Arkansas Economy

Gretchen Hall
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gretchen Hall, CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, likes the numbers she sees.

Last year, Pulaski County accounted for 13,000 travel-related jobs and 6.1 million visitors who spent nearly $1.8 billion in travel expenditures. That translates into more than $31 million in travel-related local taxes and $69 million in travel-related state taxes.

Why is the capital city so attractive for visitors?

A proposed bill that would do away with the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Death and Permanent Total Disability Trust Fund has support from some legislators and organized labor but not the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, which supports ending the fund, but after more consideration.

Tyson
Tyson Foods

Talk Business and Politics reports:

Before the market opens Monday, Tyson Foods is expected to post $403 million in net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2016 which ended. That equates to a Wall Street consensus of $1.03 per share, up 38% over the 75 cents per share reported in the same quarter of 2015.

The company posted net income of $313 million in the year-ago period.

Arkansas has received $49.6 million in the latest annual payment from the tobacco industry as part of a 1998 settlement of a lawsuit against tobacco companies.
 
State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said Wednesday that the money supports several programs, including tobacco cessation efforts, public health programs for minorities and older Arkansans, increased Medicaid coverage for pregnant women and increased hospital benefits for some Medicaid beneficiaries and for medical and agricultural research.
 

New Hampshire-based SIG SAUER has announced plans to move an ammunition plant to Arkansas from Kentucky.

The company said Wednesday in a news release from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission that its Elite Performance Ammunition plant will move to Jacksonville and create about 50 jobs when it opens by the end of the year. The plant is currently located in Eubank, Kentucky.

Arkansas finance officials say strong individual income tax collections and lower than expected tax refunds kept the state's revenue in April above both the forecast and the same month last year.

The Department of Finance and Administration reported Tuesday that the state's net available revenue in April totaled $661.3 million. That's $37.2 million above April 2015 and $37.1 million above forecast.

The net available revenue for the fiscal year to date totals nearly $4.9 billion, which is $110 million above forecast.

rice fields
Mickey Liaw / Flickr.com

Business growth in Arkansas lost a step in April as a leading economic indicator for the region shows the state’s manufacturing, farming and energy sectors continue to shed jobs and affect overall economic expansion.

Arkansas Capitol building.
Ron Breeding / KUAR News

Legislation outlining Arkansas' $5.3 billion budget for the coming year calls for funding increases for the state's Department of Human Services and public schools, with $13.8 million in money being set aside for the rainy day fund.

Legislative leaders on Sunday released the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the budget bill that calls for a $142.7 million increase in spending. House Speaker Jeremy Gillam says he expects his chamber to take up the legislation on Wednesday with lawmakers hoping to wrap up the fiscal session this week.

www.sunpapergroup.com/

The investment in south Arkansas by one of China's largest private companies, Sun Paper, is considered a win by state economic development officials. However, some have concerns about the implications of the country's manufacturing practices and what it will mean for workers at the new bio-products mill near Arkadelphia. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announcing a $1 billion investment by a Chinese company in a Clark County paper mill.
Arkansas Business

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the Chinese company Sun Paper will build a $1 billion bio-products mill in southern Arkansas, creating 250 jobs. Hutchinson was joined by Sun Paper chairman and founder Hongxin Li in making the announcement Tuesday.

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