PRESS RELEASE: State’s Budget Fails To Meet Real Needs Of Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK – The budget proposed by Governor Asa Hutchinson to the Arkansas Legislature on Monday fails to meet the needs of Arkansas. The proposed budget does not include any significant funding for economic development for rural Arkansas, for building an excellent education system, or for building infrastructure such as bridges and broadband Internet that all communities must have to move forward.

“Arkansas has opportunities at our feet if we’re willing to take them, if we’re willing to invest in our state and the future of our families. But the budget presented by Gov. Hutchinson and backed by the Republicans in the Legislature, unfortunately is not based on the real needs of this state. Arkansas’s real needs include economic development for rural Arkansas, bringing in broadband Internet, making bridges safe for the next 25 years, and doing something to move the needle on education past adequacy towards excellence,” said DPA Chair Grant Tennille.

“Instead, this budget is focused on two things: short-term, temporary boosts to law enforcement and a massive investment in a new prison. We support law enforcement by providing good salaries, not with bandaid bonuses. We keep our families safe by addressing the real needs of our communities. Building bigger jails doesn’t make us safer. We should focus on locking up the people who make us afraid, not the people we’re mad at.”

Arkansas has an incarceration rate of 942 per 100,000 people (including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities), meaning that it locks up a higher percentage of its people than any democracy on earth. The state led the region in growth in jail admissions over a decade period in a recent report, rising by 80 percent. Read more.

Februrary 14, 2022