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tv   Arkansas State of the State Address  CSPAN  March 6, 2018 8:42am-9:13am EST

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we need to have rural broadband access in our rural areas of this state. we need to -- [ applause ] and we need to continue to address the challenge of opioid abuse that is killing our young people in this state. [ applause ] we have lost 60,000 american lives annually because of opioid abuse, and the fact that we are making in arkansas far can vaibl available, that we're make the prescription drug monitoring program mandatory, we're increase awareness, this makes a girc
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difference and we need to continue to make that progress in fighting that challenge. so now let's move to work in the fiscal session. and while the session is straightforward that is before you, the opportunities are significant. i have presented a balanced budget to you in which i wanted to highlight a few parts. first of all, the budget that i have presented fully funds education. it reduces the growth of medicaid spending, it has real spending cuts in a number of agencies through efficiencies. it increases funding for public safety. and it reduces our historic habit of using -- time funds for ongoing needs. not perfect, but we are making progress. the result is a net reduction in overall spending in fy '19 as compared to the budget that was presented last year. most importantly, the reduction
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in spending gives us a projected surplus of $64 million. and if you look at medicaid specifically, i want to compliment the healthcare task force for the work that your body did in looking at ways to transform medicaid, to achieve savings. and we set a goal of $835 million over five years as a reduction in overall medicaid spending. and, ladies and gentlemen, we are now on target to meet those goals. so thank you for your work and your leadership. in the budget, the remaining growth in medicaid spending is the result of, first of all, a change in the federal match. there are consequences to an improving economy, and we have to pick up a little bit more percentage of the cost. there's an elimination of $50 million in one-time funding that has been rolled into the
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budget. and then we have medical inflation which nationally runs at about 5%. but we have reduced that growth rate in arkansas to 3.2%. that's transformation, that's progress. it is important to remember that our transformation efforts are not just necessary for the budget of arkansas -- this budget year because of the savings, we're reducing federal spending by nearly 1/2 a billion dollars. this is a good dugt budget, a strong budget. in terms of public sacht, we've finned community corrections that will increase by $1.4 million to ensure continued progress with our reentry program and parole supervision.
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currently the community corrections as 1,332 employees. the budget provides for 1,455. that is room to increase the personnel by more than 120 positions. and, yes, there is also more do. there is always challenges there that we'll continue to monitor. but we have increased that funding. we put funding in the budget for four kricrisis stabilization un that will help us address the mental health challenges that so many face, and whenever they run into law enforcement and law enforcement has been trained to identify a mental health issue, then they can be diverted from the county jails and put into a crisis stabilization center that we have four pilots that are being funded so they can get temporary stabilization assistance and referral to more long-term care.
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so it's important that we fund that crisis intervention training and the crisis stabilization units. this will benefit those with mental health problems and will alleviate the burden on our county jails and prisons. [ applause ] the first one is scheduled to open at the end of this month. and they will continue to roll out after that. other highlights in the budget include $3 million as line item for arkansas state police vehicles. traditionally, we have been taking one-time funding, we put it in as a line item. it provides for continued support for our child welfare caseworkers. this is the right budget for arkansas because it is conservative in spending, it increases our savings, and it invests in the future of our state. the savings of over $64 million are split.
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$16 million under the budget is set aside for highways, which say 25% of the surplus. that is much needed and important. $48 million i've asked you to put into a restricted reserve fund that cannot be touched without the concurrence of the legislature. that is set aside for the future. now let me talk about the future. this year we will receive a report from the legislative task force on tax reform and relief. i want to applaud its work in taking on this enormous challenge. work that you have done has already served to educate the legislators and the general public as to how we need to have a more competitive tax structure in arkansas that's more fair, more simple, and the reform is necessary. so i applaud your work. i've been asked, well, what are your priorities?
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i want the task force do its work, but i want to tell you today my priorities and my priorities have been consistent. and that is that we need to reduce the individual income tax rate in arkansas. [ applause ] this last week i was in new york. i went there, as i like to do, to sell arkansas. i met with business leaders, i met with industry saying arkansas's a good place do business, expand here, put your business here. i also took advantage of the opportunity to go to media outlets and to talk about arkansas. one of those was "the wall street journal" editorial board. and as i was visiting with the "wall street journal" editorial board i was asked a question, and that is, what is the top marginal tax rate in arkansas?
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and i said, well, it's 6.9%. and they looked at me and responded, that is worse than connecticut. that story ill straits tustrate nature in a society. businesses can relocate, individuals can relocate, but the true motivation for tax reform is to do the best for the people of arkansas. and today i'm announcing my specific plan for future tax cuts. i am proposing that we cut the marginal individual tax rate in arkansas from 6.9% to 6%. [ applause ] this needs to be done in the
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2019 session, but we'll be working on it this year to set the stage for that. how do we do this? well, we do it by first of all a commitment to the essential services of our state. and i remind you that whenever we had $150 million in tax cuts we approached it in a way that did not jeopardize the essentialer is visions essential services of our state. but we have an additional advantage now, that's our transformational efforts to reduce unnecessary spending is in full gear. we have our transformation office, we have -- they will continue to work to look at savings that we can create within state government without diminishing services. and then most importantly will be the recommendations of the task force that is representing this body.
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and i want to support you, i want to build that partnership, i want you to do your work and i look forward to your recommendations as to what you want to achieve, how you want to achieve it, and what could be done to achieve those goals. finally, it is important to achieve this in order to that we have continued success in job creation and economic growth. that has to be a part of it. let me close by saying the challenge is before us. over the past three years we have honored the trust of the people of arkansas that they have placed in us, but we cannot rest until there is equal opportunity for success. whether you live in digir don o granite, whether you were born in texarkana or tar ras zan. there is much to celebrate, but
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we are not yelt finished. i grew up loving the spavinaw creek that flowed through our farm. and the hills that surrounded us. to me, that was arkansas. and i loved it. but as life moved on, i fell in love with the rich delta, the timberland in the south, the duck hunting in the parts of the state, and i discovered more of our broad history and the diversity of culture that we have and the breadth of our economy that keeps us strong. yes, today, we have much to be thankful for. today i recognize the amazing opportunity that is before us. that opportunity is arkansas. let's not let her down. thank you. god bless your efforts, god bless arkansas. [ applause ] wednesday morning we're live
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in phoenix, arizona, for the next stop on the c-span bus 50 capitals tour. michelle reagan will be our guest on the bus start algt 9:30 eastern. our podcast c-span's the weekly takes you beyond the headlines to explain in depth one significant news story that's shaping the conversation in washington and around the country. you'll hear from leading journalists, policymakers and experts providing background and context. find c-span's the weekly on the free c-span radio app as well as itunes, stitcher, and google play and online anytime at next, labor secretary alex acosta talks about the state of the economy under the trump administration and changes in the workforce. this was part of the


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