Tis the season! Each year the Secretary of State invites non-instrumental musical groups from schools all over the state to perform at the Capitol during the Holiday Season. Everyone is invited. You might be familiar with “Sounds of the Season”. This is an annual Holiday event and, this year, it will take place December 9-13 as well as December 16-20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Arkansas Capitol Rotunda. Participating choir will perform for 20 minutes each. If you are at the Capitol, I hope you will stop by and enjoy the festivities.
Continuing in the spirit of the Holidays, and as your District 11 Representative, I try to celebrate the heart of who we are as Arkansans. Just this weekend, I joined Charles Graham at his annual Holiday event. It is significant because he is a native of Baxter where he grew up just past Dermott right at the Chicot and Drew County lines. Mr. Graham grew up picking cotton on the Baxter Plantation as a poor child born fifth of 13 children. He drew from his humble beginnings becoming a world-renowned gospel singer and minister and is now the owner of the plantation. Traveling most of the year, he offers his home as a sanctuary for evangelists. He also hosts a yearly Holiday Open House, inviting local as well as international guests to share a place that has provided warmth and rich tradition to our community for over 100 years.
In other community news, it is also the time of year and month when Arkansas Government shares our revenue reports. Monthly revenue reports give us an idea of what is happening with our state’s economy. Revenue reports show our earning, spending, and business growth. According to State Revenue Reporting, Arkansas has experienced a 3.8 percent or $87.5 million increase in state revenues since the start of the fiscal year five months ago. This past November was the highest grossing collection month in our state’s history. November 2019 outperformed November 2018 by $23 million with collections totaling $515.2 million. One reason is that sales tax revenue was up 4.5 percent above last year at $9.1 million. This increase is a result of legislation the General Assembly passed in our 2019 Regular Session requiring online retailers to collect and remit taxes on in-state purchases. To further quantify what this means for our state, we have seen an additional $104.2 million more in gross general revenue which has meant a 3.9 percent increase over the last fiscal year. Additionally, the Arkansas unemployment rate sits right at or below the national rate at 3.5 percent. Legislators hope that this represents further healthy consumer confidence and that our economy will continue to grow on behalf of Arkansans. I encourage you to dig deeper and find out what this really means for your family. You can find more information at dfa.arkansas.gov.
I like to share informative items that constituents might find useful. If you have questions about any legislation or the legislative process, feel free to contact me via email at [email protected] or by phone at 501-682-6211.