Arkansas Recovery and Reinvestment
Message from the Governor
It has been a year since the federal government enacted its stimulus program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. While I am proud to report that Arkansas has invested its share of this program wisely, I believe the greater benefits to our State are still to be realized. Knowing that this estimated 3.1 billion dollars in one-time money will run out eventually, we have not used it for programs that require ongoing funding. Instead, we have restricted spending to capital projects that create jobs, build roads, support our communities, conserve energy, and provide infrastructure for critical services. By focusing our funds on these types of projects, we are ensuring that when recovery funds are gone, we will not have to drain other resources to sustain ongoing projects.
Our focus is a luxury that has proved unattainable for most of our sister states. Many have had to use stimulus funds as a stopgap measure to prevent additional teacher layoffs, or just to keep schools open. When this recovery program ends, they will once again face massive funding shortfalls in education and other key state services.
Arkansas, on the other hand, has not laid-off a single teacher. In fact, the General Assembly has increased funding for schools. Thanks to the foresight and fiscal discipline of our state legislators, we have made sure that Arkansas is prepared to emerge from this recession in better shape than the rest of the country. We are already in better fiscal standing than 47 other states.
This recovery program is intended to put Americans back to work, and because Arkansas has seized the opportunities presented by it, we have been able to do just that. We’ve utilized our money to help families cut energy costs by weatherizing their homes, we’ve helped schools renovate their buildings to include state-of-the-art technology, and we’ve helped feed the State’s elderly with nutritious, home-delivered meals. All of these things prepare for the future, rather than just preserve the status quo.
As Arkansas continues to discern the best uses of its recovery money, we will see more programs that benefit Arkansans coming online. We’ve been planning how to implement these programs, and have only just begun to see physical recovery projects fully materialize. Along with the disbursement of stimulus funding, Arkansas also carefully monitors the use of this money at the state and local levels. We track every dollar spent, so that we can account for the success and proper use of these funds. Furthermore, it’s only right that government remain transparent so that people can see where their tax dollars are spent.
We've been working with this recovery money for a year now, but the benefits to Arkansas and her citizens are just beginning.
Governor of Arkansas