition to a four-year, $60-million federal grant the state has earmarked for pre-K.)
     
  • Provides incentive for schools to offer computer-science courses by creating a $5 million Computer Science Initiative Grants program with general improvement funding.
     
  • Increases funding by $1 million for Drug Treatment Courts, including Veterans' treatment drug courts, and $300,000 for successful prisoner re-entry programs.
     
  • Directs an additional $11.4 million to county jails to reimburse them for housing state prisoners. (The budget also raises the reimbursement rate from $28 to $30.)
     
  • Fulfills the commitment to maintain Higher Education spending.
     
  • Provides a cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.
     
  • Cuts middle-class income taxes, returning some $100 million to 500,000 Arkansans.
     
  • Maintains a balanced budget.

NEW EFFICIENCIES

Governor Hutchinson's balanced budget:

  • Reduces the budgets of most state agencies by 1 percent in FY 2016.
     
  • Secures an additional $5 million in ongoing general revenue by redirecting one-half of the special revenue assessment (9 mils) on natural gas production.
     
  • Redirects $2 million from the Tobacco Settlement Funds to Medicaid.
     
  • Transitions the Office of Health Information Technology to a self-funded model by FY 2017 as provided for in the law, resulting in eventual savings of $2.2 million.