ACRE’s Top 10 Policy Goals for the 2023 Arkansas Legislative Session

By Jeremy Horpedahl, ACRE Director

The Arkansas General Assembly convenes for the 2023 general session on January 9, 2023. Over the weeks and months that follow, the Legislature will consider bills on a wide variety of issues affecting individuals and businesses in Arkansas. Researchers at ACRE have been hard at work since the last legislative session conducting basic research in our primary policy areas of government transparency, labor market regulations (especially occupational licensing), and fiscal policy (both tax and spending issues).

Based on our research at ACRE, we’ve also put together a list of our Top 10 Policy Goals for the next legislative session. These policy goals encompass major reforms that legislators could implement which our research and the research of other academics suggest will improve the economic fortunes of Arkansans. We invite you to take a look at our list of recommendations in the linked document which also provides references to the research supporting our ideas, but in brief here are our policy goals:

  • Occupational Licensing
    1. Universal recognition of licenses from other states
    2. Lowering barriers to obtaining licenses such as unnecessary educational and training requirements
    3. Using less restrictive regulations than occupational licensing, such as registrations and certifications
  • Taxes and Spending
    1. Structural changes to the state budget, such as a “tax and expenditure limit” which puts a limit on state government growth
    2. Continuing the reductions in personal and corporate income taxes that began in 2015
    3. Targeted spending reforms, especially by learning from other states that spend more efficiently than Arkansas
    4. Reducing state spending on targeted economic development incentives
  • Government Transparency
    1. Expanding transparency at the local level
    2. Fiscal transparency for first-class cities in Arkansas, following successful transparency reforms for counties in Arkansas in recent years
    3. Transparency for federal influxes of funds, such as the various federal assistance plans passed during the pandemic

As the legislature gets under way and bills start to be filed and discussed, ACRE researchers are willing and excited for the opportunity to help educate lawmakers and the general public on the costs and benefits of potential policy changes in our research areas. As in past years, ACRE staff will appear before legislative committees to explain how our research informs policies under consideration, as well as work with local media to help explain to Arkansans how policy changes may impact them.

Finally, ACRE is also excited to announce the release of our Annual Report for 2021-2022. If you don’t know much about ACRE and our programs, this report is a great way to learning about all the things we do for students at UCA, and to help educate Arkansans generally about economics and public policy. We look forward to continuing this work over the next few months during the legislative session, as well as throughout the rest of the year after the session concludes.