Arkansas Economy

Big River Steel
4:37 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

State Economic Dev. Director Says Big River Steel Isn't Without Risk

An Arkansas House Committee passed a proposal Wednesday to offer $125 million to a steel company to locate in the state.

The House Agriculture and Economic Development Commission advanced on a voice vote a bill that would give the state the authority to use state money for economic development to provide infrastructure, training and tax credits for Big River Steel, which would be located in Osceola.

State Economic Development Director Grant Tennille told lawmakers the plan isn’t without risk, but whether it fails or not, would be an economic benefit to the state.

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Arkansas Revenue
11:44 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Arkansas Revenue Down In March Compared To 2012

Arkansas revenues in March of this year dropped below last year’s figures. However, individual income tax refunds were up last month at $10.1 million and that’s $5.4 million above forecast.

John Shelnutt, an economist with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, says income tax refunds are finally catching up after being low in January and February. He says figures aren’t where they were in 2012, but that should even out in April.

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Equal Pay In Arkansas
7:15 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Report Shows Wage Gap Between Men And Women Narrows In Arkansas

Democratic lawmakers, led by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Md.), center, spoke about the Paycheck Fairness Act during a Capitol Hill news conference in late May 2012.
Credit Chip Somodevilla

Many women in Arkansas and across the country still do not receive equal pay for equal work. In some instances, the gender pay gap is even noticeable when men and women do the same job at the same company.

National Equal Pay Day is April 9th and organizers say it’s an opportunity to raise awareness about the wage disparities that still persist in the nation.

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Arkansas Economic Growth
6:45 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Survey Shows Economic Growth In Arkansas And Other Nearby States

Survey shows economic growth in Arkansas and eight other Midwest and Plains states.

A monthly economic survey index for Arkansas and eight other Midwest and Plains states jumped last month, suggesting improving economic growth for the region over the next three to six months. 

The Mid-America Business Conditions index hit 58.2 in March, compared with 53.1 in February and 53.2 in January. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he credits the index jump to "the strongest new-orders growth in two years."

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Public Hearings
4:00 pm
Sun March 31, 2013

Officials Want Public To Give Opinions On How To Best Allocate $26 Million Funds

In the upcoming fiscal year, Arkansas will receive about $26 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Officials with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission say they want public’s opinions on how to best allocate the funds.

Spokesman Scott Harding says they are holding public hearings.

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State Unemployment Rate
10:33 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Arkansas Unemployment Rate Stays At 7.2 Percent In February

Officials with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services reported Friday that the unemployment rate in the state remained unchanged during the month of February. 

Agency Spokeswoman Kimberly Friedman says labor statistics show unemployment held steady at 7.2 percent , while the national jobless rate dropped from 7.9 percent in January to 7.7 percent in February.

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Tax Cuts
9:11 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Arkansas Senate President Hopes Deal Soon On Tax Cuts

Arkansas Senate President Michael Lamoureux says he hopes to reach agreement by the end of the week with Gov. Mike Beebe and House leaders on a tax cut package.

Lamoureux told reporters Wednesday that legislative leaders are still discussing what would be in that tax cut agreement - but he hoped to have a deal soon. House Speaker Davy Carter has called on lawmakers to approve $150 million in tax cuts, while Lamoureux has said he thinks $100 million in cuts is more likely.

Local & Regional News
11:43 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Big River Steel CEO Hopes For Fall Groundbreaking

The developer behind a planned $1.1 billion steel mill in northeast Arkansas says he hopes to break  ground on the project this fall if everything goes as planned.

The Legislature still needs to approve $125 million in state financing for the proposed Big River Steel mill to be built near Osceola.

Developer John Correnti spoke Tuesday with Mississippi County officials regarding the project.

According to the Courier News, Correnti says he hopes to have a construction and operating permit by the end of April.

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Local & Regional News
5:20 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Each Arkansas Chamber To Work Toward $50M-$60M In Cuts


Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter says the House and Senate are working to develop between $50 million and $60 million in tax cuts in each chamber.

The House on Monday passed the first of its proposed tax reductions, one that would benefit poultry and catfish producers. Carter, a Republican from Cabot, says there are still no specifics available on what state spending will be cut.

Carter says the spending cuts have to be considered in light of Gov. Mike Beebe's proposed budget and potential future spending needs.

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Lawmakers Promote Aerospace And Aviation
3:49 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

State Senator Hutchinson Promotes Aerospace Industry Which Brings About 9,000 Jobs


A bi-partisan group of state lawmakers wants to do more to promote the aviation industry in Arkansas.

Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson of Little Rock announced Monday the formation of the Aerospace and Aviation Caucus in Arkansas.

He notes that it’s the second largest industry in the state.

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