I hope you had a chance to catch a few of the many student activities going on in Monticello last Saturday. Elementary through high school students from all of southeast Arkansas participated in basketball tournament games, a chess tournament, a robotics tournament, and the Regional Archery Tournament that was sponsored in part by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. I was able to catch parts of the robotics and archery competitions and was so impressed and proud of the enthusiasm, dedication and expertise they displayed. Thanks to the parents, family members, teachers and volunteers that make these opportunities available.
You may have seen a Boy Scout or two in uniform around the district on Sunday. Troop 67 and a Pack 69 Cub Scout observed Boy Scout Sunday at Monticello's First United Methodist Church, serving during both services as greeters, ushers, liturgist and acolyte. This troop has been sponsored by FUMC for more than 50 years. Congratulations to all the southeast Arkansas young men that put in the effort to be part of this exceptional program and the many leaders that generously volunteer their time to help shape the character of young men in all of our scouting programs. Special congratulations to Troop 67's newly honored Eagle Scouts: Joey Holland, Noah Minchew, Cole Nash, and Caleb Whitehurst. I encourage you to check out Troop 67's Facebook page for inspiration and some great photos.
With the start of the 2018 Fiscal Session this week, many budget matters will be in the news. I want to remind everyone how the budget process in our state works.
Although we may pass hundreds of appropriations for various agencies, those bills do not necessarily dictate the budget. The appropriation is the authority granted by the General Assembly to spend money under the control of the State of Arkansas. Almost all appropriations require a ¾ majority in both chambers.
The Revenue Stabilization Act (RSA) guides the budget and is typically one of the last items passed every session.
To craft the Revenue Stabilization Act, the legislature with consultation with the Governor:
• Determines the maximum general revenue support to be distributed over the next fiscal year
• Determines the maximum amount each general revenue fund is to receive from general revenues for the next fiscal year
• Determines the number of priority categories (A,B,C…)
• Sets the minimum level of support required for each general fund and designates it as “A”
• Sets the next level of support for each fund and designates it as the next priority (A-1 or B)
• Continues the steps until the maximum level is reached
As revenues flow, agencies are funded in order of program priorities, with category A being funded first. In the event that A priorities are fully funded, revenues begin to flow to the next category and so on.
In the event that state revenues fall short of expectations, the chief fiscal officer can order any cuts. Any budget cuts would begin in reverse order.
The state adopted this method of budgeting in 1945 as a way to prevent deficit spending, reduce funding instability due to a changing economy, and assure agencies had an even cash flow.
I will keep you updated throughout this session. When the RSA is drafted, it will be posted on the House website.
Remember you can watch the entire House floor proceedings live at www.arkansashouse.org. You can also find previous recorded sessions on our website under the Video Library section.
It is such an honor and privilege to serve as your Representative. Please let me know how I can assist you. Should you have any particular questions during the Fiscal Session, please reach out to me on my email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also be reached on Facebook @BurchforArkansas. See my website: leanneburch.com for ongoing information, too. My phone number is (870) 460-0773. Email is the best way to reach me during the Fiscal Session. I look forward to hearing from you.