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Featured Articles

Arkansas School Choice And Finance In The 21st Century (Oct. 17 Forum)

(October 2017) The Arkansas Policy Foundation and Reason Foundation cordially invite you to a panel and workshop event, titled “Arkansas School Choice and School Finance in the 21st Century”


The event includes a panel discussion on “National Trends in School Choice and Implications for Arkansas” with Rep. Jim Dotson and Arkansas Parent Network’s Virginia Walden Ford and a panel on “The Future of School Finance and Implications for Arkansas” with the Reason Foundation’s Education Director Lisa Snell and Reason Policy Analyst, Aaron Smith. Lunch will be followed by a keynote address by Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin.


Hear from Arkansas leaders about the landscape for school choice and more student-centered funding and opportunities for future growth. In addition, Reason Foundation education policy analysts will share national trends toward pioneering systems to fund students and schools more transparently, equitably, and flexibly.


Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Time: 9 AM - 1:00 PM (lunch provided) – Registration starts at 8:30

Location: Heifer Village, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202

You can register online at Eventbrite: Arkansas School Choice and Finance in the 21st Century

You can also RSVP via email (kaza@arkansaspolicyfoundation.org) or (lsnell@reason.org) by Friday October 13.

You can also RSVP by calling (501) 537-0825.


Transportation Department Adopts Performance-based Pay Policy

(September 2017) The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) has advanced a performance-based pay program, a reform first recommended in 1998 by the Murphy Commission, a Policy Foundation project.


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DFA Acts On Efficiency Project Recommendations

(August 2017) The state Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) is acting on nine major recommendations from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) a leading international management consulting firm retained by the Policy Foundation in 2016 to study the agency.


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Gov. Hutchinson Seeks Action On Efficiency Project Proposal

(August 2017) Freshman Gov. Asa Hutchinson has asked a state panel to recommend changes to a K-12 public school spending practice criticized last year by the Policy Foundation's Efficiency Project.


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State Efficiency Reviews: Costs & Projected Savings

(July 2017) Management consultants conducted efficiency reviews in Kansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina this decade, at costs ranging from $2.6-to-$4.2 million. Volunteers led an earlier Kansas project. A Policy Foundation review of published reports in these states found a broad range of estimated savings ($9.3 million to $2.7 billion). To-date savings vary by state, according to state executives and budget officials.


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Tom Easterly Named 'Unsung Hero' Of 2017

(June 2017) Tom Easterly, a Murphy Commission Education Team volunteer who later played a role in a landmark Arkansas State Supreme Court decision has been named the Policy Foundation's 'Unsung Hero' of 2017.


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Efficiency Project Recommendation Approved

(May 2017) Mission creep describes the tendency of government programs to expand beyond their original purpose. One Arkansas example is a 1997 program that pays incentive bonuses to teachers that obtain national-board certification and work in high-poverty K-12 public schools. The program grew over two decades into a $16 million program that also pays bonuses to teachers in other schools.


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Arkansas Jobs Creation Trails U.s. Average

(May 2017) Arkansas state legislators cut taxes for low-income Arkansans and military retirees in this year's 91st General Assembly but failed to reduce taxes on job creators. The result? Arkansas' job creation rate trails the U.S. average by a wide margin nearly eight years into the third longest economic expansion in U.S. history.


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Education Savings Accounts

Medical Volunteers & State Lines

(April 2017) Arkansas is a rural state that suffers from a shortage of medical professionals. One oft-discussed idea would assign advanced nurse practitioners a greater role. A lesser-known idea allows medical professionals to volunteer across state lines.


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Dental Proposal Floated

(April 2017) State Rep. Deborah Ferguson, D-West Memphis, sponsored HB 1255 in the 91st General Assembly (2017) to 'Create A Temporary Charitable Dental License.' The measure would have allowed the Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners to " license a dentist who practices for no more than four (4) consecutive days per calendar year in the State of Arkansas without compensation if the dentist has applied for and received a temporary license from the board." Ferguson practiced dentistry for 25 years.


Arkansas Organizational Charts

(April 2017) The Efficiency Project compiled organizational charts to help Arkansas citizens understand state government's structure.
One Arkansas citizen told the Project that state government "should standardize department organizational charts and have these on a website ... My time in the Army taught me chain of command. If you don't know the structure of the chain a person would have a hard time knowing who to contact."


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Arkansas Needs Good Samaritans

(March 2017) The Affordable Care Act does not mandate dental and vision care for adults. Charitable organizations like Remote Area Medical (RAM) can organize free clinics that provide this care in three states (Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee) that border Arkansas. But the medical and dental professionals that volunteer for RAM are forbidden from serving as Good Samaritans in Arkansas. Learn more about RAM's work in this 2008 segment from CBS' '60 Minutes.'




Gov. Hutchinson Names Efficiency Panel

(February 19, 2017) Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced today the founding of the Transformation Advisory Board, which will continue to "examine the recommendations for potential efficiencies and cost-savings from a report by the Arkansas Policy Foundation released last year."


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Bank Department Adds 'Efficiency' To Mission Statement

(February 2017) The Arkansas State Bank Department has amended its mission statement to include efficiency after a Policy Foundation report recommended the action. The revised statement explains the Bank Department's mission is to "efficiently allocate Department resources to maintain a legal and regulatory structure for Arkansas that provides the public with convenient, safe and competitive banking, which allows for economic development within this State."


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Efficiency Project in Wall Street Journal

(January 2017) The Wall Street Journal, America's leading commercial daily published a column in its January 14 edition that discussed the Arkansas state government Efficiency Project.


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Little Rock Students Need School Choice

(January 2017) School choice and charter schools continue to advance since the Little Rock School District was taken over by the state two years ago for academic distress. The Succeed Scholarship Program was created by the state legislature and it's probable another tax credit or voucher program will be established in this year's session. Student demand is so great there are nine open-enrollment charter school systems operating in Little Rock, according to the state Department of Education.


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Phase Two of Efficiency Project Launched

(December 2016) Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson launched phase two of the state government Efficiency Project by naming Amy Fecher to head his new Office of Transformation. The Office will "drive the implementation of state efficiencies and streamline state operations" using ideas from the Project's first phase, launched in December 2015 at the Policy Foundation's 20th anniversary recognition reception for citizen volunteers.


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Efficiency Project Identifies 184 Initiatives At State Departments

(November 2016) The Policy Foundation's Efficiency Project has identified 184 cost-saving initiatives underway at Arkansas state departments. The initiatives are listed in a report that has been delivered to Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

The dollar amount range from department-identified efficiencies is $7.3-to-$13.5 million. The Efficiency Project makes 60 policy recommendations that will save Arkansas taxpayers more than $50 million. The bulk of these savings are at the departments of Finance and Administration ($15.5 million) and Education ($27.5 million).


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Arkansas Efficiency Project Report


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Fifteen Private Schools Approved for Succeed Scholarship Program

(August 2016) Fifteen Arkansas private schools have received approval from the state Department of Education (ADE) to participate in the Succeed Scholarship Program, Arkansas' first non-public school choice program. According to the Little Rock-based Reform Alliance, the program "is open to any Private School Applicants that are accredited."


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Cato Recommendations For Arkansas

(August 2016) The Cato Institute, a Washington think tank, has issued its annual 'Freedom in the 50 States' report. The report's fiscal and education recommendations include the following ideas: Fiscal: Cut the state sales and use tax, which is high. Let local governments vary property taxes to meet local needs and desires, reducing state aid for education and other purposes. Personal: Enact a generous tax credit for contributions to private scholarships for K–12 education. The Cato report is available at: http://www.freedominthe50states.org/overall/arkansas


School Choice Explained

(July 2016) The Policy Foundation will hold an event in late July explaining school choice programs. Arkansas became the 25th state to enact a school choice program in 2015. The idea originated with Dr. Milton Friedman (1912-2006), the 1976 Nobel Economics Laureate. Dr. Friedman was born July 31, 1912, in Brooklyn, N.Y.


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Citizenship Advances School Choice

(June 2016) School choice gives students the freedom to attend schools or obtain educational services that best fit their individual and family needs. These can include public, private or home-schools depending on the circumstance. School choice has advanced to a significant degree since the Policy Foundation raised the issue in 1995. The citizenship of Arkansans has advanced school choice, with foundations playing a key leadership role.


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School Choice Market Continues to Expand

(June 2016) Records show the Arkansas school choice market continues to expand, growing expanded from an estimated 66,627 K-12 students in 2013 to 70,533 in 2015. The niche market includes students participating in public school choice programs, and homeschooled, private and charter students.


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Operating Expenditures Exceed CPI

(May 2016) Total operating expenditures at four Arkansas state departments have increased at average annual rates greater than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) since the last recession ended in mid-2009. These actual agency expenditures increased at annual rates ranging from 3.8% (Community Corrections) to 1.9% (Education Department, Public School Fund) versus 1.5% inflation (CPI)


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Weak Economic Expansion

(April 2016) The U.S. economy is in the seventh year of expansion yet key indicators suggest the recovery is weak by historical standards


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Arkansas State Spending How To Save More Than $150 Million

(April 2016) The Policy Foundation noted more than a decade ago that state spending growth linked to an economic metric such as the Consumer Price Index would save tax dollars. CPI has increased at an average annual rate of 1.5 percent in the economic expansion that started in 2009. Yet spending increases at higher percentage rates at five departments in pending Fiscal Session Budget Requests when 2015-16 (Budget) is compared to 2016-17 (Legislative Recommendation). These departments are Community Corrections, Corrections, Education, Health, and Human Services.


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Benton County Leads Arkansas Income Rank

(March 2016) Revised federal data show Benton County achieved an all-time Arkansas high (153.2%) in per capita personal income in 2012.


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Choice And Charters Should Expand In Little Rock

(February 2016) School choice and charter schools have advanced since the Little Rock School District was taken over by the state one year ago. The Succeed Scholarship Program, Arkansas' first school choice law was enacted by the state legislature but awaits funding. The E-STEM and Lisa Academy charter systems are also proposing to expand in Little Rock.


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Governor Hutchinson Memorandum State Government Efficiency Project

(January 2016) Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued the following memorandum December 17 to directors of state agencies, offices, and departments. The memorandum discusses the Policy Foundation's Efficiency Review of state government, announced the same day


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Boards and Commissions, PT. 2

(December 2015) Arkansas has an estimated 350 boards and commissions, along with committees (110), councils (39), departments (60), and task forces (42) bringing the total to more than 500 separate state government entities, according to records. A preliminary review found overlapping state entities in the following five public policy areas:


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Gov. Asa Hutchinson to Keynote
Policy Foundation 20th Anniversary Event

(November 2015) Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson will keynote the Policy Foundation's 20th anniversary Recognition Reception on Thursday, Dec. 17 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Little Rock Club on the 30th Floor of the Regions Center (400 West Capitol Avenue).


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State Government Reorganization
Boards and Commissions

(October 2015) Boards and Commissions have been described as "low-hanging fruit" in terms of state government reorganization. A state website lists 119 separate entities that include the words "board" or "commission," though the number could be greater. A U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this year has caused analysts to question whether some boards and commissions interfere with the workings of a market-based economic system.


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Sound Money Conference

(October 2015) The Policy Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a market-based think tank this year. The Foundation, as part of the celebration, is hosting a Sound Money Conference to examine monetary policy in the 21st Century. The event is tailored to students and teachers, though everyone with an interest in monetary policy is welcome to attend.


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Tax Rates & Economic Decisions

(September 2015) The top U.S. individual federal income tax rate has declined from 94% to 39.6% in the postwar era. Reduction of the top rate, including the cut from 70% to 28% that occurred in the 1980s was based on the idea tax rates influence economic decisions. Arkansas has also cut income tax rates since 2013, though the top rate remains at 7%.


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Tax Credit Scholarships

(August 2015) Arkansas' first private school choice measure, a voucher program, was enacted earlier this year. The development has generated interest in school choice programs offered in other states. One example are tax credit scholarships. The Friedman Foundation reports the following states offer tax credit scholarships.


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Speaker To Honor Dr. Milton Friedman

(July 2014) Arkansas recently became the 25th state to enact a private school choice program, an idea originating with the late Dr. Milton Friedman (1912-2006), the 1976 Nobel laureate in Economics.


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Policy Foundation To Host 20th Anniversary Banquet

(June 2015) Twenty years ago a small group of business owners and investors concerned about Arkansas' economic future organized the Policy Foundation as a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit think tank.


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State Of The Recovery

(June 2015) Six years after the Great Recession ended, Arkansas payroll employment growth trails the national average, 8.2 to 4.2 percent, a Policy Foundation analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics records show.


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Another Capital Gains Tax Myth

(May 2015) Setting the record straight against Arkansas capital gains tax proponents is a full time job. The myth that only a handful of wealthy entrepreneurs pay capital gains taxes is rebutted by state Department of Finance and Administration records that show more than 115,000 Arkansans pay the levy. The myth that capital gains taxes do not effect economic growth is rebutted by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data that show states without these levies have higher job creation rates as a group. Another myth is that phase-out of the capital gains tax is a partisan issue in Arkansas. Public records say otherwise.


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The Forgotten 115,000

(April 2015) Critics of capital gains and income tax cuts used fallacious reasoning in numerous failed attempts to defeat tax cuts in 2013 and 2015. One logical fallacy, the ad hominem argument, was trotted out to attack Arkansas entrepreneurs and argue only the wealthy pay capital gains taxes. Another fallacy, the argumentum ad lapidem, consists of dismissing tax cut proponents' claims without examining their content. This is not 'A is A' reasoning. These claims must be rebutted for Arkansas to build on the tax cuts enacted in 2013-15 and move forward.


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Arkansas' First Private School Choice Program

(March 2015) The Policy Foundation, since its founding 20 years ago, has advanced the idea that private school choice would benefit at-risk Arkansas students by introducing competition to the state's K-12 public school system.


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Students at Failing Little Rock Schools Deserve School Choice

(February 2015) The Policy Foundation has maintained an interest in education reform ideas since its founding in Little Rock 20 years ago.


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Little Rock School District Taken Over by State

(February 2015) The Little Rock School District's academic problems were identified in a 1999 Policy Foundation study.


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Convert Failing Schools to Charters, Advance School Choice

(February 2015) Failing Arkansas charter schools are closed. Six failing Little Rock public schools in academic distress remain open. They should be converted into charters starting with the 2015-16 school year. Little Rock students should also have the freedom to attend independent schools with tax credits or vouchers, education reforms adopted in 23 other states.


Defenders of the educational status quo attack charter conversions after takeovers. But a recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper, "Testing School Takeovers in New Orleans and Boston," found that pupils who remain enrolled in a school that is converted from public to charter showed "substantial gains in both cities."


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Sixty Percent of Students at Distressed Little Rock High Schools Less Than Proficient

(February 2015) Sixty percent of students at three Little Rock high schools in academic distress are less than proficient in the category of literacy, according to results reported by the state Department of Education.


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Documents: Outstanding Tax Liens Total $735 Million

(January 26, 2015) Documents obtained by the Policy Foundation from the state Department of Finance and Administration show total outstanding tax liens number 178,612 and total $735,470,927, while policymakers raise taxes and fail to fully reimburse counties for housing state inmates in county jails.


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Arkansas' Non-Competitive Corporate Income Tax Rate

(January 2015) Fiscal action taken by the 90th General Assembly has focused on income and capital gains tax rates, while ignoring Arkansas' non-competitive top corporate tax rate, among the highest in the region.


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More Than Half of Arkansas' Counties Have Lost Population in the 21st Century

(January 2015) Forty (40) Arkansas counties--more than half of the state's 75 counties--have lost population since the 2000 Census, U.S. Census Bureau data show.


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Mission Statement

The Arkansas Policy Foundation is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that analyzes the impact of public policy on Arkansas and makes recommendations.

The Foundation emphasizes the importance of tax policy and education reform.

Principles of tax policy: Arkansas would benefit from comprehensive, pro-growth reform; Arkansans are not under-taxed; taxes and rates do matter to entrepreneurs; dynamic scoring of tax changes and effects provides benefits.

Education reform: The Foundation seeks intellectual honesty and complete openness in reporting the lack of academic progress in Arkansas' school system.

The Foundation encourages citizenship.

Governor ASA Hutchinson Governor Mike Beebe Governor Mike Huckabee


Looking For Archived Policy Research?
Visit http://arkansaseconomics.org/


Arkansas Entrepreneurs Create Hope

A significant number of Arkansas' best-known entrepreneurs started their businesses in recessions.Click Here.

Policy Accomplishments

Following is a list of policy accomplishments occurring in Arkansas since the Policy Foundation was established 22 years ago as a market-based think tank: Click Here.

Visibility: Media Highlights

"Measuring Arkansas' high-tech employment"

Talk Business

September 5, 2017


"Efficiency In Order"

September 1, 2017

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Benton County Daily Record

Northwest Arkansas Times


"State's Jobless rate Still at 3.4%"

August 19, 2017

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Benton County Daily Record

Northwest Arkansas Times


"Finding Ways to Do More With Less"

Government Technology

December 9, 2016

Finding Ways to Do More With Less Is Job No. 1 for Arkansas' New Chief Transformation Officer


"State's June jobless rate holds at 3.4%"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

July 22, 2017


"Driving Government Efficiencies"

Arkansas Business

May 8, 2017


"State's jobless rate again at record low"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Benton County Daily Record

Northwest Arkansas Times

March 25, 2017


"Citizens and Dictionaries"

Jonesboro Sun

March 20, 2017


"Governor creates board to find cost savings"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Northwest Arkansas Times

Benton County Daily Record

February 21, 2017


"Arkansas governor forms government efficiency panel"

Arkansas News Bureau

Southwest Times Record


"Arkansas governor announces board to find cost savings"

KATV 7-Little Rock

KTHV 11-Little Rock

KHBS 40/29-Fort Smith

McClatchy News Service

Yell County-Record


"Griffin and Shepherd will be part of governor's 'Transformation Advisory Board'"

Magnolia Reporter


"Hutchinson touts government 'transformation.' But is less more?"

Arkansas Times

February 20, 2017


"Arkansas Governor Announces Board to Find Cost Savings"

U.S. News and World Reports


"Arkansas Supermajority Takes on the Golden State's"

Wall Street Journal

January 25, 2017


"A New Arkansas Supermajority to Take On Government Bloat"

Wall Street Journal

January 14, 2017


"State jobless rate holds steady at 4%"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Northwest Arkansas Times

Benton County Daily Record

December 17, 2016


"More with less: Government efficiency possible"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Northwest Arkansas Times

Benton County Daily Record

December 9, 2016


"Thrift officer for state named: Governor taps AEDC executive"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Northwest Arkansas Times

Benton County Daily Record

December 6, 2016


"Governor creates Office of Transformation"

Talk Business-City Wire


"New State Office Created to Promote Efficiency"

Booneville Democrat


"Hutchinson establishes Office of Transformation with goal of streamlining state government"

Arkansas Times

December 5, 2016


"Hutchinson's office to implement efficiencies cited in Arkansas Policy Foundation report"

Talk Business-City Wire

November 28, 2016


"Report: State could save up to $50M more: Room for agency efficiency, review by foundation finds"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Northwest Arkansas Times

Benton County Daily Record

November 25, 2016


"Report: State could save up to $50M more"

Arkansas News Bureau


"Report: State's tax code knotty"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Benton County Daily Record

Northwest Arkansas Times

November 15, 2016


"Medical volunteers and state lines"

Jonesboro Sun

November 1, 2016


"State's jobless rate 10th lowest in U.S."

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Benton County Daily Record

Northwest Arkansas Times

September 21, 2016


"Arkansas jobless rate steady at 3.8%"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Benton County Daily Record

Northwest Arkansas Times

July 23, 2106


Letters to the Editor

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

June 11, 2016

June 7, 2016


"Battle for equality:

Equal-outcomes idea misguided"

Marshall Harmon column

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Benton County Daily Register

Northwest Arkansas Times

May 26, 2016


"Jobless mark of 4% a record on state books"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Northwest Arkansas Times

Benton County Daily Record

April 16, 2016


"Jobless rate improving for black teens in Arkansas, still 'unacceptably high'"

Talk Business & Politics/The City Wire

April 7, 2016


"Revised figures show Benton County income tops in Arkansas, state falls off 2013 record"

Talk Business & Politics/The City Wire

March 21, 2016


"Government efficiency project seeks to identify cost savings"

Talk Business & Politics/The City Wire

March 16, 2016

Read Online


"Measuring Up: How Does Arkansas manage to spend more than $1,500 a year more per kid on its public schools? And what does it get for that money?"

Tulsa (OK.) World

February 1, 2016


"Lessons learned: Economist says Arkansas education tax didn't work"

Journal Record (Oklahoma City, OK.)

January 7, 2016


"Arkansas as a tipping point"

City-Sentinel (Oklahoma City, OK.)

January 13, 2016


2015 Media Highlights

2014 Media Highlights

2013 Media Highlights

2012 Media Highlights

2011 Media Highlights

2010 Media Highlights

2009 Media Highlights

2008 Media Highlights

Arkansas Charter Schools

A 1996 Policy Foundation study played a key role launching the Arkansas charter school movement.Click Here.

Arkansas Property Tax Appeal Information

Read Online

Socialism Doesn't Work

Friedrich A. Hayek taught at the Univ. of Arkansas-Fayetteville in the early 1950s. He was awarded the 1974 Nobel Prize in Economics. His insight? Socialism doesn't work due to the lack of a price system.

Making A Difference In Arkansas

The Arkansas Council on Economic Education (ACEE) is a private, non-profit, non-partisan, educational organization founded in 1962 to promote economic literacy in Arkansas.

Peer-Reviewed Research

The Arkansas Policy Foundation is an educational organization that regularly submits its research to scholarly journals that use a peer review process.

Journal Publications

“Michigan’s MEGA Tax Credits: Hayek’s Insight”

Economic Development Quarterly

Cleveland: Sage Publications


"Wolverines, Razorbacks and Skyscrapers"

Transaction Periodicals Consortium,

Rutgers University

Winter 2010

"The Austrian School in the NBER's Business Cycle Studies"


Summer 2010

'Regulation of financial derivatives in the U.S. code'
Derivatives Use, Trading and Regulation
(London, U.K.) Palgrave Macmillian Ltd.
February 2006
Read Online

'Deflation & Economic Growth'
(Piscataway, N.J.) Transaction Periodicals Consortium, Rutgers University
Summer 2006

Policy Foundation research on this topic cited by Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe (Opinion No. 2005-291)

'A review of state statutes regulating financial derivatives in the USA'
Pensions, an International Journal
(London, U.K.) Palgrave Macmillian Ltd.
Read Online

Non-Profit Resources

(Including Form 990s)