Arkansas Economy

On this Week-In-Review, we put Arkansas's congressional delegation in the spotlight as Trump ignores the state's agricultural interests on his newly announced Cuba policies. Also, Sen. Tom Cotton dismisses Russia collusion and  Sen. Boozman is short on healthcare specifics.

-Elections were held throughout Arkansas this week: Pulaski County votes to send more money to schools; Pine Bluff takes a stab at revitalization; and Helena-West Helena makes an effort to pare down its sprawling city council.

Sun Paper
Arkansas Governor's Office

Construction is expected to begin in March 2018 for a planned $1 billion pulp mill in south Arkansas.

Members of the Clark County Quorum Court were updated this week on the plans for the pulp mill, which will be built in Arkadelphia.

Amazon is attempting to lure low-income shoppers from Walmart by offering a discount on its pay-by-month Prime membership for people who receive government assistance.

The giant online retailer said in a statement Tuesday that people who have a valid electronic benefits transfer card — used for programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs, or food stamps — will pay $5.99 per month for a year. Amazon is offering a 30-day free trial for qualifying customers.

Episode 775: The Pigweed Killer

Jun 2, 2017

The border of Arkansas and Missouri is a land of open skies and long stretches of farmland. It's also the scene for a fight against a weed – specifically the pigweed, which will overwhelm a crop in a season.

Caddo River Forest Products sawmill Glenwood
Arkansas Business

A ceremony Thursday afternoon will mark the reopening of a sawmill in the southwest Arkansas city of Glenwood.

Caddo River Forest Products announced a year ago it would invest $50 million in the facility, which had been impacted by the economic recession and ultimately closed in 2010.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman and other officials are expected to speak during the 3 p.m. event. The company says 130 jobs will be created at the sawmill, along with 300 indirect jobs.

Delta Regional Authority Chairman Chris Masingill and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Funding for the Delta Regional Authority would be eliminated under President Trump’s first budget request to Congress. The federal agency is set up to help encourage and coordinate economic development in eight states, including Arkansas, tied to the beleaguered Mississippi River Delta region.

Arkansas finance officials say the state's revenue in February beat expectations, and the governor says the numbers reduce the likelihood of the budget cuts that he had told agencies were possible.

The state Department of Finance and Administration on Thursday said net available revenue last month totaled $276.7 million. That's $3.2 million below February 2016, but $40.9 million above forecast.

The state's net revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 totals $3.4 billion, which is $19 million above the same point last year and $15 million below forecast.

The folks based out of Springdale have been selling the meats. Talk Business & Politics reports Tyson Foods on Monday announced record fiscal first quarter net income of $594 million, up almost 29% compared to the same period in the previous fiscal quarter thanks to big gains in the beef and pork segments.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he's asking several agencies to make contingency plans for potential budget cuts after finance officials announced the state's net revenue had fallen $57 million below forecast.

The Republican governor told reporters Thursday he's asking for the plans as he watches the state's revenue over the next couple months and will decide by March whether to make any adjustments. Hutchinson said the agencies he's asking for plans from include the departments of Human Services, Education and Correction.

Arkansas state revenue fell short of projections for the month of January, bringing collections to $57.1 million below forecast for the first seven months of the fiscal year.

The Department of Finance and Administration says state net revenue came in 8.1 percent below forecast last month. January individual income tax collections came in about $26.8 million below forecast, with sales and corporate income taxes also falling slightly below projections.

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