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tv   Arkansas State of the State Address  CSPAN  February 23, 2018 6:58pm-7:29pm EST

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[inaudible conversations]
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governor you are recognized. >> thank you mr. speaker and mr. lieutenant governor and chief justice, associate justices of the arkansas supreme court, constitutional officers that are here and distinguish member of the arkansas general assembly. this is an occasion in which we can gather together of the elected officials to reflect to where we are in arkansas and talk about our successes, our challenges and what we need to do and where we have been. first, let me express to the speaker my condolences for the loss of his father dennis this last week. mr. speaker our prayers are with you and your family. also i want to recognize in
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this audience the loss of senator standridge. just being here makes me smile and think of his calm demeanor and words of encouragement. . . . . they began every class by saying a moment of radio and on we go. that is not a bad framework for the state of the state address today. three years ago i spoke in this
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chamber and i spoke about a new day in arkansas. i envision a time of sustained economic growth that benefited not a few but everyone, that everyone shared in and guess what? arkansas is growing and we are competing in the national and global stage. and we can compete because we lowered taxes we made government more efficient, we have reduced regulations and we are leading the nation in computer science education. and so while we have much more to do i stand before you today grateful for the partnership that has been demonstrated in this room with all of those that love arkansas. i am pleased to advise the general assembly today that the state of our state is stronger than ever before. [applause]
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not only are we stronger now than ever before but our future has never been brighter. let's consider for a moment in 2017 last year we taught 3 million residents for the person. our economy is booming and when i took office in the unappointed rate was 5.6% and now it is at 3.7%. last year arkansas was one of only three states to achieve both record low unemployment while also improving wages by a growth rate of more than 3%. not only did our economy grow faster than a free force of the state but today more people are working now than ever before. [applause]
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part of the reason for this growth is that we signed more than 300 agreements with arkansas companies to expand or new industry to locate in this state. from six hour in the jacksonville to [inaudible] in for city, to [inaudible] in a fayetteville and from simmons foods an existing arkansas company to fmh conveyor in jonesboro all of those arkansas companies out-of-state companies benefited from the competition that we offered and said we don't want to lose you to another state we want to keep you here in arkansas and we want to expand. i recruited efforts that brought in $7 billion in investments and created more than 11000 jobs in
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arkansas. overall we've created 60000 jobs in the last three years and yes, you are right, the credit goes, not just to the agreements we have signed but the incredible brewers in our state that take risk, invest capital and create jobs in growth. arkansain arkansas, agriculturee leader. from cuba to china to the white house continue to push for open, global markets and to be an advocate for arkansas agriculture. why? because we are great producers and reproduce more than we consume and we need to have a larger universe of consumers for our commodities and our livestock. we, in arkansas, produced for the world and the world needs to understand those markets need to be open for us. and yet, tax cuts have been important also as part of our success. we change the course of history
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by reducing our income tax burden by more than $150 million this year. [applause] we also signed into law the exemption for veterans retirement pay and we are seeing the results. colonel mike kirby, a native of iowa, retired after 26 years in the air force and moved to arkansas to start a business because of our commitment to the military and this block. adam and brittany, originally from texas decided to remain in arkansas after adam retires from the air force because we passed act 41 giving that income tax exemption for military retirees.
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[applause] i want to thank the bill sponsors representative charlene and jane english for their leadership on this important legislation and all of your support to make that happen. not only is it agriculture but tourism attracting people to our state like never before when people see arkansas they want to stay in arkansas and invest here. that is an attraction for us that we need to build upon. let me pause for a moment to thank those who are serving in the arkansas national guard. this last year we have seen deployments overseas and disasters at home in the arkansas national guard is ready to serve. in 2017 we had nearly 2000 soldiers and airmen in iraq, afghanistan, kuwait, djibouti,
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kosovo and central america. that is service. in addition we had more than 1100 guard members deployed to houston, the virgin islands and puerto rico in the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes that hit the united states. general market barry, i've asked him to be here, general barry, would you stand representing the arkansas national guard and be recognized. [applause] [applause] and so many of these veterans that stay in arkansas, some want
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to start a business and whether it's a veteran or anyone who wants to go into business in arkansas or enter a trade or profession our state should be helpful and not a hindrance. that is why we have formed a working group to focus on reducing regulatory hurdles that prevents people from pursuing their dreams. later this week i expect to join with the legislator in announcing the names for this working group that will present legislation for the 92nd general assembly for your consideration. of course when you talk about prosperity foundational prosperity is education. today we have more than 6000 students taking computer science in our high schools. a four 100% increase since we started this initiative three years ago. we need to stay the course for computer science education in
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arkansas and we need to stay on the forefront. it is a pain dividends for our state. when it comes to education nothing is more important than reading. our reading initiative for student excellence or called rise focuses on a phonics, creating a culture of reading in our community and schools, and individualize plans for success when a student falls behind. we want our students reading at grade level because that is the foundation for everything that is learned. am delighted to announce that more than 350 schools are participating in the rise initiative. in terms of higher education we have the no limits campaign in which we encourage our students to take the act as many times as they can with the first test free of charge. better scores will increase opportunities for scholarships
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and financial aid. i hope that our communities will help foot the bill for additional tests when the state pays for the first one, they might need help taking additional ones. when it comes to higher education we also have to mention the productivity funding formula in which we will fund our tenet public universities and 22 trinity college based upon student progression and not just student enrollment. it's about our arkansas futures grant that assures a student that if you go into a high need field of study then two years of college for training will be covered and paid for by the state. we want to make sure they are comfortable in securing at least
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two years of pay for education in terms of tuition and cost. and yes, it is important that we apply this to nontraditional students, as well. everybody can benefit from that opportunity. it provides a mentor in two years that they will be staying in arkansas to work after they finish. many of you have advocated for funding for pre- k. it has been increased in the last few years thanks to your leadership and advocacy and that is an important part of improving education in arkansas. [applause] there is an important principle to follow and that is a growing economy and improved job skill training should benefit everyone even those who have fallen on challenging times and need assistance. we have witnessed that in arkansas and now there are fewer arkansans in medicaid than three
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years ago and snap recipients are the lowest in nine years and last year alone we reduced medicaid rolls by 117,000 and it actually broke down along fairly even lines that 58000 were reduced from the traditional medicaid rolls and 58000 approximately were reduced from arkansas works. that is because we have improved our systems and our efficiencies and they had moved on to work for higher income and this is a good thing for the state of arkansas. [applause] i recently learned of a 28 -year-old expecting mother from independence county who develops a number of health issues during her pregnancy that prevented her from working. as a result, she relied upon
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traditional medicaid to pay for her treatments. after the birth of her child she transitioned to arkansas works program in august of last year but complications from her pregnancy left her still unable to work and in need of multiple surgeries. today i am happy to report that she is healthy, she is a full-time job and she has moved off of medicaid and assistance altogether. [applause] as for the future of medicaid we are asking washington for more flexibility. i am hopeful that before this session is concluded we will have a waiver in hand that gives us a work requirement for arkansas works. we are all watching the cost, i know, in the most effective cost
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control is helping people be trained and to earn their way off. while our work requirement will be one of the most stringent in the country it is not designed to be punitive but to increase training and opportunities for employment. that is the design and that is what we believe can happen. we want to work and we know there is dignity and reward that comes with working and the privilege of providing for your family and a good example of our commitment to help those in need is the progress that we've made on the developmentally disabled waiting list. last year we applied $8 million to move 500 deserving people off the waitlist. it had been nearly a decade since we had last made progress. i met last year 19 -year-old
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reagan who is one of those receiving help for the first time and she was on the list for eight years. with in-home assistance she's achieving a measure of independence her parents weren't equipped to teach and i appreciate the partnership of those in the general assembly as we continue to look for ways to reduce that waitlist even more. from addressing the developmentally disabled list to addressing the foster care crisis in which you devoted more than $24 million to increase the number of caseworkers and to provide the proper care for our foster children in the state we have been engaged in solving challenges and problems and yes, we work together even to give doctor his own special day in history to remember. [applause]
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your work matters and it makes a difference in the lives of people and in the lives of arkansans. we are working on addressing challenges even outside of this fiscal session and yes we need to have a fair reimbursement rate for our pharmacist and we need to have -- [applause] we need to have rule broadband access in our rural areas of the state and we need -- [applause] and we need to continue to address the challenge of opioid abuse that is killing our young people in the state. [applause] we have lost 16000 american
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lives annually because of opioid abuse and the fact we are making arkansas and narcan available that we are making prescription drug monitoring program mandatory we are increasing awareness and this makes the difference and we need to continue to make that progress in fighting that challenge. and now let's move to work in the fiscal session. while the session is a straightforward that is before you the opportunities are significant and i have presented a balance budget to you and i wanted to highlight a few parts. first of all, the budget that i have presented fully funds education and it reduces the growth of medicaid spending, it has real spending cuts in a number of agencies through efficiencies and it increases funding for public safety and produces our historic habit of using one-time funds for ongoing
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needs, not perfect, but we are making progress. the result is a net reduction overall spending and as compared to the budget presented last year and most importantly projected surplus of $64 million. if you look at medicaid specifically i want to complement health care task force for the work that your body did in looking at ways to transform medicaid to achieve savings and we have set a goal over five years as a reduction in overall medicaid spending. we are now on target to meet those goals. thank you for your work and leadership. in the budget the remaining growth of medicaid spending is
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the result of a change in federal match. there are switches to an improving economy and we have to pick up a little more percentage of the cost. there is an limitation that has been rolled into of the budget and then we have medical inflation where it nationally runs at about 5% but we're produce that race [inaudible] that is transformation that is progress. it is important to remember that our transformation efforts are not just necessary for the budget of arkansas but whenever we save introduce the medicaid spending then we say federal dollars and in this budget year the cause of the savings of reducing federal spending by nearly half a billion dollars. this is a strong budget and in
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terms of public safety to ensure continued progress with our reentry program and supervision. currently the committee corrections is 1332 employees in the budget provides 1455. that is room to increase the personnel by more than 120 positions and yes, there is always more to do. there is always challenges there that we will continue to monitor but we have increased the funding. we have increased the budget for stabilization unit that will help us address the mental challenges that so many face and whenever they run into law enforcement and law enforcement
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has been trained to identify a mental health issue they can be diverted from the county jails and whateve put into a crisis cr that we have four or five pilots being funded so they can get temporary stabilization assistance and referred to more long-term care. it is important that we fund that crisis intervention training in the crisis stabilization unit. it will alleviate the burden on our county jails in our prisons. [applause] the first one is scheduled to open at the open at this month and they will continue to roll out. other highlights include $3 million as a line item for police vehicles. traditionally we have taking one-time funding and we put it
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in as a line item in a provides for continued support for our child welfare caseworkers and this is the right budget for arkansas because it is conservative in spending and increases our savings and invest in the future of our state. the savings of over $64 million are split. $16 million under the budget is set aside for highways which is the 25% of the surplus and that is much-needed and important. $48 million and i ask you to put into unrestricted reserve fund that cannot be touched without the concurrence of the legislator. that is set aside for the future. 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 his work in taking on this enormous challenge for the work you have done has already served to
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educate the legislators and the general public as to how we need to have a more competitive tax structure in arkansas that is more fair and more simple and the reform is necessary. i applaud your work. i have been asked of what are your priorities and i want the task force to 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 and i went there as i like to do to sell arkansas. i met with business leaders and i met with industry saying arkansas is a good place to do business and expand here and put your business here. i also took advantage of the opportunity to go to media outlets and talk about arkansas
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and one of those was "the wall street journal" editorial board. 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 and i said, well, it's 6.9% and they looked at me and responded that is worse than connecticut. that story illustrates the competitive nature of taxes in a mobile society. businesses can relocate, individuals can relocate but the true motivation for tax reform is to do the best for the people of arkansas. today i am 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%.
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[applause] this needs to be done in the 2019 session but we will be working on it this year to set the stage for that and how do we do this? 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 approach it in a way that did not jeopardize the essential services of our state and they said it couldn't be done, we did it. we also have an additional advantage now and that is that our transformation efforts to reduce unnecessary spending is in full gear. we have our transformation
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office and we have our teams on transformation and they will continue to work to look at savings that we can create within the state government without diminishing services. in then most importantly we will be the recommendations of the task force that is representing this body and i want to support you and 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 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.
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but we cannot rest until there is equal opportunity for success whether you live in [inaudible] or [inaudible], whether you were born in [inaudible] or [inaudible]. yes, there is much in arkansas to celebrate but we are not yet finished. i grew up loving the stepanov creek that flowed through our farm and the hills that surrounded us. to me that was arkansas and i loved it. but as life with don i fell in love with the rich delta, the temple and in the south, the duck hunting in the parts of the state and i discovered more of our broad history in the diversity of culture that we have in 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 and that opportunity is arkansas
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trade let's not let her down. thank you. god bless your efforts. god bless arkansas. [applause] >> and now another state of the state address with illinois governor, bruce. he discusses the term limits antifreeze on property taxes and his pledge four of pledge to balance the budget. this is held in springfield and it is a half hour. >> good afternoon. president, speaker, leader, leader, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary, counselor, treasurer, members of


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