Accomplishments


ARKANSAS' LARGEST TAX CUT
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Since 2015, the Hutchinson Administration has led the effort to pass legislation providing a total of more than $150 million income tax relief to 1.3 million Arkansans.

2015: $102 Million Cut (Largest in Arkansas History):

  • In 2015, Governor Hutchinson fulfilled his top campaign promise by signing the Middle Class Income Tax Cut of $102M, the largest cut to the income tax rate in Arkansas history.
  • This tax cut returned as much as $540 annually to nearly 500,000 taxpayers.

2017: $50 Million Cut (Second Largest in Arkansas History):

In 2017, Governor Hutchinson signed the second largest cut to the income tax rate in Arkansas history—$50M. This cut targeted low-income Arkansans.

  • Removed approximately 120,000 taxpayers from the rolls.

2017: $13 Million Retired Military Tax Cut:

In 2017, the Governor signed legislation eliminating the income tax on military retirement pay, known as the Retired Military Tax Cut.

  • It will go into effect starting January 2018.
  • Creating tax relief for military retirees will make Arkansas a more military-friendly retirement destination and improve the economy by encouraging veterans to start their second careers or open a business in Arkansas.

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CONSERVATIVE BUDGETING
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Governor Hutchinson has balanced the budget, avoided debt, consolidated agencies, cut overhead and administrative expenses and—what's more—he laid the groundwork for deeper cuts and stronger efficiencies in the future.

Even though there have been many successes for this administration over the last 36 months, Governor Hutchinson is confident that the best is yet to come—including future tax cuts and reform.

2015 - Hiring Freeze:

Governor Hutchinson's first act on his first day in office was to institute a hiring freeze so that the state could be more efficient and prudent in how it staffed state government.

As a result, the state has saved millions of dollars in salaries and removed hundreds of state government positions from the state payroll, through attrition.

2015 - Consolidations:

In 2015, the General Assembly passed Governor Hutchinson's initiative to consolidate certain agencies, saving taxpayer dollars and creating more efficiencies in order to better provide services to Arkansans. Those consolidations included:

  • Arkansas Department of Rural Services to Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
  • Arkansas Science and Technology Authority to Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
  • Division of Land Survey to Arkansas Geographic Information Office.
  • Arkansas Building Authority to Department of Finance and Administration – Management Services.

These consolidations alone created $2 million in annual savings (more than $10 million over the next 5 years).

All of this has been done while maintaining the same vital services that he inherited from the previous administration.

2017 - Consolidations:

In 2017, the General Assembly passed Governor Hutchinson's initiative to consolidate certain agencies, saving taxpayer dollars and creating more efficiencies in order to better provide services to Arkansans. Those consolidations included, among others:

  • Office of Energy to Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality - Act 271
  • Office of Health Information Technology to Department of Health - Act 270
  • War Memorial Stadium Commission to Department Parks and Tourism - Act 269

Additional consolidations and efforts to shrink government included a bill that eliminated 19 boards and commissions deemed unnecessary, while reducing others. One example was the Detention Facility Review Board, which had the number of districts reduced from 28 to eight and the number of commissioners from 144 to 40.

Cut a majority of agencies' budgets by 1% and has kept them flat through FY19.

Prioritized surplus dollars to meet the federal match obligation for highway funding through the Arkansas Highway Improvement Plan of 2016.

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EDUCATION ACCOMPLISHMENTS
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2015 – Computer Science Initiative:

In 2015, Arkansas became the first state to pass comprehensive legislation requiring computer science courses be taught in every public high school.

  • The Governor provided $2.5 million a year to train teachers and support computer science education.
  • This law allows computer science to count towards a graduation credit, in lieu of a math or science credit.

To date, Arkansas has trained hundreds of teachers across the state in computer science instruction, and we're not finished yet.

  • For schools in the midst of training computer science teachers, those students are able to participate in computer coding classes through online courses made available through Virtual Arkansas.
  • Virtual Arkansas was made available at no cost to the districts.

To date, 6,184 high school students are enrolled in computer science classes for the 2017-2018 school year. That's up from just over a thousand in 2014.

  • 12% increase since 2016/2017 school year.
  • Minority students have increased each year, since 2015.

In 2016, Arkansas led the nation again when the state's Department of Education developed new K-8 computer science standards.

  • These were reviewed and approved by the Arkansas Board of Education in January 2016, making Arkansas the only state in the country to introduce coding concepts to students in grades K-8.

Arkansas is the only state in the country to have met all 9 policy standards set by Code.org.

Governor Hutchinson's leadership on computer science education has garnered the state national recognition, from the White House to national media outlets and tech companies, including:

www.ARTechJobs.com

  • Education is just part of the equation. Governor Hutchinson has also been tirelessly working to bring tech jobs into Arkansas and connect students with these opportunities.
  • In August of 2017, Governor Hutchinson launched a first-of-its-kind website focusing on tech specific job openings called www.ARTechJobs.com.

2017 – 100% Broadband Connectivity:

In July 2017, Governor Hutchinson announced the completion of the Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN), the high-speed broadband upgrade for 100% of the state's K-12 school systems.

  • Reaches 293 public schools, charter schools and education-service cooperatives statewide.

With the project's completion, Arkansas became only the sixth state to achieve at least 100 kilobits per second (kbps) per student.

  • Arkansas actually doubled that figure, meaning Arkansas students will now have access to a minimum of 200 kbps per student.
  • Delivers internet speed 40 times faster than the previous network.

2017 – Cyber Range Announcement:

In October 2017, Governor Hutchinson announced that a $500K grant from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education will be provided to the University of Central Arkansas to help pay for a fully functional dedicated cyber range for educational training—a first-of-its-kind operation.

This represents the next step in the Governor's computer science initiative and will keep Arkansas as a national leader in technology education.

A cyber range is a dedicated computer system that can simulate a computer network. Using the cyber range, students will learn how to identify a cyber-attack and defend against it.

A signed MOU between UCA and the Arkansas Education Television Network created a partnership to develop cyber security, coding, computer programming, computer science and other curricula for all Arkansas schools.

The interdisciplinary bachelor's degree in cyber security is expected to begin in fall of 2018.

2017 – ArFuture Grant:

In 2017, Governor Hutchinson signed the ArFuture Grant into law, which provides up to two years of tuition and fees at a publicly funded Arkansas community or technical college to any student who enrolls in a high-demand field of study or STEM field, such as computer science or welding.

This state-funded grant does not require new general revenue funds and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis to traditional, home school and non-traditional students in Arkansas.

2017 – Higher Education Productivity Funding Formula:

In 2017, Governor Hutchinson signed into law a new funding formula for Higher Education institutions.

The new formula is based upon student progress rather than student enrollment.

The formula will increase accountability by taking into account student success and program completion, whereas the previous formula was largely based on student enrollment.

When Governor Hutchinson was elected, he made it a goal for his administration to increase the percentage of Arkansans who attain post-secondary degrees from 40% to 60% by 2025. This funding formula takes the state one step further toward achieving that goal.

2015 – Pre-K Funding:

In his first year in office, Governor Hutchinson appropriated $3M in new funds for Pre-K. Prior to this new appropriation, Pre-K funding in the state had not seen an increase in funding since the program's inception in 2003.

In 2017, Governor Hutchinson committed an additional $3 million a year to improve the quality of pre-kindergarten programs in the Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) program. Governor Hutchinson is recommending new grant programs to improve and reward teacher quality and encourage and enhance innovation.

Currently, Arkansas ranks 12th nationally in the percent of 4 year-olds enrolled in state-funded Pre-K, 3rd in the percent of 3 year-olds enrolled in state-funded Pre-K, and 22nd in the amount of per pupil funding. Additionally, Arkansas' Pre-K program meets 9 out of the 10 benchmarks measuring Quality by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
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Quick Hits

Since January 2015, Governor Hutchinson and the AEDC have signed incentive agreements with 310 new and expanding companies, resulting in:

  • $7 billion in new capital investment in the state
  • 11,700 new jobs
  • More than 60,100 new jobs have been created in Arkansas since January 2015.
  • Arkansas reached record a high employment in August 2017 of 1,329,979.
  • Arkansas reached a record low unemployment of 3.4% in July 2017.
  • The state's current unemployment rate is at 3.6%, down from 5.6% in January 2015.
  • Arkansas has been below the national unemployment rate for 29 consecutive months and at or below 4% for 15 consecutive months.
  • Currently, Arkansas' per capita income is $39,345. That is a 4.7% increase since January 2015.
  • The average hourly wage of Arkansans today is $19.79, a 4% increase since January 2015.
  • As of June 2017, unemployment in Arkansas remains historically low at 3.4%. This is below the national unemployment rate of 4.4%.

On Governor Hutchinson's first full day in office, he made recruiting calls to top executives of six out-of-state companies, as promised.

  • One of those companies, Sig Sauer, later opened a manufacturing facility in Jacksonville creating approximately 50 new jobs

Governor Hutchinson has participated in several trade missions throughout his tenure as governor. Those trade missions include: China, Japan, Cuba, Germany, England, France, Israel and Mexico.

Trade missions have proven to be very fruitful for Arkansas residents.

Ex: China = 2 years → 5 companies → 1,650 jobs → $1.4B investments:

  • Sun Paper (Arkadelphia)
  • 250 new jobs
  • $1B investment
  • Ruyi Technology Group (Forrest City)
  • 800 new jobs – Largest in the Delta's history
  • $410M investment
  • Tianyuan Garment Co. (Little Rock)
  • 400 new jobs
  • $20M investment
  • Pet Won Pet Products (Danville)
  • 70 new jobs
  • Risever Machinery Co. (Jonesboro)
  • 130 new jobs
  • $20M investment

Ex: Cuba → 3-day trip credited with helping to open the market to Arkansas poultry. Arkansas is the second largest chicken-producing state in the U.S.

In 2015, after the Governor's trip the Cuban government ordered 4,500 tons of poultry from Arkansas companies—Tyson Food and Simmons Food

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MAKING ARKANSAS SAFER
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Prison Expansion and Public Safety Plan:

As promised, Governor Hutchinson addressed prison overcrowding and reentry programs through his Prison Expansion and Public Safety Plan in 2015.

This plan included a three-pronged approach to criminal offenses:

  • More prison space
  • A more effective parole and reentry system
  • Investing in alternative and accountable sentencing programs for non-violent offenders

Crisis Stabilization Units:

Act 423, which established the CSU pilot program, was signed into law on March 8, 2017 and was a major part of the Governor's legislative agenda and initiative, passed by the legislature in 2017.

Originally, only three CSUs were to be awarded statewide. However, in August, after a competitive application process, the Governor committed an additional $1.4M million from the state's Rainy Day Fund to support a fourth CSU, in addition to the $5 million already committed to this project.

  • The four counties include: Craighead, Pulaski, Sebastian and Washington.

CSUs have the potential to improve outcomes for people with acute behavioral health conditions and reduce overall system costs to both the state and counties, including the strain on our county jails.

Foster Care/Prison Reentry

Biennial Hope Summit:

In 2015 and 2017, the Governor hosted his Restore Hope Summit in Little Rock with the aim of engaging the faith community across Arkansas in caring for kids in the state foster care system and individuals who are re-entering society from prison.

The governor's call to engage business and faith leaders cuts across differences in religion, politics, and geography, and recognizes that communities offer personal relationships, accountability, and a hope of a greater future.

Foster Care:

Since 2016, the Governor has:

  • Provided $24M to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for more caseworkers and admin staff. This in turn has:
  • Increased our number of caseworkers
  • Reduced the workload for caseworkers from 28:1 to 22:1
  • Reduced number of overdue investigations from 721 to 51
  • Decreased the number of children in foster care
  • Increased the number of foster families from 1,579 in August of 2016 to more than 1,820 today
  • More children are being placed with relatives

Prison Reentry:

Since 2015, the Governor has:

Developed and implemented re-entry programs for inmates re-entering society. That includes:

  • Identifying inmates who are nearing release and teaching them skills they need for a career and connecting them to those job opportunities when they get out.
  • Educating them what to expect when they re-enter society.
  • Helping to procure driver's licenses or a hardship licenses so they can drive to jobs and to see parole officers.

Since 2015, we have increased full-time employment among former inmates:

  • 57% of parolees and probationers are employed full time;
  • 9.17% are employed part-time;
  • Nearly 15% are receiving disability or are retired;
  • Fewer than 1% are in school;
  • Only 18% are totally unemployed, which is a decrease in the last couple of years

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HEALTHCARE REFORM
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Arkansas Works

Governor Hutchinson has long known that Medicaid, including the optional Medicaid expansion for adults under the ACA, is in need of reform. It is too expensive and was growing too fast.

This is why the Governor, his staff and DHS have been working hard to reform the program, including substantive and conservative reforms to the Private Option, now known as Arkansas Works.

Some of those reforms include:

  • Medicaid Transformation initiatives that will result in at least $835 million in savings over the next five years in projected spending.
  • A provider-led model of care for individuals with significant developmental disabilities or behavioral health needs, which will create efficiencies and cost savings while improving care coordination and quality for patients.
  • Amendments to our Arkansas Works waiver, which are currently pending federal approval. Keys changes include:
  • - Lowering income eligibility from 138% FPL to 100% FPL: This change will result in approximately 60,000 fewer Arkansans on the Medicaid rolls, and render those individuals eligible for federal subsidies in the private insurance market, allowing the state to concentrate its limited resources on those who need it most.
  • - Work Requirements: This change will require those 18-49 years of age who are able-bodied with no dependents to work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week to receive coverage under Arkansas Works. Full-time students and those enrolled in worker training would be exempt.

The actions by the Governor and his Administration clearly demonstrate their commitment to getting Medicaid on a sustainable path and they will continue identifying and advancing reforms to achieve that end.

In December of 2017, the Department of Human Services (DHS) announced that it had spent much of 2017 using new technology and access to data to improve the accuracy of the state's Medicaid rolls, resulting in more than 80,000 individuals being removed from the program. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Working with the Department of Work Services to capture unreported employment. That resulted in 16,467 cases being closed.
  • Identifying individuals receiving public benefits from more than one state, which resulted in 25,742 cases being closed.
  • Establishing a process to sort large volumes of returned mail due to bad addresses. That resulted in 26,093 cases being closed because beneficiaries are required to report change of address so that DHS can ensure they remain in state.
  • Identifying those on Medicaid now eligible for Medicare, which resulted in 7,198 cases being closed because Arkansas Works enrollees cannot have both Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Elimination of individuals incarcerated by the Department of Corrections from the rolls because inmates are generally not eligible for Medicaid. That resulted in 4,131 cases being closed. DHS worked with Corrections to create real-time access to incarceration data after the Office of Medicaid Inspector General found that some inmates remained on the Medicaid rolls after they were incarcerated.
  • Working with various carriers to identify those over the federal poverty level limits with coverage through Arkansas Works and the federal marketplace. That resulted in 762 cases being closed.

In addition, DHS also will roll out additional efforts to strengthen Medicaid in 2018, including Electronic Visit Verification, which gives DHS the ability to make sure that aides who are supposed to be providing home health and personal care services to Medicaid beneficiaries are really providing those services.

  • Using an app on their phone, aides will check in when they arrive at the address where they are to provide services.

Progress on the Developmentally Disabled Waitlist

In 2017, the Governor announced a plan to repurpose Tobacco Settlement Funds to decrease the Community and Employment Supports Waiver waitlist (also referred to as the Developmental Disability Waitlist), a list that hasn't seen any movement in nearly a decade.

  • During the previous session, legislators passed Governor Hutchinson's initiative, decreasing the waiting list of nearly 3,000 Arkansans with developmental or intellectual disabilities waiting on in-home care by at least 500.
  • In December of 2017, 201 of the 500 were receiving in-home care for the first time and an additional 299 people are in the process of receiving those services.

Veterans

The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA), under the direction of Governor Hutchinson have:

  • Opened eight District Veteran Services Offices within the past two years, four years ahead of schedule (Fayetteville, Jonesboro, Mountain Home, Fort Smith, Forrest City, Monticello, Russellville, and Hope.)
  • ADVA opened a new veterans home in North Little Rock, which received its first veteran residents in January of 2017.
  • Notified of selection for a $7 million federal grant to expand the NLR Veterans Cemetery.
  • The Fayetteville Veterans Home continues to improve after being recognized for achieving the first milestone (the Challenge Award) in the Governor's Quality Award Program (Baldridge Framework).

This year, Governor Hutchinson proposed the Military Retired Pay Tax Relief initiative to recruit new military retirees to the state by exempting military retirement and survivor benefits from the state income tax. (For more information, see "2017: $13 Million Retired Military Tax Cut" under "Tax Cuts" section.)

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STANDING UP FOR ARKANSAS VALUES
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Eliminating the dual holiday status of MLK-Lee Day:

On March 21, 2017, Governor Hutchinson signed into law Senate Bill 519, eliminating the dual holiday status and concurrent commemoration of General Robert E. Lee and Dr. Martin Luther King.

With his signature, the Dr. King holiday will continue to be celebrated on the third Monday in January, while General Lee's day of recognition will be moved to the second Saturday of October.

Senate Bill 519 will also provide, for the first time in Arkansas, a statewide policy of teaching our children about the Civil War.

In addition, with this bill the state will coordinate instruction about civil rights leaders and Martin Luther King-specific teaching materials with the holiday that bears his name.

Statement on Furthering Second Amendment Rights:

"For Arkansans, the right to bear arms is one of our most cherished values, and I will always defend that right from those who wish to diminish it. It is a constitutional right for self-defense and an important part of our sporting heritage. My record of support for Second Amendment rights speaks for itself, and I am proud of that fact.

"When the Second Amendment was under its greatest attack, following the tragedy in Connecticut, I stood firm and defended the Second Amendment—spending months heading the NRA's National School Shield initiative to find ways to better protect our schools and our children.

"As Governor, Second Amendment rights in Arkansas have been strengthened. Arkansans are able to carry in more places than ever before, and I will continue to fight for your right to keep and bear arms—guaranteed to all of us by the U.S. Constitution."

*** Open Carry (Act 746) *** – Governor Hutchinson believes that the law passed in 2013 by the Arkansas General Assembly is clear: carrying a weapon without the intent to commit a crime is legal. Governor Hutchinson supports open carry.

Standing Up to Washington Bathroom Guidance:

Governor Hutchinson was the first Governor to push back on the U.S. Department of Education's "guidance" to the states on transgender bathrooms, saying at the time:

"The recent letter from the federal government providing guidance to Arkansas schools on gender identification is offensive, intrusive and totally lacking in common sense. There is no recognizable problem in Arkansas on this issue. The federal government is stirring the pot and meddling in the local control and administration of our schools.

"As Governor, I recommend that local school districts disregard the latest attempt at social engineering by the federal government and continue to use common sense to ensure a safe and healthy environment in Arkansas schools. While the letter implies federal money could be withheld, the letter is nothing more than guidance and is not legally binding."

Since that time, the Governor has consistently stated that there is no need for this type of legislation in Arkansas because there are no examples of it being a problem. School Districts are in the best position to handle these instances on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, since taking office, President Trump has rescinded former President Obama's guidance making any proposed legislation unnecessary.

The Governor's stance was supported by a majority of the Arkansas General Assembly.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act (2015):

In 2015, Governor Hutchinson worked with the legislature to sign a religious freedom bill, making Arkansas' religious freedom bill one of the strongest in the nation. In fact, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative organization that is seen as a leader on this effort across the nation, said:

"Government should protect people's freedom to follow their beliefs in their lives and work. We commend the governor's decision to support a law that does this. Government shouldn't be able to punish Americans for exercising basic civil rights. Religious freedom laws ensure that freedom gets a fair hearing, and they limit the government's power to intrude on our liberties. We hope other states join Arkansas and many others in adopting similar laws."

Protecting the Sanctity of Life:

Governor Hutchinson ended the state's Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood in 2015, after videos surfaced revealing unethical practices by Planned Parenthood employees.

2015 Statement: "It is apparent that after the recent revelations on the actions of Planned Parenthood, that this organization does not represent the values of the people of our state and Arkansas is better served by terminating any and all existing contracts with them. This includes their affiliated organization, Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma."

2017 Statement after the most recent ruling by the 8th Circuit: "It is important for the state to have the clear authority to terminate Medicaid providers who act in unethical ways and in violation of state policy," Hutchinson said. "The decision early on to terminate Planned Parenthood as a provider was the right decision, and I am delighted with the decision of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in affirming the right of the State to take this action."

Abortion Bills:

2015 General Session, Governor Hutchinson signed six anti-abortion bills into law.

2017 General Session, Governor Hutchinson signed several more anti-abortion bills into law, including the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act of 2017 (ACT 45)

Governor Hutchinson is the first sitting Governor since 2006 to regularly attend the Arkansas March for Life Rally in Little Rock.

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