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Funding

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas lawmaker says she'll drop her push to take up the issue of pharmacy reimbursement during the ongoing fiscal session after the governor assured that her proposal will be considered in a special session.

Sen. Ron Caldwell (R-Wynne) and Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) talking with Roby Brock of Talk Business and Politics
Talk Business and Politics

The fiscal session is underway in Little Rock, and the big issue for consideration is a tax cut proposal for the top earners in the state.  Governor Hutchinson proposed this during his State of the State address last week.  He wants it to go into effect sometime next year.  State Sen. Ron Caldwell (R-Wynne) and state Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) sat down with Roby Brock of Talk Business for a conversation on this proposal.

 


Arkansas State University

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow taxpayers with tax-deductible 529 college savings plans to withdraw funds for tuition at public, private and religious K-12 schools.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas judge has ruled that almost $1 million in state economic development funding must be returned to public reserves.

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters Monday (Feb. 19) he will call lawmakers back to the State Capitol shortly after the ongoing fiscal session to pass legislation to address growing concerns on rising health costs associated with so-called PBMs, or pharmacy benefit managers.

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State Sen. Ron Caldwell, R-Wynne, and Rep. Vivian Flowers, D-Pine Bluff, both contend that a path for passage of Arkansas Works exists in this fiscal session, but both say their votes are dependent on how federal waivers will affect the program. The two Delta legislators also said they have stipulations before agreeing to any future tax cuts, such as the $180 million top income tax bracket reduction pushed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

John Brummett, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist
Talk Business and Politics

The fiscal session has begun.  That means all eyes are on the state capitol to see if the Arkansas Works program can survive another close vote for passage, despite the loss of several "yes" votes in the Senate due to deaths and resignations.  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist John Brummett sits down with Roby Brock of Talk Business to discuss the topic and pay tribute to longtime Parliamentarian of the House Representatives, Tim Massanelli.  Massanelli passed away last week. 


Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson with Roby Brock of Talk Business and Politics
Talk Business and Politics

Rising pharmacy reimbursement rates are a part of the cost structure between pharmacist, health insurance plans, and a group known as PBMs—Pharmacy Benefits Managers.  Roby Brock with Talk Business sits down with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to talk about potential legislative remedies for this seemingly dire situation as a private solution may be in the works.


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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Revenue collected by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery in fiscal 2018 is exceeding the totals from the same period in previous years, but net proceeds are about average for recent years.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the lottery has provided its latest monthly report to Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Legislative Council's lottery oversight subcommittee.

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on the start of Arkansas' legislative session (all times local):

1:25 p.m.

Arkansas' governor says he wants to cut the income tax for the state's top earners by $180 million, and says his plan to set aside $48 million in surplus money will help set the stage for that reduction.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told lawmakers Monday he'll push for cutting the state's top income tax rate from 6.9 percent to 6 percent. Hutchinson issued the recommendation as lawmakers convened for an abbreviated session focused on the state's budget.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
ArkansasHouse.org

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson will go before the state legislators to deliver the state of the state address.  The address will kick off Arkansas' fiscal session, in which the biggest fight will be on how to fund Arkansas Works, the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion program. 

MICHAEL HIBBLEN / KUAR NEWS

Where will the votes come from for Arkansas Works in the upcoming fiscal session? Gov. Asa Hutchinson says it’s less about lawmakers changing their minds and more about reforming a program to satisfy conservative principles.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Recent state figures show the average cost per person of subsidized private health insurance under Arkansas Works increased more than 14 percent last month.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the spike is in part due to premium increases that had taken effect Jan. 1.

Missouri Senate advances utility rates bill after daylong filibuster

Feb 9, 2018
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  JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Senate on Thursday advanced legislation that could reward utilities making improvements to their infrastructure with more consistent rate increases on their customers, a move that came after a more than 20-hour, overnight filibuster finally ended.

One of the many items being shuffled around Congress in short-term spending crises is funding for Community Health Centers. KUAR's Jacob Kauffman talks with U.S. Representative French Hill (R-2nd District) about healthcare, a short-term budget deal against a government shutdown deadline, and November elections.

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