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For most of the past 14 years I have had the opportunity to work as a businessman.

While I do not accept the idea that government should be "run like a business," I do believe the success of Arkansas' economy is linked to fundamental business principles. Government doesn't create jobs, but it must pursue policies that allow the economy to grow.

Establishing sound fiscal and tax policy, providing a competitive workforce and promoting a favorable investment climate have helped us achieve a diversified economy that is serving us well.

Arkansas' economy remains strong while most of the nation has endured a period of stagnation and declining growth. Our economy shows significant strength in retail and wholesale trade, manufacturing, construction, and business services. In 1992, Arkansas led the region in job creation. And this year we've had four consecutive months of employment growth. As of June 30, the end of the fiscal year, we were 1.1 percent above budget forecasts. This translates into a $22 million surplus which is attributable to sound economic policies.

Fiscal reforms enacted by the 79th General Assembly promise to further strengthen our economy. We pushed vigorously in the session to implement Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) aimed at providing a comprehensive picture of the state's assets and liabilities. We demanded greater accountability in government, reduced the number of agencies dependent on taxpayer dollars, limited spending to 95 per cent of appropriations and reduced funding for most state programs for each of the next two years.

Aggressive economic development legislation targeted "obstacles" to growth and boosted investment in our economy and in our people. We created a statewide enterprise zone opening the state to a broader range of industry. An additional $100 million was made available for small business loans. We also provided up to $17 million in funding for infrastructure development and improving the skills of our workforce.

These achievements will result in tens of millions of dollars in general revenue savings and were made without a general tax increase. Our savings will be reinvested to provide direct benefits to the people of Arkansas.
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Title Annotation:Arkansas
Author:Tucker, Jim Guy
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Aug 16, 1993
Previous Article:Arkansas Business: committed to excellence.
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