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Arkansas is taking off


Talk Business & Politics published "Arkansas is Taking off," an op-ed by Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders reflecting on her one-year in office:
100 million. 800 new jobs. Dassault Falcon’s recent investment announcement in Little Rock means a lot of things. More than anything, it shows the new energy that’s pumping through Arkansas’ economy.
When I met with the Dassault team during my visit to the Paris Air Show, they hailed our state’s commitment to building the workforce of the future and our low cost of doing business. More excitingly, they suggested they wanted to grow their large footprint in Little Rock even larger. They’re hardly alone
As my team worked to land the deal with Dassault, we also encouraged a flood of new projects around the state: ammunition assembly lines in Camden, airfields in Fort Smith, steel mills in Osceola. From north to south, east to west, Arkansas is taking off.
This is the result of bold, conservative policies that shake off the old, broken status quo – policies I’ve proudly championed and enacted in my first year in office.
Our state is becoming the envy of the nation. More Arkansans are working than ever. Tens of thousands are moving into our state for a new job, a lower cost-of-living, and a strong quality of life.
I came into office promising to supercharge that growth and was proud to sign two major tax cuts in just my first year, returning more than $300 million to Arkansas businesses and families. As our state continues to record surpluses, I’ll keep cutting spending to phase out our personal income tax.
But relocating your business or family to Arkansas is about more than just dollars and cents. Education, safety, amenities: all are important for attracting new investment and residents. I came into this job cleareyed that on many of these issues, Arkansas lags.
Strong schools are the basis of any strong community, which is why I promised to be Arkansas’ education governor. I got to work quickly, signing Arkansas LEARNS into law and beginning the most comprehensive overhaul of our state’s education system in modern history.
We started with teacher pay, raising starting teacher salaries from $36,000 to $50,000 a year – from 48th in the nation to top five – and giving every teacher at least a $2,000 raise overnight. That is huge for recruiting, retaining, and rewarding our state’s dedicated educators.
We made landmark investments in literacy, deploying nearly 80 literacy coaches across the state. We introduced new career and technical training. And most transformative of all: soon, every family in Arkansas will have the ability to choose the school that works best for their kids, whether it be public, private, parochial, or homeschool.
We know that crime and safety are critical to quality of life too. We’ve all watched Democrat-led cities introduce soft-on-crime policies, with crime rising predictably as a result. I won’t let the same thing happen in the Natural State.
That’s why I signed the Protect Act, putting tough new penalties on repeat offenders. And it’s why I made the first major investment in our prison system in almost two decades, ensuring those criminals aren’t let back out into society before serving their time.
Crime rates and test scores are important, but Arkansas’ appeal goes beyond numbers on a page. We are a beautiful state, filled with the most hospitable people on earth. The rest of the world should know about it.
That’s why I started the Natural State Initiative with my husband, Bryan, and brought together key stakeholders together to boost outdoor recreation. They helped us pass transformative legislation that will open up our state parks and grow our outdoor economy.
Amid it all, I’m fighting to preserve Arkansas values. That means no boys in women’s sports. No made-up words like “Latinx” or “birthing person.” No divisive indoctrination in our schools. No Chinese state-owned companies on our farmland.
This year has been a whirlwind, but we’re just getting started. I’ll keep working to cut taxes, improve schools, grow our workforce, invest in our natural spaces, and crack down on crime. And I know that together, we can make Arkansas the best state to live, work, and raise a family in America.