Arkansas Economy

Port Authority Board of Directors Chairman Christopher Mathews.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Little Rock Port Authority decided Wednesday it will formally weigh-in on the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma’s attempt to turn 160 acres near the Arkansas River into trust land. That status would exempt it from local and state control and be the first designation of its kind in Arkansas.

Arcbest
Arcbest Corp.

ArcBest Corporation is set to break ground in the company's new corporate headquarters at Chaffee Crossing in Fort Smith.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is to attend the ceremony scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

ArcBest is a freight transportation and logistics company formerly known as Arkansas Best Corporation. Its companies include ABF Freight, ABF Logistics, Panther Premium Logistics, FleetNet America, U-Pack and ArcBest Technologies.

ArcBest President and CEO Judy McReynolds says the new headquarters is expected to result in 975 new jobs in Fort Smith through 2021.

eapdd.com

The growth of the Delta will involve people, businesses and organizations constantly thinking outside the box, the executive director of the East Arkansas Planning and Development District said in a recent Talk Business & Politics interview.

Melissa Rivers, who became the executive director in May 2011, said her group has worked tirelessly on building that opportunity.

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

KAUFFMAN: President Obama is in Panama meeting at the Summit of the Americas and it could pay big dividends for Arkansas rice growers. U.S. Senator John Boozman - a Republican from Rogers – joins me in the studio. Thanks for being here. 

BOOZMAN: Thank you so much for having me Jacob.

KAUFFMAN: The more sensational news coming out of the President’s journey to meet with leaders from South America, Central America and the Caribbean, is that for the first time Cuba will be there. Is this one more signal, in an avalanche that better economic ties are around the corner?

Cuba
Jorge Royan / Wikimedia Commons

Some Arkansas rice growers are looking favorably on President Obama’s plans at the end of this week to interact – in a limited fashion - with Cuba’s leader Raul Castro during the Summit of the Americas in Panama.

The director of the Arkansas Rice Growers Association, Greg Yielding, said Arkansas farmers are losing out on sales with Cuba to countries such as Brazil and Uruguay.

Arkansas Natural Gas Drilling Declines, With Fewest Rigs In Decade

Apr 7, 2015
Natural Gas Drilling Mt. Vernon in Faulkner County
Arkansas Times

Arkansas’ rig count has fallen to levels not seen in nearly a decade as natural gas drillers and oilfield equipment firms continue to cut capital spending as oil and gas prices search for a bottom.

At the same time, Arkansas severance tax collections hit a sudden headwind, falling precipitously by 47.5% from $6.08 million a year ago to nearly $3.19 million in February. State tax revenue for natural gas production also fell nearly 50% from $6.27 million in January, according to tax data compiled by the Revenue Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration.

Delta Regional Authority, ASU To Build Research Group

Apr 7, 2015

The representatives of 35 universities and other private and public institutions in eight states will join with the Delta Regional Authority Thursday to form a consortium for research and innovation that will have a long-term positive economic impact on the region, leaders say.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signing a workforce development bill.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a trio of bills into law on Monday intended to overhaul the state’s workforce development plan. The governor said tailoring education toward filling needs identified by business interests is a “dramatic” and “foundational” change.

wikipedia.org

The historic Delta Queen riverboat is heading for New Orleans for repairs that some hope will make it seaworthy for the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers again.

One significant hurdle remains for the vessel. A congressional exemption to the Safety of Life at Sea Act is necessary because the Delta Queen is a riverboat rather than an oceangoing vessel. A bill allowing the exemption stalled in the Senate last year.

Lee Powell, Executive Director of the Delta Caucus, is optimistic about congressional support this year.

Arkansas' finance office says a drop in sales and individual income tax collections pushed the state's revenue below both last year's figures and expectations in March.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration on Thursday said the state's net available revenue last month totaled $365.2 million, which is $21.3 million below March 2014 and $13.2 million below forecast.

The state's revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 totaled $3.7 billion, which is $81.4 million above forecast.

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