Online Checkbook and Countdown to Healthcare Ruling

Lt. Governor Mark A. Darr Bi-Weekly Column

Coming up in just a few days on July 1, Arkansas' new online checkbook will go live. I am very excited about this. My staff and I had the opportunity to see a demonstration of the site the other day, along with Rep. James McLean, who helped sponsor the checkbook legislation. The work of putting the site together has been done by the Department of Finance and Administration and after seeing what they have created, I have to say I was impressed. Arkansas' new transparency site will be the first in the nation to have smartphone accessibility. This means even more people will be able to access the information.

The new site will include information on salaries of state employees, detailed expenditures by agency, bonded indebtedness, contracts, and payments to cities and counties. Citizens, businesses, elected officials and government agencies will all find this site useful.
To visit the site, go towww.transparency.arkansas.gov.

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This week I'm travelling with the Springdale Chamber of Commerce to Washington, DC. What a fine group of business and community leaders. Along with Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse, the delegation includes people from large companies, medium-sized companies, and small businesses. There is a real sense of camaraderie and common purpose among the group While in Washington, we've met with Congressman Steve Womack, who represents Springdale, as well as Senators John Boozman and Mark Pryor. They have been briefing us on the atmosphere within the federal government and discussing the priorities they think would best benefit our state. Infrastructure, healthcare, tax and regulatory reform, and immigration are all issues that have come up.

We have also had the opportunity to meet with Rep. Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader and Rep. John Mica, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Both of them had good things to say about Arkansas' congressional delegation. Staff from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce briefed the group on various issues as well.

It's vital for our communities all across Arkansas that there be cooperation among businesses at all levels. Competition is good in the marketplace, but when it comes to economic development, joining forces be very effective. The business community is the driving force of our economy and as such, they should engage with those who make decisions that affect what they do, at every level of government, so that policy makers can make informed decisions.

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Finally, the country is anxiously awaiting a decisive ruling by the United States Supreme Court on the controversial federal healthcare law. An opinion could be issued any day now.

As you know, I have opposed this law, along with an overwhelming majority of Arkansans. It is my hope that the Court will strike down the entire law. We cannot afford it.

If the Court does not strike it down, or rules that portions of it may stand, I will continue to speak out for change and against the government's infringement in people's lives and on their freedom. I hope that you will stand with me.