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Arkansas Week February 21, 2014

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(P.O.) On the north side, a first vote, then another, then another… (28) On the south end, one vote, with one vote to spare. (Taxes) Should they call the roll now and do the math later? ($8.50) And a candidate is one thing, but a major employer?

TRANSCRIPT

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE.  THANKS FOR JOINING US FOR ARKANSAS WEEK..  A DECISION DAY ONE DAY OR ANOTHER FOR THE ARKANSAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE STATE AS A WHOLE IN TERMS OF THE PRIVATE OPTION BUT THERE HAVE BEEN DECISION DAYS BEFORE. GWEN MORITZ JOINS US FROM ARKANSAS BUSINESS AND MICHAEL HIBBLEN NEWS DIRECTOR OF KUAR PUBLIC RADIO FOR CENTRAL ARKANSAS AND ERNIE DUMAS AN INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST AND FOR THE ARKANSAS TIMES.  WE ARE TAPING LATE ON FRIDAY MORNING AND AS WE BEGIN TAPING THE SPEAKER OF THE ARKANSAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES -- THAT'S REDUNDANT.  THERE IS ONLY ONE SPEAKER.  THE SPEAKER HAS DISPATCHED THE ARKANSAS STATE POLICE TO FIND A MEMBER WHO WAS ABSENT FROM THE  CHAMBER AND A MEMBER THAT DID THAT AND THE HOUSE IS RECORDING AND THE DIGITS WHATEVER WE ARE RECORDING THIS UNDER THE HOUSE'S BILL IS UNDER KRRKZ.

AND.

IT IS.

AND AS WE WERE WAITING TO TAPE WE THOUGHT WE WOULD HAVE A DECISION BEFORE WE TALKED ABOUT IT.  WE SAW REPRESENTATIVE LOWERY EXPLAIN WHY AFTER VOTING PRESENT TWICE.

[INAUDIBLE]

THREE TIMES.  EXCUSE ME. THAT HE WAS NOW GOING TO VOTE FOR THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE PRIVATE OPTION SO THAT WAS ONE VOTE AND I BELIEVE THE SPEAKER BELIEVED HE HAD THE BEAR NUMBER OF VOTES HE NEEDED TO REACH THE SUPER MAJORITY, THE STIFF VOTES IN THE HOUSE AND WAS BEGINNING TO TAKE THE VOTE BEGINNING WITH THESE PAIRS WHEN IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT ONE OF HIS YES VOTES HAD LEFT THE CHAMBERS AND HE HAD SENT THE POLICE AFTER THEM.  IT'S ALL VERY EXCITING.

YEAH, THIS IS A PROCEDURAL THING ERNIE.  IT'S A RULE IF YOU'RE PART A PART ONE OF YOU HAS TO BE THERE.

NORMALLY YOU HAVE TO BE IN THE CHAMBER AND HAVE SOMEONE PUSH THE VOTE FOR YOU BUT IF SOMEBODY IS GOING TO BE ABSENT AS A COURTEOUS SOMEBODY IN THE CHAMBER WILL PAIR WITH THEM WHICH MEANS YOU CAN BE ABSENT BUT YOUR VOTE WILL BE COUNTED SO I WON'T COUNT MINE SO THE PAIR ALLOWS EVERYBODY TO VOTE.  WHEN THEY STOPPED THERE WERE 18 PAIRS ALREADY.  WHY SO MANY PEOPLE FLED THE CHAMBER ON FRIDAY MORNING?  MAYBE THEY HAD TO GO BACK HOME TO WORK.  I THINK THE PUBLIC IS A LOT OF PEOPLE KNEW THEY HAD TO VOTE FOR IT BUT DIDN'T WANT TO BE IN THE CHAMBER AND SAY I DIDN'T ACTUALLY PUSH THE BUTTON.  I DON'T KNOW.  BUT IT  MADDENING. WE HAVE SEEN THIS BEFORE WHEN DALE BUMPERS WAS TRYING TO PASS THE INCOME TAX.  THEY CALLED ROLE FOUR OR FIVE TIMES BOTH IN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE TO GET THE SUPER MAJORITY TO PASS IT AND THE GOVERNOR SAID NO, I WANT YOU VOTE AGAIN.  THEY HAD THE COMMITMENTS AND SOMEBODY WOULD BE IN THE BATHROOM AND HIDING IN THE STALL AND GET THEM OUT BUT THEY WILL HEAR IT AGAIN BECAUSE THEY'RE CONFIDENT THEY HAVE MORE THAN THOSE VOTES.

AND THE GENTALLY WOMAN ENGLISH WAS SUSCEPTIBLE TO ROMANCE AND THE ARRANGEMENT WAS REACHED AND SHE PROVIDED THE ESSENTIAL VOTE THURSDAY.

YES AND IT'S NOW THAT SENATE BILL BEING CONSIDERED AGAIN IN THE HOUSE.  THERE SEEMS TO BE -- YOU KNOW I'M NOT AS CLOSE AN OBSERVER OF THE LEGISLATIVE INTRIGUE AS SOME OF THE FOLKS HERE, BUT APPARENTLY IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THEY'RE NOW CONSIDERING THE SENATE'S BILL RATHER THAN THE HOUSE BILL ON THIS.

WELL, WITHIN ALL THESE MONTHS WE WERE WORRYING ABOUT THE SENATE AND AFTER THE SPECIAL ELECTION IN JONESBORO THE SENATE DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH VOTES TO PASS IT AND MISSY IRVIN, THE SENATOR FROM MOUNTAIN VIEW CHANGED THE VIEW FROM AYE LAST YEAR TO NO THIS YEAR AND THAT WAS THE SPECULATION.  THE HOUSE WAS ASSURED BUT WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT THE SENATE GETS EVERYONE IN THE CHAMBER AND PASS ITS AND THE HOUSE IS WHERE ALL THE PROBLEMS WERE.  WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THIS BEFORE WHY IS THIS SO CONTROVERSIAL AND WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE NOT WANTING TO VOTE ON SOMETHING THAT WILL DO SUCH SO GOOD FOR THE COUNTY AND THEIR PEOPLE AND THE DOCTORS AND THE DEPARTMENTS AND THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCES WANT IT AND THE REASON IS WE ALL KNOW IS BARACK OBAMA.  NOT MANY DEMOCRATS WANT TO VOTE SOMETHING WITH BARACK OBAMA'S NAME ON IT AND THAT'S THE WHOLE ISSUE. PEOPLE DO NOT WANT TO VOTED FOR BARACK OBAMA.  I THINK I'M RIGHT ON THAT.

WELL, I CAN TELL YOU THIS. I SPOKE YESTERDAY WITH SENATOR TEAGUE THE GENTLEMAN FROM NASHVILLE AND CO-CHAIR OF JOINT BUDGET COMMITTEE AND SENATOR PUT A BOTTOM LINE ON THIS AND SAID OBAMACARE.  DIDN'T HESITATE. ANYTHING WITH THE NAME --

RIGHT.

WE WANT TO GO ALL THE WAY BACK TO 2008 AND THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 2008 WHEN BARACK OBAMA WAS ELECTED. AT FIRST THE LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT WAS THE GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS MITT ROMNEY WHO HAD JUST PASSED OBAMACARE BUT IT WAS ROMNEYCARE, IN MASSACHUSETTS AND IT'S VERY POPULAR THERE AND I THINK IF HE HAD BEEN ELECTED, IF HE STAYED IN THE RACE AND BEAT JOHN MCCAIN AND ELECTED PRESIDENT WE WOULD HAVE HAD THIS LAW ABOUT WHAT EIGHT YEARS NOW, SEVEN YEARS, AND PROBABLY IT WOULD BE POPULAR AND CALLED ROMNEYCARE BUT WE HAD A DIFFERENT SCENARIO HERE.

THERE WAS A REPORT THAT CAME OUT THIS WEEK THAT TRACKED PERSONAL BANKRUPTCIES IN MASSACHUSETTS POST ROMNEYCARE AND THEY'RE DOWN BY 20% THEORETICALLY BECAUSE FEWER PEOPLE HAVE TO DECLARE PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY BECAUSE OF MEDICAL BILLS BECAUSE THEY HAVE NEAR UNIVERSAL INSURANCE IN MASSACHUSETTS AND OF COURSE THERE'S -- I'M NOT SURE ANYBODY THINKS ALL OF OBAMACARE IS A GOOD IDEA BUT THE PRIVATE OPTION ALLOWS TENS AND HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS TO FLOW  INTO ARKANSAS AND PAY FOR INSURANCE FOR THE WORKING POOR UP TO 138% OF THE POVERTY LEVEL, MAYBE $32,000 FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR.  IT'S THE WORKING POOR IT WILL HELP AND THE HOSPITALS WANT IT AND THE A LOT OF -- ALREADY NEARLY 100,000 PEOPLE ARE GETTING INSURANCE BECAUSE OF THIS.

OKAY.  BREAKING NEWS AS THE COMMERCIAL NETWORK SAYS WHENEVER THE SUN COMES UP.  THE VOTE FAILED.  WE WERE NOTIFIED JUST A SECOND -- THIS WAS THE FIRST VOTE AND 71 TO 18 AND A FEW SHORT.  THAT'S LESS STRENGTH THAN I THINK THE ADVOCATES THOUGHT THEY WOULD HAVE.

THERE WERE ONLY 18 VOTES CAST AGAINST IT SO THAT MEANS THERE AMPLE VOTE THASES DIDN'T VOTE AGAINST IT TO PASS AT A GOOD MARGIN.

THERE WILL BE ANOTHER VOTE TODAY.

THERE WILL BE ANOTHER VOTE AND EVERYBODY WANTS TO GET HOME AND GO TO THE RACES AND THEY WILL BREAK AND WE GET ASSURANCE FROM THE SPEAKER THE VOTES ARE THERE AND WE WILL PASS IT.

ISN'T IT TELLING THOUGH THIS THING IS FAILING ALTHOUGH 18 PEOPLE VOTING AGAINST IT AND 71 VOTES FOR IT.

WE'RE ONLY THE ONLY STATE THAT HAS THE SUPER MAJORITY. NO STATE IN AMERICA HAS REQUIRED A 3/4 VOTE TO PASS THE LEGISLATION OF ANY KIND.

AS ERNIE NOTED THAT IS 11 VOTES M.I.A. FOR THE TIME BEING. MICHAEL IT'S WORTH NOTING EXACTLY WHAT SENATOR ENGLISH GOT IN RETURN FOR THE SUPPORT.

SHE GOT BASICALLY FROM GOVERNOR BEEBE TO GET MORE WORK FORCE TRAINING AND RESTRUCTURE THE PROGRAM AND MORE MONEY ALLOCATED TO IT AND IT'S A KEY ISSUE FOR HER AND POINT BLANK SHE STILL DIDN'T LIKE THE PRIVATE OPTION BUT IT'S BENEFICIAL TO DO THAT AND THE SENATE WOULD GET THE VOTES AND 27 IS THE NUMBER NEEDED ON THE FIRST VOTE AND WE'RE FOUR DAYS INTO THE HOUSE VOTING FOUR TIMES AND STILL NOT GETTING THIS, BUT IT'S FRUSTRATING FOR HOUSE SPEAKER DAVE CARTER AND HE'S ADAMANT THAT WE WILL KEEP VOTING FOR THIS.  EVERYDAY WE WILL CONTINUE VOTING FOR THIS AND HE HAS SAID FROM THE VERY BEGINNING HE IS CONFIDENT THIS WILL PASS BUT HAS SAID IT JUST MAY TAKE MANY TIMES FOR THE HOUSE TO DO IT.

GWEN WORK FORCE TRAINING -- ACTUALLY SENATOR ENGLISH'S [INAUDIBLE] EARLIER IN A PROFESSIONAL LIFE AND I HEARD FROM OTHERS IN THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY ANYWAY THIS IS NOT NECESSARILY A BAD THING.  THERE IS CONCERN FOR THE MISALIGNMENT OF EDUCATION AND JOB --

THAT'S LIKE A NO BRAINER. WHY SHOULD WE HAVE TO BEG TO USE STATE DOLLARS TO ALIGN THE TRAINING FOR THE WORK FORCE WITH THE ACTUAL NEEDS OF THE WORK FORCE SO IT DOES, AND I THINK THE -- IT WAS A GREAT DEAL. ONE OF THE MOST ADMIRABLE THINGS ABOUT IT WAS DESIGNED -- A DEAL DESIGNED TO DO GOOD STATE WIDE, NOT JUST SOME PORK THROWN TO SENATOR ENGLISH'S PERSONAL DISTRICT.  ALTHOUGH THERE IS OF COURSE A HUGE -- THE PULASKI TECH IT'S A TRAINING CENTER THERE IN NORTH LITTLE ROCK BUT IT'S A GREAT DEAL AND ONE THAT EVERYBODY -- LET'S DO MORE DEALS LIKE THAT.

THE ADMINISTRATION I THINK WOULD BE RECEPTIVE TO IT.

YEAH.

ANYWAY ON THESE THINGS. WOULDN'T BE A SESSION IF WE DIDN'T HAVE TAX BILLS IN THE FISCAL SESSION AND CUT OR ADJUSTED ANYWAY THE BRACKET AND PRODUCED CUTS FOR SOME PEOPLE. THERE ARE NOW PENDING A COUPLE OF TEXT BILLS THAT WOULD DIRECTLY INVOLVE THE NATURAL GAS AND PETROLEUM INDUSTRIES TOO AND REDUCTION ON SOME OF THE COMPONENTS USED IN MANUFACTURING AND ONE OF THEM IS TIED UP IN THE COURTS OR THE ISSUE OR SUBSTANCE OF IT IS.

YOU NEVER HAVE A LEGISLATIVE SESSION WHETHER A FISCAL SESSION OR REGULAR SESSION AND OFTEN AN EMERGING SESSION OR SPECIAL SESSION WHERE YOU DON'T CUT TAXES OR CONSIDER TAX CUTS.  I COVERED THE LEGISLATURE GOING BACK TO 1961 AND IN EVERY SESSION SOMEBODY HAS SOME SOMETHING IN THERE AND SPECIAL INTEREST WANTS A TAX CUT OR BREAK AND IN THIS SESSION THERE ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE ANY.  IT'S NOT ANTICIPATED THAT A FISCAL SESSION WOULD BE USED TO CUT OR LOWER TAXES OR ANYTHING ELSE OTHER THAN APPROPRIATIONS, SPENDING MONEY.  THAT'S WHAT A FISCAL SESSION IS AND I'M NOT SURE THIS WILL MEET MUSTER. THERE MIGHT BE A CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE AMENDING AN APPROPRIATION BILL TO CUT TAXES SO THIS IS FOR THE NATURAL GAS AND THE FRACKING INDUSTRY AND THEY USE THE SAND USED TO PROCESS -- TO EXTRACT THE GAS FROM THE GROUND.  THEY DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO PAY SALES TAXES ON THAT SAND, AND THERE THERE'S ALSO --

SOLVENTS.

SOLVENTS OR WASTE DISPOSAL. THEY DON'T WANT TO PAY TAX ON THAT AND REPRESENTATIVES FAVORABLE TO THAT TAKE CARE OF THAT INDUSTRY INTRODUCED -- NOT A SEPARATE BILL BUT AMENDED THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE ADMINISTRATION APPROPRIATIONS BILL FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF FNLS ADMINISTRATION -- IT ACTUALLY COLLECTS THE TAXES FOR THE STATE, SO IT AMENDS THEIR APPROPRIATION BILL TO LOWER, LIMIT THE TAXES SO AS I SAY AND IT'S GOT IN THE BILL.  IT'S GOT IN THE JOINT BUDGET COMMITTEE SO IT'S IN THE BILLS.  I THINK IT MIGHT BE SUBJECT TO CHALLENGE. I DON'T KNOW HOW THE SUPREME COURT WOULD RULE ON THAT BUT NEVERTHELESS.

THERE WAS CONCERN OVER THE COST OF THE BILL AND THEY WERE CALLED UPON TO GIVE SOME ESTIMATE OR LEGISLATIVE STAFF OR BOTH SOME ESTIMATE OF WHAT THE IMPACT WOULD BE.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE ESTIMATE IS BUT I'M WITH ERNIE.

AT THE END OF THE DAY --

THEY DIDN'T HAVE A CHANCE. THEY DIDN'T HAVE A CHANCE TO DO ANALYSIS TO SEE HOW MUCH MONEY IT WOULD COST AND ORDINARILY WHEN RAISING OR CUTTING TAXES YOU GET AN ESTIMATE WHAT THE FISCAL IMPACT OF THIS BILL IS GOING TO BE.  THAT'S WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN DOING FOR YEARS AND NOW THEY SAID "NO WE DON'T HAVE TIME".

AND DOESN'T MATTER HOW MUCH IT COSTS.  YEAH, I THINK EVEN IF YOU'RE SUPPORTIVE OF THIS AND THE COST -- SOME COSTS OF DOING BUSINESS REALLY AREN'T TAXABLE. I MEAN -- I MEAN THAT'S NOT UNCOMMON.  THE QUESTION IS CAN WE OPEN UP THIS SESSION IF WE DO IT HERE IS EVERY SESSION NOW AVAILABLE TO -- FOR A SPECIAL INTEREST TO GET IN AND WORK A LITTLE DEAL IN THAT SESSION?

CLEARLY --

IT MIGHT BE A BAD PRECEDENT.

CLEARLY YOU COULD EXTEND THE SESSION UNDER TWO THIRDS VOTE UNDER THE AMENDMENT THEY PASSED AND EXTEND THIS SESSION TO CONSIDER OTHER MATTERS OR THEY CAN VOTE TO TAKE UP A MATTER THAT IS NOT AN APPROPRIATION MATTER OR A REVENUE STABILIZATION ACT BUT IN THIS INSTANCE WE'RE NOT SURE WE CAN GET THAT SO LET'S AMEND IT AND PUT IT INTO AN APPROPRIATION BILL SO WE WILL SEE WHETHER THAT APPLIES OR NOT BUT OBVIOUSLY IT WAS GOING TO PASS.

OKAY.  MINIMUM WAGE.  WE HAVE TWO PROPOSALS, ONE FEDERAL AND ONE STATE IN THE MAKING AND MICHAEL WE HAD AN ANNOUNCEMENT THIS MORNING -- TWO -- ONE SEEMS ALL TOGETHER UNDERSTANDABLE AND THAT IS SENATOR PRYOR WHO IS THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR RENOMINATION.  HE INDICATED HE SIGNED ON THE TO THE STATE PROPOSAL.

YEAH AND HE'S GOING TO APPARENTLY MAKE IT OFFICIAL ON SATURDAY MORNING.  HE WILL BE AT A PRESS CONFERENCE TO SUPPORT THE ARKANSAS INITIATIVE THAT WOULD INCREASE THE STATE WAGE TO $6.25 TO $8.50 AN HOUR. ARKANSAS WELL BELOW THE FEDERAL LEVEL.  THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT DEMOCRATS WANT TO MAKE A KEY ISSUE THIS YEAR.  THERE IS POLLING THERE IS BROAD SUPPORT FOR THIS.  I BELIEVE ONE LAST MONTH SAID 70% OF AMERICANS SUPPORT INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE.  EVEN 50% OF REPUBLICANS SUPPORT IT AND ESPECIALLY IN ARKANSAS WITH A STATE WITH A LOT OF POVERTY IT WOULD BE BENEFICIAL.  YOU HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE HERE THAT MAKE MINIMUM WAGE AND STRUGGLE TO GET BY AND SENATOR PRYOR INDICATED THIS WOULD DO A LOT TO HELP THOSE PEOPLE.

AND HE CAN'T ACTUALLY VOTE ON THIS ONE.  HE CAN ONLY ENDORSE IT WHEREAS I HAVEN'T SEEN HIM ENDORSE THE FEDERAL --

WELL, HE'S OPPOSED --

YEAH, HE CAME OUT.

$8.50 AND $10.10 AN HOUR.

YEAH, $10.10 AN HOUR FOR THE FEDERAL WAGE BILL THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT.  THE PRESIDENT IS BEHIND IT.  DEMOCRATS BY IN LARGE IN BOTH HOUSES AND MARK PRYOR BROKE WITH THE PARTY AND THE PRESIDENT ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL AND GOES TOO FAR.  HE SUPPORTS AN INCREASE IN THE MINIMUM WAGE BUT THAT IS TOO FAR TOO FAST TO GO UP TO $10.10 AN HOUR WHERE'S THE ARKANSAS LAW WILL TAKE IT UP -- THE BILL -- OR THE INITIATED ACT IF THEY DO IT WOULD GO FROM $6.25 WHICH IS THE PRESENT ARKANSAS MINIMUM WAGE TO $8.50 OVER THREE YEARS AND A BETTER PACE AND COULD SUPPORT THAT AND IF YOU REMEMBER AND I THINK THE POLES WILL SHOW AGAIN PRETTY SOLID SUPPORT AMONG ARKANSAS VOTERS BUT REMEMBER STEVE BACK IN ABOUT 2005 THE SAME GROUP DID A POLL AND IT SHOWED THIS MASSIVE SUPPORT FOR RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE AND SO THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCES, GOVERNOR MIKE HUCKABEE, THE COMFORTIVE REPUBLICAN MIKE HUCKABEE PANICKED AND SAID WE CAN'T LET THAT HAPPEN AND IT WAS GOING TO MAKE IT PERMANENT AND TIED TO THE COST OF LIVING INDEX AND WE CAN'T LET THAT HAPPEN SO THE GOVERNOR CALLED A SPECIAL SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE TO ENACT A PRIVATE -- INCREASE IN THE ARKANSAS MINIMUM WAGE AND THE GROUP AGREED NOT TO PASS -- NOT TO CIRCULATE PETITIONS AND PUT THEIRS ON THE BALLOT.

SHORT CIRCUIT.

I WONDER IF THAT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN IF THEY GET THE PETITIONS.

WELL, IN THE BOARD ROOM OF BENTONVILLE THEY ARE CONSIDERING ADDING -- WHAT IS GOING ON THERE?

YEAH, THE BOARD ROOMS IN BENTONVILLE AT WAL-MART THEY ARE ARE BOTH SIDES OF THE EQUATION HERE.  THEY ARE A PAYER OF LOW WAGERS AND THEY ARE THE VENDOR OF CHOICE TO PEOPLE WHO EARN LOW WAGES AND YESTERDAY WAL-MART ANNOUNCED THE FOURTH CONSECUTIVE QUARTER OF DECLINING SAME STORE SALES.  SAME STORE SALES BEING THE SALES THAT STORES THAT HAVE BEEN OPEN AT LEAST A YEAR.  NOT NEW SALES -- NOT SALES BECAUSE YOU OPEN A NEW STORE BUT THE STORES YOU'VE HAD AND THOSE ARE ON THE DECLINE.  SEVERAL REASONS FOR THAT AND ONE BEING THE SOCIAL SECURITY TAX WENT UP LAST YEAR, BAD WEATHER, AND ONLINE SALES PULLING SOME OF THAT OFF, BUT ANOTHER THING IS IF PEOPLE JUST HAD MORE MONEY TO SPEND ESPECIALLY ON THE LOWER SEND OF THE SOCIOECONOMIC LEVEL THEY WOULD SPEND MORE OF IT AT WAL-MART, SO FOR WAL-MART TO SUPPORT AN INCREASE IN THE FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE IT WOULD AFFECT THEM DIRECTLY AND SOME OF THEIR LOW END WORKERS BUT IT WOULD ALSO AFFECT THEIR TOP LINE SALES.  IT'S A VERY INTERESTING DILEMMA THERE BUT THEY SEEM TO BE SUPPORTING THE INCREASE IN THE MINIMUM WAGE.

AND BLAMED PART OF THIS ON CUTS TO FOOD STAMPS AND I THINK ONE IN FIVE WAL-MART CUSTOMERS GETS FOOD STAMPS SO THERE IS A THERE BUT RECONSIDERING THINGS AND APPARENTLY DOING MORE SMALLER NEIGHBORHOOD STORES.

RIGHT.  BUT THAT'S PART OF -- LIKE A BIGGER TREND IS THAT THE DAY OF THE BIG BOX MAYBE OVER ANYWAY.  EVEN BEST BUY IS DOING SMALLER FORMAT STORES SO I THINK THAT'S PART OF ANOTHER TREND THAT THEY'RE ALL MIXED IN TOGETHER BUT I THINK WE'RE ABOUT TO -- THE ARGUMENT SEEMS TO BE JUST HOW MUCH HIGHER SHOULD THE MINIMUM WAGE BE, NOT WHETHER IT'S TIME TO INCREASE MINIMUM WAGE.

AND DOMESTIC AND THE NET INCOME FOR [INAUDIBLE] UNDER. IT HAD FALLEN 20%.

THAT'S WAS THE PROFIT.  YES THE PROFIT WAS DONE.  THEY HAD A LOT OF DISCOUNTING AND NOT A PARTICULARLY GOOD HOLIDAY SEASON, BUT WAL-MART IS STILL ENORMOUS AND THEIR OVERALL SALES WERE UP A LITTLE BIT BUT THE DAYS OF FAST GROWTH FOR WAL-MART ARE LONG SINCE PASTED.

WE HAVE FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT FACTORED IN THERE WITH BENEFITS -- YOU KNOW JUST GENERALLY LESS MONEY OUT THERE.

YEAH, AND THOSE ARE THEIR TARGET AUDIENCE.

OR WOULD BE AND THE FOURTH QUARTER.

AND THE FOOD SALES, GROCERY SALES WERE WAY DOWN AFTER THE CUT IN FOOD STAMPS AT THE END OF FISCAL YEAR OR END OF THE LAST CALENDAR YEAR AND THAT IS A FACTOR AS WELL.

WE SHOULD PUT ON THE RECORD THE GENTLEMAN THAT NOW SITS, THE REPUBLICAN MEMBER OF CONGRESS FOR THE 1ST DISTRICT AND MAYOR OF HEBER SPRINGS AND HIS NAME HAS BEEN FLOATED FOR A WHILE.

HIS NAME HAS BEEN FLOATED FOR A WHILE.  JACKIE -- HELP ME OUT.

JACKIE MCPHERSON.

JACKIE MCPHERSON.  HE'S 55 AND SO THE DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR A CANDIDATE IN THAT DISTRICT BECAUSE SOME FELT THAT'S THE BECOMES BEST PROSPECT FOR PICKS UP A SEAT IN THE AREA. TRADITIONALLY IT'S A REPUBLICAN IN THAT PART OF ARKANSAS AND REMAINS TO BE SEEN IF THE DEMOCRATS RAISE ENOUGH MONEY FOR A RACE BUT NOW THEY WILL HAVE A RACE IN THREE OF THE FOUR DISTRICTS AND THREE OF THE DISTRICTS DEMOCRATS CAN BE SUCCESSFUL AND THERE ARE STRONG CANDIDATES.

AND WITH EACH PASSING DAY IT SEEMS LESS AND LESS LIKELY THAT FORMER MAYOR HAYS OF NORTH LITTLE ROCK WILL HAVE LITTLE COMPETITION IN THE PRIMARY.

THE DEMOCRATS DON'T WANT ANY OPPOSITION.  THEY WANT A CLEAR SHOT AND DON'T WANT TO SPEND THE MONEY IN THE PRIMARIES AND I DON'T KNOW WHO COULD CHALLENGE PAT HAYS IN THE PRIMARY.

HASN'T THAT BEEN THE DEMOCRATS STRATEGY IN EVERY RACE, NOT JUST MAYOR, GOVERNOR, CONGRESS.  EVERYWHERE.  THEY WANT TO CONCENTRATE THE MONEY.

IT COMES OUT OF NO WHERE.

AND THE STALKING HORSE AND AS YOU KNOW STEVE THAT'S AN OLD STRATEGY THAT DEMOCRATS TRIED TO EMPLOY AND WIN AGAINST WINTHROP ROCKEFELLER AND WIN AGAINST HIM IN THE PRIMARY AND THAT STRATEGY MIGHT HAVE WORKED IN 1990 WHEN THEY MANAGED TO BEAT TOMMY ROBINSON IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY AND GOT THE CANDIDATE THEY THOUGHT WOULD BE EASIER TO BEAT, SO THERE MAYBE A STALKING HORSE AND ENCOURAGE SOMEBODY TO GET INTO THE RACE AND I HAVE AN IDEA THEY PROBABLY WILL,  GOING GET INTO THE RACE WITH PAT HAYS.

WITH THAT WE'RE OUT OF TIME. THANKS FOR COMING IN.  TO YOU THANKS ALWAYS FOR WATCHING.  WE WILL  UPDATE THE OPTION NEXT WEEK.

"ARKANSAS WEEK" IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY THE "ARKANSAS TIMES" KEEPING YOU INFORMED BY COVERING PEOPLE, EVENTS, AND POLITICS IN ARKANSAS. BY FM 89 KUAR LITTLE ROCK WITH IN DEPTH NEWS REPORTING, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION EACH WEEKDAY.

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