A E T N Logo P B S logo
Support the Programs You LoveDONATE NOW

Arkansas Week May 2, 2014

Loading the player…

(SCOARK) Three new justices for a seven-member court and a warm potato. (i.d.) With early voting about to begin and the primaries at hand, we'll have the latest, maybe. (Reed) A resignation, a leave of absence, and more questions. (Twisters) But first, the storms did their frightful work, did the response mechanism do its job?

TRANSCRIPT

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE. THANKS FOR JOINING US OR "ARKANSAS WEEK". PRIMARIES AND ELECTIONS COMING UP BUT FIRST THE SMASH TIMER AND LUMBER AND BROKEN HEARTS FRESH IN THE AIR. YES WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE SUNDAY EVENING STORMS THAT TOOK MORE THAN A DOZEN LIVES AND TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PROPERTY DAMAGE. DAVID MAXWELL IS FROM ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND OUR GUEST. THANK YOU FOR COMING IN. CAN YOU GIVE US A QUICK THUMB NAIL WHERE THE SITUATION STANDS.

WE DID GET A PRESIDENTIAL DECLARATION FOR FAULKNER COUNTY AND AN IMPORTANT STEP IN THE EFFORTS AND WE HAVE TEAMS OUT TODAY IN PULASKI AND IN THE AREA AND HOPEFULLY GET THOSE FOLKS ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY AS WELL. THERE IS AN IMPORTANT NUMBER FOR PEOPLE TO REGISTER FER FEMA ASSISTANCE IS 1-800-621-3362 OR IF THEY WOULD PREFER TO GO ON HAD THE LINE GOING TO DISASTERASSISTANCE.GOV WOULD GET THAT PROCESS STARTED. CERTAINLY THE CLEANUP IS CONTINUING TRYING TO GET VOLUNTEERS ORGANIZED, DONATIONS, MANAGEMENT TAKEN CARE OF, SO FOLKS HAVE HAD A TREMENDOUS OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT FOR THE AREAS AND TRYING TO COORDINATE THAT IS TAKING QUITE A BIT OF TIME FOR THE COUNTY.

ON THE INSTITUTIONAL LEVEL OR THE FUNCTIONAL LEVEL ANYWAY DID THE SYSTEM WORK? THE WARNING SYSTEM AND THE RECOVERY SYSTEM, DID IT FUNCTION AS WAS DESIGNED?

I THINK SO. I HAVEN'T HEARD ANYONE SAY THAT THEY DIDN'T GET WARNING. FAULKNER COUNTY HAS A SERVICE THAT PEOPLE CAN ENROLL IN TO GET CALLS WHEN THERE'S A TORNADO WARNING OR A THUNDER STORM WARNING, THAT TYPE OF THING. I LIVE HERE AND I KNOW I GOT SEVERAL CALLS THAT NIGHT, SO I DIDN'T HEAR ANYONE SAY THEY WEREN'T WARNED WHICH IS A GREAT THING. THE SYSTEMS -- I THINK THE RESPONSE SYSTEMS WORKED WELL. ALL THE NEEDED SUPPORT GOT OUT. CERTAINLY STATE AGENCIES WERE OUT ON SCENE, STATE POLICE, OR FORESTRY, GAME AND FISH, MANY OTHERS --

NATIONAL GUARD.

NATIONAL GUARD AND SO I THINK BEST WE CAN TELL AT THIS POINT EVERYTHING IS GOING PRETTY SMOOTHLY.

IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO SAY THAT THIS WAS FORTUNATE GIVEN ALL OF THE DAMAGE AND THE LOSS OF LIFE BUT THESE DIDN'T OCCUR DURING SCHOOL HOURS AND WHICH WOULD HAVE QUANTIFIED THE NIGHTMARE EXPONENTIALLY. MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT IN VILONIA ALL OF THE SCHOOLS HAVE SAFE ROOMS. IT'S TIME FOR ARKANSAS TO START MANDATING SAFE ROOMS SAY IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS?

CERTAINLY FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, NOT LOOKING AT THE COST FACTOR, JUST FROM THE PROTECTION FACTOR I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THAT. WE THROUGH THE HAZARD MITIGATION GRANT PROGRAM WE HELPED FUND A NUMBER OF SCHOOL SAFE ROOMS SO GETTING THAT NUMBER UP IS ALWAYS ON OUR MINDS.

BUT YOU HAVE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS AS WELL FOR INDIVIDUAL HOMEOWNERS, RESIDENTS.

WE DO. IT'S ALMOST TOO POPULAR OF A PROGRAM. WE WILL OPEN THAT UP AGAIN IN SOME TIME THIS SUMMER ONCE WE HAVE FUNDING AGAIN AND PROBABLY SHUT IT DOWN WITHIN A MONTH. WE SPEND ABOUT -- WELL, 1.25 MILLION EVERY YEAR ON INDIVIDUAL SAFE ROOMS AND WITH THE APPLICATIONS THAT COME IN THAT GOES IN ABOUT A MONTH OR LESS.

WHAT'S THE SIZE OF THE INDIVIDUAL GRANTS TO HOMEOWNERS? HOW MANY ASSISTANCE?

IT'S A THOUSAND DOLLAR OR HALF THE COST OF THE SAFE ROOM OR STORM CELLAR OR WHATEVER, SO NORMALLY IT'S A THOUSAND DOLLARS, WHICHEVER IS CHEAPER.

IMPOSSIBLE TO SAY AND DIFFICULT TO SAY BUT TAKING A LOOK AT WHERE THE RECOVERY EFFORT IS NOW WHAT WILL WE SEE IN A WEEK IN TERMS OF POWER RESTORED AND BASIC SERVICE WATER, SEWER? IS IT SIMPLY TOO EARLY?

WELL, I THINK WITHIN A WEEK THOSE DWELLINGS THAT CAN SUSP -- ACCEPT THE POWER WILL HAVE POWER. WATER SERVICE SHOULD BE RESUMED BASED ON THE SAMPLING AND THE BOIL ORDER MAY OR MAY NOT BE LIFTED. I THINK MAYFLOWER WAS UNDER THE ORDER AND VILONIA WAS ABLE TO USE THEIR WATER.

DAVID MAXWELL FROM THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

OUR ROUNDTABLE IN JUST A MOMENT.

BACK NOW WITH THE ROUNDTABLE STARTING WITH JACOB KAUFMANN REPORTER AT KUAR CENTRAL ARKANSAS, RICK FAHR INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST BASED HERE CONWAY AND LANCE REPORTER FOR ARKANSAS BUSINESS. RICK YOU WERE OUT GETTING A LOOK AT THE DAMAGE, THE DESTREGZ?

YEAH, I SAW THE DAMAGE THAT CAME THREE YEARS AGO AND I CAN SAY THIS ONE WAS SIGNIFICANTLY STRONGER, WORSE. THERE WERE ENTIRE SUB DIVISIONS BASICALLY WIPED CLEAN AND WE HEARD ALL OF THE STORIES. IN THE AFTERMATH WHAT HAS BEEN AMAZING TO SEE AND MOST OFTEN IS IN CASES LIKE THIS THE FLOOD OF VOLUNTEERS, THE VOLUNTEERS OF FOOD AND AID THAT COMES IN. THERE ARE MOUNTAINS OF BOTTLE WATER IN TOWN, DOZENS OF VOLUNTEERS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHO HAVE COME IN TO HELP. EVERY COMMERCIAL OUTFIT IN FAULKNER COUNTY THAT HAS A CHARCOAL GRILL HAS BEEN COOKING FOR FOLKS, SO THE RECOVERY EFFORT IS ONGOING NOW AND IT GOT STARTED ACCORDING TO THE MAYOR THERE SEVERAL DAYS EARLIER, SOONER THAN LAST TIME BECAUSE THEY WERE BETTER PREPARED FOR IT SO RECOVERY HAS BEGUN. IT'S GOING TO TAKE A LONG TIME. IF THERE IS ANY TAKE AWAY FROM THIS STORM AND STORMS OF ITS ILK -- I THINK PROBABLY TWO. ONE IS THE ALERT SYSTEMS ARE INCREDIBLE THESE DAYS AND WHEN THE FOLKS IN CHARGE TELL YOU TO TAKE COVER THERE IS AN IMMINENT THREAT OF A TORNADO OR SEVERE STORM TAKE THEIR WORD FOR IT. TAKE COVER, AND NOT JUST IN AN INTERIOR CLOSET IF YOU CAN. IF YOU CAN GET TO A SAFE ROOM THAT HAS THE APPROVED CONSTRUCTION AND DOORS GET TO THAT ROOM BUT TWO PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOL IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH OF A STORM THAT FIRST RESPONDERS HAVE IS THE ABILITY TO GET ROADS CLEARED. I AM TALKING ABOUT GETTING THE POWER LINES OFF THE ROADS AND TREES OFF THE ROADS. THOSE CHAIN SAWS AND THEY CAN SAVE LIVES.

IN AN EPISODE LIKE THIS RICK COORDINATION IS CRUCIAL. CAN YOU ASSESS WHAT YOU SAW? WAS THERE SOMEBODY IN CHARGE?

YES AND EVEN LET ME STEP BACK TO WHAT I SAW TO WHAT I HEARD. I WAS LISTENING TO EMERGENCY RADIO TRAFFIC ON SUNDAY NIGHT IN THE MINUTES AND HOURS AFTERWARD AND THERE WAS IMMEDIATE COORDINATION WITH THE VILONIA FIRE DEPARTMENT, VILONIA POLICE DEPARTMENT, WITH FAULKNER COUNTY SHERIFF, STATE POLICE, DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, AND IMPORTANTLY A NUMBER OF AREA VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS. THERE WERE DOZENS OF VOLUNTEERS FROM ALL THESE LITTLE COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT FAULKNER COUNTY, WHITE COUNTY, PULASKI COUNTY MOVING INTO THE VILONIA AND MAYFLOWER AREAS WITH THEIR PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT AND THEY WERE -- IT WAS AMAZING TO ME TO LISTEN HOW COORDINATED THEY REALLY WERE.

GOT TO MOVE ON TO OTHER SUBJECTS. JACOB WE HAVE IN EFFECT A NEW SUPREME COURT, FOR THE TIME BEING ANYWAY AND FOR A LIMITED PURPOSE WE HAVE THREE NEW JUSTICES.

RIGHT. THE SITUATION WE TALKED ABOUT FOR A FEW WEEKS NOW THERE ARE A NUMBER OF SITTING JUDGES AND THOSE SEEKS OFFICE AS WELL THAT HAVE ADMINISTERED SUSPENSIONS FOR FAILING TO PAY THE DUES AND THERE ARE CASES THERE NOW AND A NUMBER HAVE RECUSED THEMSELVES FOR GOVERNOR BEEBE TO APPOINT SOME SPECIAL JUSTICES AND HOPEFULLY BEFORE THE PRIMARY AND IT STARTS NEXT WEEK FOR EARLY VOTING AND WHETHER IT WOULD LIMIT THEIR ABILITY TO RUN FOR OFFICE OR HOLD IT.

AS YOU SAID WE HAVE MULTIPLE EXAMPLES, MULTIPLE CASES.

RIGHT. I BELIEVE THERE'S 59 SITTING JUSTICES HAVE THIS POTENTIAL VIOLATION INCLUDING THE SUPREME COURT. THEY HAVE A STATED REASON FOR RECUSING THEMSELVES THAT YOU CAN IMAGINE MIGHT BE PART OF IT SO THEY HAVE THE FOUR CASES IN PARTICULAR I SUPPOSE WILL SERVE AS THE DECISION FOR THE REST OF THE 59.

GIVEN THE TIMELINE, GIVEN THE NEARNESS OF THE PRIMARY I THINK IT'S EXPECT THAT THE COURT WHICH GENERALLY CAN DO WHATEVER IT WANTS TO DO WILL FIND A WAY TO PRESERVE THE BALLOT AS MORE OR LESS CONSTITUTED NOW OR PROPOSEED.

I DON'T WANT TO PREDICT --

YEAH, BUT THAT'S NEVER STOPPED US BEFORE.

WE HAVE SEEN JUST IN RECENT WEEKS HOW THESE CASES HAVE MOVED QUICKLY TO THE SUPREME COURT, EVEN THOUGH THE SUPREME COURT INITIALLY DECLINED TO REVIEW THIS AFTER IT WENT THROUGH ALL THE CHANNELS BUT NOW IT SEEMS THAT THE CASES ARE THERE IN A CONSOLIDATED MANNER THERE WILL BE SOME RESOLUTION BEFORE THE PRIMARY SEASON.

YEAH. AND IT'S STILL IN THE COURTS. WE HAVE MORE THAN ON VOTER ID EVEN AS WE TAPE OUR BROADCAST MIDDAY FRIDAY HEARINGS ARE ABOUT TO BE UNDER WAY.

RIGHT. WE HAVE TWO SEPARATE CASES. ONE WE TALKED ABOUT, THE PULASKI ELECTION COMMISSION AGAINST THE STATE BOARD ELECTION COMMISSION AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND REGARDING INITIALLY LIMITED TO ABSENTEE VOTING AND PROCEDURES WITH THAT BUT JUDGE FOX LIFTED THE LAW AS A WHOLE AND SINCE THEN THE SUPREME COURT ISSUED A STAY AND ESSENTIALLY YOU SHOULD HAVE YOUR ID IF YOU GO VOTE BUT THE SUPREME COURT ON THE DAY OF TAPING IS GOING TO HEAR MORE ARGUMENTS ON THE APPEAL FOR THAT DECISION AS WELL AS A SEPARATE SUIT ENTIRELY GIVEN BY THE ACLU SPEAKING TO THE ENTIRETY OF THE LAW.

AND THAT IS INCIDENTALLY THE JUDGE IN THIS CASE IS JUDGE FOX AND ONE OF THE JUDGES THAT HAS A COMPLAINT IN LAWSUITS AND DEALING WITH THE LAPSE IN LAW LICENSE AND THAT IS GOING TO THE SUPREME COURT AND A SIDE NOTE TO WHAT IS HAPPENING THERE.

RICK PUZZLING.

IT IS PUZZLING AND WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THIS VOTER ID -- BACK TO THE JUDICIAL THING -- WHAT'S IT'S ABOUT. THIS IS A FAILURE OF THESE JUDGES TO PAY THEIR LAW LICENSE DUES IN A TIMELY MANNER. WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT SOME SORT OF DISCIPLINE FOR AN ETHICAL MISCONDUCT OR SOMETHING BUT THEY DIDN'T PAY THE DUEOS TIME AND THAT'S WHAT STARTED THIS WHOLE THING.

ON A VOTER ID THING SPECIFICALLY, AND I HAVEN'T LOOKED AT THE ARKANSAS STATUTE IN COMPARED TO OTHER STATES BUT THE TREND NATIONWIDE WOULD APPEAR TO STRIKE THESE THINGS DOWN.

RIGHT AND PART OF THE ACLU ADDING TO THE RULINGS AND WISCONSIN WAS THE OTHER STATE AND HAD DECISIONS MADE AND THERE IS A TREND NATIONWIDE AND ARKANSAS' LAW DOES HAVE SPECIFICS THAT OTHER STATE LAWS DON'T V I AM NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE OTHER STATES TO COMMENT ON THAT THOUGH.

RIGHT. ONTO THE MATTER OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE AND AID -- ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE MR. ALEX REED AND AT LAST REPORT ON LEAVE AND THIS KIND OF COMES FROM UP IN THE ELECTION YEAR, ELECTION SEASON TURMOIL AND INVOLVES THIS AND THE PULASKI ELECTION COMMISSION AND THE SECRETARY OF STATES OFFICE, QUITE A A COMBO THERE.

AND THIS IS ANOTHER STORY FROM BLUE HOG REPORT AND HE HAS A GOOD RECORD LOOKING AT JUDGE MAGGIO AND MARK DARR AND GOOD RECORD ON REPORTING THESE THINGS AND WHILE SERVING AS A COMMISSIONER HE WAS SERVING AS A TREASURY FOR ANNE CREMOR WHO IS RUNNING FOR CONGRESS AND A VIOLATION OF STATE LAW AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST MANAGING ELECTIONS WHILE HAVING A CANDIDATE IN THAT AREA, SO THERE'S THAT ISSUE PERHAPS MORE SERIOUS FEDERAL ISSUE IS WHILE TREASURER HE LOANED $20,000 TO THE CAMPAIGN AND RECEIVED MONEY BACK FROM THE CAMPAIGN FOR THAT LOAN, BUT ONLY CANDIDATES AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS ARE ALLOWED TO DO THAT SO THAT'S ANOTHER ISSUE BEING LOOKED INTO.

IS THERE SOME DOUBT OR QUESTION ABOUT THE TERMS OF REPAYMENT? BECAUSE THE TERM UNAUTHORIZED DISBURSEMENTS WAS USED BY THE CREMOR CAMPAIGN?

I AM NOT FAMILIAR WITH THAT AND UNAUTHORIZED IN ONE SENSE AND NOT AUTHORIZED TO MAKE THE LOAN IN THE FIRST PLACE SO ANY TYPE OF REPAYMENT OF THAT SEEMS A LITTLE QUESTIONABLE.

ON THE POLITICAL SIDE OF THIS THING THIS IS A LITTLE EGG ON SECRETARY STATE'S FACE IT SEEMS BECAUSE BACK FOR THE CAMPAIGN OF THE OFFICE HE WAS VERY CLEAR SAYING "THIS OFFICE WILL BE ABOVE POLITICS. NO ONE WILL HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH POL TIXES WHATSOEVER AND THIS WILL BE THE PEOPLE'S WORK" AND NOT IN THIS CASE AND HE BACKTRACKED FROM THE STATEMENTS A LITTLE BIT, BUT STILL IT'S A LITTLE BIT OF A POLITICAL HOT POTATO.

PARGING WITH A RAISER BLADE AND SECRETARY MARTIN'S SPAINZ ULTIMATELY MIGHT BE VALID BUT YOU'RE RIGHT SEEMS TO BE ANOTHER ADD TO THE TURMOIL THAT AFFLICTED THAT OFFICE.

THAT OFFICE AND OTHERS WITH CONSTITUTIONAL -- NOT TO USE A BROAD BRUSH BUT THERE WERE REPUBLICANS COME IN AND ON THE AUSPICES WE WILL GET RID OF THE GOOD OLD BOY NETWORK UNDER THE DEMOCRATS FOR YEARS WE'RE GOING TO RUN ABOVE THE BOARD SQUEAKY WHEEL THING AND YOU SEE ONE POLITICAL SCWANDEL IF YOU WANT TO CALL IT THAT AFTER ANOTHER AND THIS IS THE WAY THINGS RUN DOESN'T MATTER WHETHER YOU'RE A DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN.

IN THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE AND KNOWING ABOUT IT OR NOT KNOWING IT IT'S BEYOND THE LEGALITIES AND THE PERSON NOT REALIZING HIS EMPLOYEE IS VIOLATING A STATE LAW.

ONTO NATIONAL POLITICS AND THE U.S. SENATE COULDN'T MOVE THIS WEEK LANCE ON A FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE BILL WHICH THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM ARKANSAS IN A REELECTION CAMPAIGN WAS ABSENT.

THAT'S RIGHT. HE PROBABLY HAS A FAIRLY DOESN'T EXCUSE FOR NOT BEING THERE. HE WAS HERE IN ARKANSAS TAKING A PART IN A LOT OF THE RESPONSE AND TOURING OF THE DAMAGE IN MAYFLOWER AND VILONIA, BUT --

HAD HE BEEN THERE --

RIGHT AND THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INTERESTING TO SEE. HE HAS SAID HE IS NOT SUPPORTIVE OF THE FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE TAKING THAT FROM $7.25 TO 10 AN HOUR. THIS IS A MAJOR POLITICAL STRATEGY BY DEMOCRATS IN THIS ELECTION YEAR. THEY THINK THEY HAVE A WINNING ISSUE AND POLLS SUGGEST THAT THEY DO. A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE BUT PRYOR IS ALIGNED WITH BARACK OBAMA AND LIBERAL DEMOCRATS AND HE THINKS THAT INCREASE IS TOO MUCH AND TOO SOON. ON THE OTHER HAND HE'S BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF A MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE HERE IN ARKANSAS AND THERE ARE EFFORTS TO DO THAT AND HE'S SAID BECAUSE ARKANSAS' MINIMUM WAGE WHICH I BELIEVE IS $6.25 IS SO FAR BELOW WHAT THE CURRENT MINIMUM WAGE AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL IS THAT IT COULD STAND TO BE RAISED SO SOME INTERESTING POLITICAL PLAY THERE BY MARK PRYOR I GUESS TRYING TO GET DIFFERENT AUDIENCES OF VOTERS --

WHERE HE STANDS WITH HIS FRIENDS.

SURE. AND WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT BUSINESS AND HOW BUSINESS CAN PLAY A PART IN THE CAMPAIGNS WAL-MART HAS BEEN OPEN MINDED AND IT MIGHT SUPPORT A FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE. A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY BECAUSE WAL-MART COULD EASILY ABSORB THAT MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE OTHER THAN SMALLER COMPETITORS, BUT THOSE INTERESTS OF COURSE WOULD COME INTO PLAY FROM MARK PRYOR AT THE STATE LEVEL AS WELL.

AND THIS IS WHERE PRYOR STANDS ALONE FROM HIS COLLEAGUES AND THEY DIDN'T VOTE FOR THE FILIBUSTER AND REQUIRE THE SPEAKER AND HE WASN'T THERE --

[INAUDIBLE]

YEAH.

ONTO RAW ECONOMIC NUMBERS AND ON FRIDAY NUMBER WE GOT THEM AND HOPEFULLY WILL TRICKLE DOWN,.

WE'RE HOPING SO AND WE WILL SEE HOW REAL IT IS. THIS ON THE FACE SEEMS LIKE A DOESN'T REPORT AND THE JOB ELSE RATE FALLING FROM NO. FROM 6.7% AND ADDING 288,000 JOBS AND THE MOST AND ADDS TO A TREND AVERAGING 200,000 JOBS ADDED TO THE ECONOMY. A LOT IS GOING TO THE THOUGHT WE WERE IN A FALL FROM PARTICULARLY HARSH WINTER AND THE ECONOMY IS FINALLY GAINING SPEED. THE FEDERAL RESERVE BELIEVES THAT AND DECENT ECONOMIC NEWS ON THE EMPLOYMENT SCENE. WE HAVE PEOPLE COMPLETELY OUT OF THE EMPLOYMENT PICTURE. THEY HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR SO LONG THEY'RE OUT OF THE SURVEYS SO A BIG GROUP OF UNEMPLOYED ARE NOT IN THE NUMBERS AND THAT'S A PROBLEM BUT IT'S A GOOD SIGN OF A GOOD TREND WE HOPE WILL CONTINUE IN ARKANSAS.

YEAH, IF THERE IS TRICKLE DOWN WE CAN EXPECT -- THERE HAS BEEN DISCUSSION AND BOTTLED UP CONSUMER DEMAND.

RIGHT. WE'RE SEEING EVIDENCE OF THAT AS WELL AS CONSUMER SPENDING. WE GOT GOOD CONSUMER SPENDING NUMBERS THIS WEEK SO MAYBE PEOPLE DIDN'T SPEND JUST BECAUSE OF THE SHEER WINTER WEATHER AND DIDN'T GET OUT TO DO IT THERE ARE PENT UP DEMAND FOR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES THEY'RE GOING TO SORT OF WORK ON IN THE COMING MONTHS.

AND ALSO JUST AS WE WERE PREPARING THE BROUGHT A DEPARTMENT FROM THE FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION AND FISCAL YEAR AND GENERAL REVENUE IS UP 1.9% OVER FORECAST FOR THE FISCAL WHICH ENDS JUNE 30.

ANOTHER GOOD SIGN THERE. AGAIN THESE AREN'T HUGE NUMBERS AND GAINS BUT THEY DO TEND TO SUGGEST A POSITIVE TREND THAT WE WOULD RATHER BE GOING THAT WAY THAN THE OTHER.

RICK, JACOB, DO YOU SEE THIS AT THE CONSUMER LEVEL WHEN YOU'RE OUT AND ABOUT?

I THINK THERE ARE OBVIOUS REASONS OF THE JOBS COMING INTO THE ECONOMY AND SPENDING. THIS TIME OF YEAR THERE ARE GOING TO BE SEASONAL AGRICULTURE JOBS ADDED AND THERE HAS BEEN SOYBEANS AND RICE PUT INTO THE GROUND RECENTLY AND WHEN THE FARMERS GET INTO THE FIELD THEY START SPENDING MONEY.

I SPEND MOST TIME IN LITTLE ROCK AND THERE IS CONSTRUCTION ALL OVER THE PLACE THERE. YOU SEE MORE BUILDINGS GOING UP AND STORES WITH LESS VACANCIES AND I SPOKE WITH A CHIEF ECONOMISTS ABOUT THE NUMBERS OVER THE MONTHS AND WHAT YOU'RE SAYING AND THE TRENTD OVER THE THREE TO SIX MONTHS OF GROWTH AND ALMOST ALL SECTORS.

IN ANY ADMINISTRATION WOULD LOVE TO SEE THESE HUGE LEAPS. ON THE OTHER HAND THEY'RE WISE -- THEY WOULD RATHER HAVE STEADY INCREMENTAL GROWTH THAN AN ABRUPT LEAP THAT CAN GO TO AN ABRUPT DIVE.

YEAH. YOU WANT A STEADY GROWTH IN THE ECONOMY AND WANT THE NUMBERS TO BE REAL PARTICULARLY FOR THE COMPARISONS FOR NEXT YEAR AS WELL, SO YEAH THIS KIND OF GROWTH IS GOOD, AND THE GROWTH TODAY IS DESCRIBED AS WIDESPREAD OVER A LOT OF DIFFERENT SECTORS, FOOD SERVICE, RETAIL TRADE AND PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS SERVICE SO IT TOUCHES A LOT OF THE PARTS OF THE ECONOMY.

RICK NOTHING MUCH FARMERS CAN DO ABOUT DIESEL PRICES EVEN THOUGH THEY USE A LOT ABOUT IT BUT THE SUPPLY IS STABLE EVEN THOUGH THE PRICE ISN'T WHAT THEY LIKE.

YEAH AND THE PRICES AREN'T WHAT THEY LIKE BUT WHAT KILLED THEM IS THE FERTILIZER NITROGEN AND THAT HAS GONE UP AND THEY ARE USING NEW METHODS AND NOT GO ACROSS THE FIELDS AS MANY TIME OR USE THE FERTILIZER AND THERE ARE CROP ROTATION AND DIFFERENT METHODS AND THEY'RE SMARTER THAN THEY USED TO BE.

EARLY BUT PRICES?

GOOD. CORN HAS GONE UP SOME OVER THE YEARS BUT RICE IS GOOD. BEANS ARE REALLY GOOD.

ALL RIGHT. WITH THAT WE'VE GOT TO LET IT GO BECAUSE WE'RE OUT OF TIME. GENTLEMEN THANK YOU FOR COMING IN AND TO YOU THANKS ALWAYS FOR WATCHING AND WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.

AETN.org > Programs > Arkansas Week > Arkansas Week May 2, 2014