Roby Brock / Talk Business & Politics

Roby Brock is the Editor-in-Chief and Host of Talk Business & Politics.

He can be reached by e-mail at: Roby@TalkBusiness.net.

Follow him on Twitter: @RobyBrock.

Scott Bennett Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Director
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s proposal to raise about $50 million in order to qualify for nearly $200 million in federal funds has the support of Arkansas highway officials, but they aren’t ruling out supporting other proposals.

jobs unemployment employment
www.purdue.edu

Arkansas Economic Development Commission executive director Mike Preston has been on the job for a little more than one year. This past week, his agency and the state landed one of the biggest investments in Arkansas history and peppered that success with a number of other job announcements.

The $1.3 billion Sun Paper Co. mill that will locate in Clark County will ultimately result in 250 new jobs averaging about $52,000 annually. The project has been in the works for several years, but final negotiations last weekend sealed the deal for Arkansas.

File photo: Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking to reporters at the Capitol
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the 75% threshold to pass appropriations bills is too high, traditional Medicaid reform will likely wait until 2017, a highway special session could include other non-controversial topics, and the decision to replace Baker Kurrus as Little Rock School District superintendent will not be reversed.

Senate President Jonathan Dismang and Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam say initial responses to the governor’s health care reforms and newly submitted budget may lead to tweaks versus radical changes.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Gillam, R-Judsonia, and Dismang, R-Searcy, said they are waiting on language from the governor’s office for legislation to be drafted, but expect “no mysteries” after a year’s worth of task force debate.

Ted Cruz
Talk Business & Politics

Texas Senator Ted Cruz said the GOP Presidential field might well be a two-man race between Donald Trump and himself after Tuesday’s SEC primaries and that contender Marco Rubio should consider leaving the race if he doesn’t win a state in the upcoming 12-state primary.

Cruz, who is in Arkansas campaigning in central and Northwest Arkansas this weekend, says he’s a “proven conservative” whose policies will best contrast with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the fall.

Ted Cruz Donald Trump
Carolyn Kaster/AP/npr.org

The Presidential campaign continues to stir activity across Arkansas with less than a week before the primary election. On the heels of Marco Rubio's visit to Little Rock Sunday, Donald Trump, who has been to the state twice for events, plans to speak at noon on Saturday at the regional airport in Bentonville. Ted Cruz, whose campaign says he has been here five times, is expected to attend church in Northwest Arkansas, then attend a rally in central Arkansas.

THE ANTI-TRUMP EFFORT

Bruce Westerman
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, says the Fourth Congressional District could benefit greatly from increased trade with Taiwan. He also says he may walk into the voting booth for the primary election with his mind not made up on a Presidential pick.

Westerman, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, said Taiwan is Arkansas’ 6th largest trading partner, but agriculture and timber opportunities could boost trade.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Incumbent U.S. Sen. John Boozman. R-Ark., has a commanding 45-point lead over his Republican challenger Curtis Coleman, while Democratic voters are positive – but still undecided – on their attitudes toward Senate challenger Conner Eldridge.

New polling from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College indicates that Boozman will easily win his party’s nomination in the upcoming March 1 primary.

Q: There are two Republican candidates for U.S. Senate: Curtis Coleman and Senator John Boozman. If the election were today, for whom would you vote?

With about three weeks until Arkansas’ March 1 primary, Presidential contender Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead over Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders, and Ted Cruz has a slight lead in a crowded GOP field.

Talk Business & Politics

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said his highway funding plan will work without raising taxes by finding government efficiencies and continuing with the state’s Medicaid expansion. Without those planks, Hutchinson says tax increases will enter the debate.

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