Roby Brock / Talk Business & Politics

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

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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.

State Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe and Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Director Cheryl Gardner say two numbers and federal flexibility will dictate reforms to Arkansas’ health care future: 1332 and 1115.

Mike Preston
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Fresh off his 8-day trip to Japan and China, AEDC executive director Mike Preston said the announcement of a $1.36 billion agreement with Sun Paper Co. will not likely result in the need for a legislative “superproject” special session.

“I think we have a very aggressive incentive package on the table,” Preston said. “There’s still some negotiations to go, but I don’t think we’ll have to go to the legislature.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) has signed a “letter of intent on investment cooperation” with Chinese-based Shandong Sun Paper Industry Joint Stock Co. to pursue a $1.3 billion pulp mill to be located in south Arkansas.

In attendance at the signing ceremony were U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Gov. Hutchinson, Chairman and Founder of Sun Paper Co. Hongxin Li, Arkansas Economic Development Director Mike Preston, and U.S. Consulate General Charles Bennett.

French Hill
Talk Business & Politics

Second District Congressman French Hill said the void in House leadership from the unexpected departure of Speaker John Boehner could be filled by an existing GOP committee chairman.

A week after Boehner announced his sudden departure, heir-apparent Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abandoned his bid for House Speaker leaving D.C. observers wondering who might be the next Congressional leader.

Governor asa hutchinson talk business & politics
Talk Business & Politics

Gov. Asa Hutchinson reflected on his recent trade trip to Cuba, takeaways from a major health reform report released this week, and criteria for replacing departing Human Services director John Selig.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics with Roby Brock, Hutchinson said he’ll turn first to the private business sector to replace Selig, who announced he’d leave the top Department of Human Services post by the end of this year.

Fresh from returning from a Cuban trade mission with Gov. Asa Hutchinson, lawmakers, agricultural leaders, and other state business and political advisors, Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward shared his thoughts on the trip.

While the Arkansas delegation didn’t find Cuba stocked with Fortune 500 business leaders, Ward said “it wasn’t abject poverty like some might assume.”

Governor's Working Group on Highway Funding
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Governor’s Working Group on Highways has been meeting for months to discuss possible solutions for short-term, medium-range and long-term funding goals to maintain and repair Arkansas highways. 

Currently, the task force is focused on short-term funding and is seeking to come up with approximately $110 million in new annual revenues for roads.

Andy Davis
Talk Business & Politics

Highway funding has been more than a speed bump for policymakers to find a way to increase revenue while gas tax collections sputter and inflation keeps raising the price of construction. A governor’s task force is working on potential recommendations to try something new and it will meet again on Thursday to discuss options.