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Governor Asa Hutchinson presented his final balanced budget to the Joint Budget Committee:
As Governor Hutchinson’s administration comes to an end, Arkansas is in the strongest financial position in the state’s history with $2.78 billion in reserve funding. This includes:
- The Catastrophic Reserve Fund, established by the Governor and Arkansas General Assembly, has a balance of more than $1.2 billion. ($1,213,014,945.89).
- The General Revenue Allotment Reserve Fund has a balance of $1.3 billion ($1,348,703,780.03).
- The Restricted Reserve Fund has a balance of $224.3 million ($224,326,954.61)
- The Rainy Day Fund has a balance of $782,524.65.
The state built record reserves while also implementing the largest income tax cuts in the state’s history. Arkansas now has more than $2.7 billion in reserve as Arkansans save hundreds of millions of dollars each year as a result of these tax cuts.
Education and Families
Governor Hutchinson’s proposed budget includes a $550 million increase in Education funding over the course of the next two years ($200 million in Fiscal Year 2024 and $350 million in the Fiscal Year 2025).
The budget includes an additional $13.3 million to the Department of Humans Services’ Children and Family Services Division to support and address the need for foster care.
Governor Hutchinson continues his ongoing commitment to education, law enforcement and Arkansas families within this budget.
An increase to Education totaling $200 million in Fiscal Year 2024 along with a $350 million increase in the Fiscal Year 2025 furthers Governor Hutchinson’s proposal to establish a competitive minimum teacher salary
In Higher Education, a total of $4 million has been designated to ensure the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff receives its federal match as a land grant university for the next two fiscal years.
Through Acts 223 and 224, Governor Hutchinson and lawmakers displayed appreciation for law enforcement officers throughout Arkansas earlier this year. The Governor is grateful for lawmakers’ support for stipends and raises for those that protect Arkansans each day.
Thousands of officers on the local and state level received this well-deserved funding.
Going forward, the State Police Budget will increase by $1.5 million for each of the next two years.
As law enforcement officers continue to be a priority, the state must have the facilities and tools to effectively manage inmates and parolees.
As a result, the Governor’s budget will provide the Department of Corrections with an additional $5.4 million in the Fiscal Year 2024 and $7.3 million in the Fiscal year 2025. Additionally, Community Correction will see an increase of $5.5 million for each of the next two years.
From increased bed capacity to drug court funding and additional probation officers, Arkansas is an example of a state that doesn’t simply talk about support for law enforcement and protecting citizens.
Over the last eight years, Governor Hutchinson has worked to support Arkansans serving in the military along with our Veterans. Additionally, the Governor has highlighted the importance of our military installations and worked with the aerospace-defense sector as it has grown significantly.
While Governor Hutchinson and the General Assembly have implemented the largest income tax cuts in the state’s history, they also took steps specifically for the state’s Veterans. Military retirement is no longer taxed at the state level as a result of Act 141 of the 91st General Assembly.
The Department of the Military will receive an increase totaling $4.2 million over the next two years.
DHS Children and Family Services
This budget considers the critical resources needed for a large number of children and families. DHS’ Children and Family Services Division will receive an additional $6.6 million for each of the upcoming fiscal years.
For the full detailed budget click HERE.
Watch the budget presentation HERE.
The Governor’s transcript can be found HERE.
The slideshow used to present the budget can be found HERE.