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Arkansas Week May 23, 2014

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(Re-cap) The primary shakeout, and a handful of runoffs, we'll run through them. (P.O.) The private option, a first read of the January tea leaves. (Stayed) Gay marriage, what to expect after the expected stay? (Growth) And the business of Arkansas, how much bigger?

TRANSCRIPT

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE. THANKS FOR JOINING US "ARKANSAS WEEK". A FULL AGENDA, OUR POST PRIMARY EDITION. GWEN MORITZ JOIN US US FROM ARKANSAS BUSINESS AND DOUG THOMPSON FROM THE NORTHWEST ARKANSAS NEWSPAPERS. AT KUAR MICHAEL HIBBLEN IS THE NEWS DIRECTOR OF RADIO IN CENTRAL ARKANSAS AND THANK YOU FOR COMING IN. WELL, THE VOTERS HAVE SPOKEN IN A PREDICTABLY LOW TURNOUT ELECTION AND ALL OF THE ELECTION WAS ON THE GOP SIDE.

IT WAS ON THE GOP SIDE. A 20.7 PERCENT TURNOUT. IT WAS AN ELECTION THAT MOTIVATED TEA PARTY TYPES -- CHANGE THE COUNTRY TYPE VOTERS COULD HAVE MADE THE DIFFERENCE AND THEY DID NOT SHOW UP BUT THEY DIDN'T SHOW UP. I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON BUT IT'S AN ELECTION WITH HOT BUTTON ISSUES THAT YOU EXPECT -- AT LEAST THE STATE LEVEL DIDN'T MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

WELL OF COURSE MUCH OF THE DIFFERENCE WAS ON THE REPUBLICAN LEGISLATIVE PRIMARIES MICHAEL AND GWEN IN WHICH THE PRIVATE OPTION WAS ACCORDING TO REPUBLICAN OFFICIALS IT WAS THE ISSUE IN VIRTUALLY ALL OF THE CONTESTED PRIMARIES YET IT'S HARD TO DRAW CONCLUSIONS FROM THE OUTCOMES AND YOU HAD WINNERS AND LOSERS.

AND THE REPUBLICAN OFFICIALS THAT SAID IT WAS A HOT BUTTON ISSUE WERE WRONG AND I WILL LET MICHAEL ADDRESS IT BUT IT DIDN'T DO THAT.

MICHAEL.

WE DIDN'T SEE THIS AS CHANGED ANYTHING YET. ONE SUPPORTER OF THE PRIVATE OPTION OPTED OUT. ANOTHER DID GO FOR REELECTION AND YOU HAVE A THIRD, JOHN BURGESS AND RUNNING FOR THE SENATE AND DIDN'T SEEM TO RESONATE WITH THE PRIMARY VOTERS.

THE ISSUE BEFORE THEY WERE AGAINST IT -- TAKE THE GENTLEWOMAN FROM MOUNTAIN VIEW AND SWITCHED HER VOTE AND CLOBBERED A PRIMARY OPPONENT.

LOOK AT THE ONE RACE OF SOMEONE CLEARLY FOR THE PRIVATE OPTION WAS DEFEATED BY SOMEONE WHO WAS CLEARLY AGAINST IT. TERRY RICE VERSUS BRUCE -- (LOW AUDIO) AND WRAPS AROUND FORT SMITH. THAT RACE WAS A BASIC TURNOUT RACE AND BRUCE [INAUDIBLE] COMES FROM SEBASTIAN COUNTY AND CRAWFORD COUNTY UP NORTH HAD TURNOUTS RIGHT IN LINE WITH THE STATE AVERAGE, 18% VOTER TURNOUT. SCOTT COUNTY TURNED OUT FOR TERRY RICE OF WALDEN 39%, ALMOST TWICE THE RATE OF TURNOUT AS THE STATE AVERAGE, AND THERE WERE ONLY FIVE COUNTIES THAT HAD A TURNOUT THAT WERE HIGHER IN THE STATE OF ARKANSAS, 39% TURNOUT AND THEY VOTED FOR TERRY RICE 85%.

WELL, YOU HAD A HOMETOWN FACTOR THERE. MR. RICE'S ROOTS IN THAT AREA GO BACK A LONG WAY.

IT WAS A SIMPLE PURE AND ONE ONE OF THE MOST POAN EPTD TURNOUT ELECTIONS I HAVE EVERY SEEN. NOW, IF SOMEONE WANTS TO MAKE THE ARGUMENT THAT THE PEOPLE IN THE AREA ARE MORE UPSET ABOUT THE PRIVATE OPTION THAN THE OTHER AREAS I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR THE LOGIC BUT IT MADE NO DIFFERENCE AND BILL SAMPLE WHO RAN AGAINST THE PRIVATE OPTION AND RAN AGAINST MR. O'NEAL WHO WAS ADAMANTLY AGAINST IT. YOU WOULD THINK MR. SAMPLE WON HANDIDLY AND BOTH IN GARLAND AND CELINE COUNTY AND THEY WERE ANTI PRIVATE OPTION CANDIDATES STATE TREASURER AND HAD NO IMPACT AS WE CAN TELL. MR. BURPO AND BURGESS AND ONE GOT 61% AND THE OTHER GOT 60%, A PURE GEOGRAPHIC.

NOW THAT'S GOING TO BE A RUNOFF PRIMARY. MICHAEL WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE.

WELL, WE WILL SEE. GOING INTO THIS THE CANDIDATES WANT TO APPEAL TO THE BASE AND IT'S GOING TO BE A SMALL TURNOUT. LIKE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S RACE HAVE THE CANDIDATES APPEALING TO THE BASE TRYING TO GET PEOPLE OUT TO VOTE AND WE HAD A SMALL TURNOUT AND YOU WILL HAVE A SMALLER FACTION COMING OUT FOR THE PRIMARY AND THEY WANT TO MOTIVATE THEIR SUPPORTERS AND GET THEM OUT.

THERE ARE TWO SPECIAL FACTORS TO MENTION IN THAT RACE. NUMBER ONE MR. BURGESS IS FROM THAT COUNTY, HARRIS AND THEY HAD OTHER RUNOFFS, INCLUDING THE SHERIFF'S RACE. THAT WILL HELP HIM OUT. THE OTHER THING IS MR. FLIPO COMES FROM BAXTER COUNTY AND [INAUDIBLE] AND HE IS THE CLEAR ANTIPRIVATE OPTION CANDIDATE AND THE DIRECTOR, THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE BAXTER MEDICAL CENTER GOT BEFORE A LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE AND SAID LOOK THE PRIVATE OPTION IS THE DIFFERENCE OF US IN THE BLOCK AND NOT LOSING MONEY. IT IS MAKING THE DIFFERENCE. I DON'T THINK THE TURNOUT IN BAXTER COUNTY IS TO BE AS HIGH. WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

HE'S NOT THE ONLY HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR --

THAT'S A POINT EVEN IN THE GOP BASE WHAT DO WE CALL IT?

YEAH.

THAT'S A BIG QUESTION NATIONALLY EVEN BUT SOME TRADITIONAL CONSERVATIVES, REPUBLICAN TYPE SUPPORTERS, THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND BUSINESS COMMUNITY HAVE LOOKED AT THIS THING AS PURE DOLLARS AND SENSE. THIS IS NOT AN IDEOLOGICAL QUESTION FOR THEM. THE QUESTION IS WHAT DIFFERENCE WILL IT MAKE TO OUR PROVIDERS, TO OUR HOSPITALS, TO OUR DOCTORS IF 150 -- 200,000 MORE ARKANSANS HAVE SOMEONE TO PAY FOR THE CARE THEY NEED, HAD A PAYER AND IN THIS CASE THE PRIVATE OPTION, WHICH IS OUR KIND OF UNIQUE APPROACH TO EXPANDING MEDICAID, WHICH WAS OPTIONAL UNDER OBAMACARE, AND MOST STATES IN THE SOUTH DID NOT DO IT, BUT ARKANSAS DID BY MOVING THESE MEDICAID ELIGIBLES INTO PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE. THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED THE PRIVATE OPTION AND IT'S HELPING THE MAKEUP THE ENTIRE RISK POOL IN THE MEDICAL EXCHANGES HERE IN THE HEALTH CARE EXCHANGES HERE, SO IT'S HELPING INDIVIDUALS. IT'S HELPING THE PROVIDERS, THE HOSPITALS PARTICULARLY, AND IT'S HELPING OTHER PEOPLE IN THOSE SAME RISK POOLS WHO HAVE A HEALTHIER YOUNGER POOL TO BE -- YOU KNOW, TO HAVE THEIR PRICES SET BY, AND I THINK THAT THOSE THAT HAVE GOTTEN PAST THE IDLODGOLOGY THAT THIS IS A GOVERNMENT TAKE OVER OF THE HEALTH INSURANCE AND WE DON'T LIKE IT AND HAVE LOOKED AT THE DOLLARS AND CENTS AND MAYBE IT'S NOT A BAD THING.

THAT'S AN IMPORTANT POINT. GO AHEAD SFEEF.

TO AMPLIFY ON THAT I GO BACK TO THE JUDGES THAT I SPOKEN TO OVER THE LAST 18 MONTHS AND THEY'RE VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED TO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND OBAMACARE AND WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING I HAVE A HOSPITAL HERE --

THERE YOU.

AND THESE ARE ELECTED PUBLIC OFFICIALS. WE HAVE TO MAKE THE BEST OF THIS THING AND YOU WE HAVE A HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR HANGING ON LINE TOO.

YEAH.

AND I GUESS THE LARGER POINT IS WE'RE UP TO 130,000 ENROLLEES.

[INAUDIBLE] OF THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF ARKANSAS OF VOTING AGE. IT'S INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO FIND A VOTER IN ARKANSAS WHO DOESN'T KNOW SOMEBODY WHO HASN'T BEEN HELPED BY OBAMACARE AT ALL.

WHICH KIND OF LEAD US TO THE POINT WE WANT TO KICK AROUND, AND THAT IS THE PRIMARY AND THE RUNOFF AND THE NOVEMBER GENERAL IS THOUGHT TO BE -- ARGUED TO BE CONSIDER CRUCIAL AND NOBODY IS SAYING IT'S NOT IMPORTANT TO THE FUTURE OF THE PRIVATE OPTION BUT ALSO A BIT OF POLITICAL MOMENTUM -- BASE -- TO USE THAT WORD, SEEMS TO BE DEVELOPING FOR THE PRIVATE OPTION IN THE MEANTIME. MICHAEL CAN WE READ THE TEA LEAVES WITH THAT.

WE WILL SEE BUT THE PRIVATE OPTION NEEDS TO BE VOTED ON AND RENEWED BY THE LEGISLATURE. IT WAS TIGHT THIS YEAR. THE SENATE HAD NO VOTES TO SPARE AND THE HOUSE HAD ONE VOTE TO SPAY SO THAT'S WHY ATTENTION IS FOCUS ON THE LEGISLATIVE RACES AND IT MIGHT BE SAFE TO SAY DOUG WE WILL HAVE A FEW LEGISLATORS WHO WILL END UP THAT DID OPPOSE THIS AND TIED TO OBAMACARE WHO MIGHT CHANGE THEIR MINDS.

AND NO POLITICAL ADVANTAGE TO VOTING AGAINST THIS ANYMORE.

THERE ISN'T, AND IT JUST SEEMS EVENTUALLY PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO DECIDE DO WE WANT THIS MONEY IN ARKANSAS OR DO WE WANT TO TURN IT AWAY BECAUSE OF THE NAME OBAMACARE OR BECAUSE OF IDEOLOGY. THERE'S THE -- THE MONEY -- OTHER STATES HAVE TURNED IT DOWN AND THERE ARE PEOPLE GETTING ANGRY IN THOSE STATES WHEN THEY REALIZE IF I MOVED ACROSS THE BORDER I WOULD HAVE MEDICAID COVERAGE OR THE PRIVATE OPTION IF I MOVED TO ARKANSAS AND THESE OTHER STATES ARE THROWING MONEY AWAY WITH BOTH HANDS AND ARKANSAS HAS BEEN ABLE TO BALANCE ITS STATE BUDGET BECAUSE OF THE PRIVATE OPTION. OF COURSE WE DID IT BEFORE THE PRIVATE OPTION TOO, BUT WE WILL HAVE TO CUT SOMETHING ELSE IN ORDER TO DO THIS. THE AMOUNT OF CHARITY CARE THAT OUR HOSPITALS HAVE TO DO IT'S EVENTUAL EVENTUALLY PAID BY SOMEONE, EITHER THE TAXPAYER OR THE OTHER PATIENTS THAT ARE INSURED. THOSE THINGS ARE GOING DOWN, ALL OF THE PROBLEMS THIS WAS MEANT TO SOLVE AND IT CREATED SOME PROBLEMS BUT IT'S SOLVING SOME OF THE PROBLEMS.

AND DOUG IN THE HIERARCHY THAT IT WAS ENGINEERED BY A GREAT MANY REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS, THE PRIVATE OPTION.

THAT'S A KEY POINT. FIRST OF ALL LET ME POINT SOMETHING OUT HERE GWEN IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. THE VOTERS WANT TO MOVE ON.

[INAUDIBLE]

THAT'S THE FIRST THING. THE SECOND THING WE OF TALKING ABOUT AND I EXPLICITLY SAID VOTING AGAINST THE OPTION THERE IS NO POLITICAL ADVANTAGE FOR IT ANYMORE. LET ME BE FAIR AND SAY IF YOU'RE A DEMOCRAT EXPECTING TO RUN IN NOVEMBER ON THE SAVE THE PRIVATE OPTION TICKET YOU NEED A DIFFERENT TOPIC BUT ANYWAY YOU'RE TALKING HOW EMBARRASSING IT IS FOR STEAK LEADERS --

AWKWARD.

MISQUOTED YOU. SORRY ABOUT THAT. ON THE AIR TOO. THE MOST PERCEPTIVE COMMENT I READ ABOUT THIS WHOLE DEBATE WAS UTTERED BY BILL VICTORY, THE LITTLE ROCK CONSULTANT AND I CAN'T QUOTE HIM DIRECTLY BUT I CAN GET CLOSE. "THE PRIVATE OPTION IS NOT ABORTION. THE PRIVATE OPTION IS NOT GUNS. THE PRIVATE OPTION IS NOT ONE OF THOSE ISSUES WHERE YOU HAVE TO PASS THE TEST OR YOU'RE OUT IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY ANYMORE. IT IS SOMETHING WHERE THEY'RE AT LEAST WILLING TO CONSIDER YOUR POINT OF VIEW," AND THAT IS AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION AND TO EMBELLISH IT FURTHER AND TAKE IT THERE IT'S NOT OBAMACARE EITHER. YOU CAN ARGUE YOU TAKE THE MONEY IT'S OBAMACARE AND YOU MIGHT WIN THE DEBATE WHEN WE SCORE IT UP, BUT VOTERS HAVE MADE THE DISTINCTION. ANY REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE THAT SAID -- I CAN'T IMAGINE THIS HAPPENING "YOU KNOW IN HINDSIGHT THAT OBAMACARE WAS A PRETTY GOOD IDEA".

WE PERCEIVE THEY HAD SUCCESS IN REBRANDING IT.

YES. THEY DID. IF PRIVATE OPTION WAS PERCEIVED POLITICALLY BY THE VOTERS AS OBAMACARE THEY WOULD BE BEAT. ALL THESE CANDIDATES WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WOULD BE BEAT BUT THEY HAVE MADE THE -- THE VOTERS HAVE MADE THAT DISTINCTION.

MICHAEL SOME VOTERS HAD A PROBLEM ON ELECTION DAY. OF COURSE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE VOTER ID DILEMMA OR CONFUSION.

STARTING AT THE TOP OF THE TICKET. [LAUGHTER]

ASA HUTCHINSON SHOWED UP TO VOTE EARLY ON MONDAY AND FORGOT HIS ID AND SENT AN AIDE TO GO GET IT.

[INAUDIBLE]

YEAH, WE'RE GETTING ANECDOTAL REPORTS FROM AROUND THE STATE THAT APPARENTLY IN SEVERAL COUNTIES POLL WORKERS TOOK IT UPON THEMSELVES TO QUIZ VOTERS ABOUT THE INFORMATION ON THEIR ID AFTER IT WAS PRESENTED ASKING THEM ONCE THEY HAND THE ID. OKAY. WHAT'S YOUR DATE OF BIRTH? WHAT IS YOUR ADDRESS? THAT'S NOT WHAT IS STATED IN THE LAW. THEY CAN ASK THAT BUT IT'S BEFORE YOU GET THE ID AND USED TO JUSTIFY THE NAME AND THE LIKENESS OF THE PICTURE. THE ACLU ARE ELECT TO FILE A COMPLAINT ABOUT THIS AND IN SKEW SKEW COUNTY BRIAN POST HE'S GOING TO INSTRUCT HIS WORKERS THIS IS NOT HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO WORK.

ABSENTEE ALSO, SOME DIFFICULTY.

YEAH, A LOT OF BALLOTS WERE REJECTED AND SEBASTIAN COUNTY AND 80 OUT OF --

ST. FRANCIS.

AND APPARENTLY REJECTED BECAUSE VOTERS DIDN'T INCLUDE PROOF OF ID. THIS IS THE ONGOING ISSUE WITH THIS AND HOW THE ABSENTEE BALLOTS ARE HANDLED AND IT WASN'T SPELLED OUT IN THE LEGISLATION AND YOU HAVE A LAWSUIT FILED BY THE ACLU AND IT WAS FOUND UNCONSTITUTIONAL BUT THE JUDGE ISSUED A STAY UNTIL IT'S GOING TO THE SUPREME COURT AND IT'S GOING TO BE PROBLEMATIC. THE LAW HAS TO BE REVISED AND A LOT OF PEOPLE SAYING YEAH THIS IS INDEED DISENFRANICIZING VOTERS AS CRITICS SAID IT WOULD.

BE SPEAKING OF SUPREME COURT, AND HOT BUTTON ISSUES THE SUPREME COURT AFTER OUR LAST EDITION OF THE PROGRAM ISSUED A STAY, NOT UNANTICIPATED, IN JUDGE PIAZZA'S RULING OUT OF PULASKI COUNTY ON GAY MARRIAGE AND WE'RE INTO MONTHS OF PLEADINGS, BRIEFS, PROBABLY [INAUDIBLE]

PROBABLY. IT'S -- THE TREND IS IN ON THIS. LET'S LOOK BEYOND THE ARKANSAS BORDERS. SINCE OUR RULING OVER TURNING THE GAY MARRIAGE AMENDMENT --

THREE, TWO --

AT LEAST TWO THAT I KNOW OF. UTAH I THINK OREGON IS ON THE CUSP.

PENNSYLVANIA.

YEAH, PENNSYLVANIA. IT'S UP TO HOW MANY STATES NOW?

WELL, OVER 20.

OVER 20 --

AND HALF AT A MINIMUM.

AND 10 HAD THINGS LIKE -- I SAID THE GAY MARRIAGE AMENDMENT -- I MEAN THE TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT WHICH WAS PASSED IN 2004. THE TREND IS IN HERE. WE'RE ALL FOLLOWING A WELL BLAZED LEGAL TRAIL. THE ARGUMENTS HAVE BEEN SIMILAR IN ALL OF THESE STATES. WE HAD A SUPREME COURT RULING SAYING IT WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. YOU NEED A RULER TO TELL THE TIDE HERE. IN ADDITION TO THAT SOME OF THE OUTRAGE AND "I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED" AND WE HAD PEOPLE THAT PASSED IT AND CHALLENGES AND IN COURT IT'S NOT GOING TO STAND UP. IT'S SIMPLY NOT CREDIBLE TO BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE ARE SHOCKED THAT THIS DEVELOPED AS IT DID.

AM I WANT ONLY ONE -- I DON'T WANT TO UNDER ESTIMATE THE OPPOSITION ON THE ISSUE --

OH NO THIS IS A SIMPLE MATTER OF THE VOTE.

[INAUDIBLE] 75% LIKE 10 YEARS AGO.

IT IS BEEN SO MOVED TO WHAT ONE MIGHT HAVE EXPECTED TEP YEARS AGO WHEN THE AMENDMENT PASSED AND WE HAVE CLERGY AT THE CAPITOL THURSDAY I THINK AND THE STATE WIDE DAILY BY MY THINKING AND EXTRAORDINARILY SMALL NUMBER OF PROTESTING OPPOSITION LETTERS, AND VERY FEW VISIBLE PROTESTERS AT THE COURTHOUSE.

GWEN RAISING AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT POINT. I WILL LET YOU MAKE IT.

YEAH, THIS ISN'T ARKANSAS BUT IT'S NATIONALLY, INTERNATIONALLY THAT THE THINKING TOWARDS GAY COUPLES, GAY MARRIAGE IS CHANGING RADICALLY AND THAT IS A FUNCTION OF THE MORE OUT THE HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY IS PEOPLE KNOW SOMEONE I LOVE, SOMEONE I WORK WITH, RELATED TO IS ONE, AND NOW WE -- IT'S NOT THEM. IT'S NOT LIKE RACE WHERE YOU'RE CLEARLY ONE OR THE OTHER AND YOU KNOW IT BUT THE ATTITUDES ARE CHANGING TOWARD THE -- NOT NECESSARILY RELIGIOUS ATTITUDES THOUGH. PEOPLE MAY BELIEVE AND MANY DO THAT THE BEHAVIOR IS UNACCEPTABLE, MORALLY BUT THEY'RE NOT WILLING TO PUNISH PEOPLE THEY KNOW THIS WAY, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT'S MORE REALIZED AS VICTIMLESS. THIS IS NOT PEDOPHILIA. THIS IS CONSENTING ADULTS, SO I THINK WE'RE SEEING THE CHANGE IN THAT NATIONALLY. I THINK THE PROBLEM IN ARKANSAS HAS BEEN THAT THE RULING PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN STAYED FROM THE BEGINNING AND STAYED HIS OWN RULING AND HERE'S MY TAKE ON IT BUT BEFORE WE OPEN THE FLOOD GATES AND CREATE A BUNCH OF STATUSES WHERE PEOPLE THAT GOT MARRYOD THIS DAY IN THIS COUNTY -- WHATEVER, BEFORE WE CREATE A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT MARITAL STATUSES LET'S GO TO THE SUPREME COURT TO DETERMINE THAT. ULTIMATELY WILL IT TAKE THE NATIONAL SUPREME COURT TO DECIDE IT AND WHETHER DENYING MARITAL PRIVILEGES IN A CIVIL WAY, GOVERNMENT STATUS, IS CONSTITUTIONAL OR UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND I REALLY DON'T KNOW WHICH WAY THIS PARTICULAR SUPREME COURT WILL GO.

THE BUSINESS OF ARKANSAS SOME INTERESTING STUFF ON THAT FRONT.

YEAH, GOING TO PLUG THE ISSUE OF ARKANSAS BUSINESS COMING OUT --

SHAMELESS PLUG.

HEAR ME OUT. THESE ARE THE PRIVATELY HELD COMPANIES AND WE SURVEY THEM EVERY YEAR AND GET A REMARKABLE AMOUNT OF COOPERATION IN LEARNING THE PRIVATE, THE SECRET INFORMATION FROM THEM ON REVENUE AND NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES AND THINGS. WE DO 75 OF THEM AND OF THOSE 75 MORE THAN 60 ACTUALLY VOLUNTEER THEIR INFORMATION WHICH IS -- I AM JUST REALLY PROUD OF THAT AND WHAT WE'RE SEEING IS REALLY AN UP SWING IN MOST OF THEM. 75% OF THE COMPANIES THAT WE HEARD FROM HAD IMPROVED REVENUE LAST YEAR AND STARTING TO HIRE AGAIN. THERE IS A LOT OF ACQUISITIONS GOING ON. THESE ARE LARGE NUMBERS AND THEY'RE MAKING ACQUISITIONS OF SMALLER COMPANIES AND THAT IS IMPROVING THEIR REVENUE. SOME OF THEM ARE SELLING OFF DIVISIONS AND COSTING REVENUE BUT THEY'RE MAKING A PROFIT WHEN THEY SELL THOSE DIVISIONS. WE'RE JUST SEEING A LOT OF IMPROVEMENT, A LOT MORE OPTIMISM WHEN WE TALK TO THE EXECUTIVES AT THESE COMPANIES. WE HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR 27 CONSECUTIVE YEARS, A LIST OF THE LARGEST PRIVATE COMPANIES, AND I CONSIDER IT A HISTORIC DOCUMENT TO SEE THE TRENDS IN BUSINESS AND WHICH AGREES ARE UP AND DOWN AND WHICH ARE CONSOLIDATING AND ARKANSAS BUSINESS ON MONDAY.

GWEN A NET JOB, EMPLOYMENT INCREASE SOME.

IN MOST OF THE COMPANIES IT'S NOT INTRFERL BECAU -- BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY THERE AND THE COMPANIES IN A POSITION TO ACQUIRE OTHER COMPANIES YOU KNOW THAT SPEAKS WELL OF THEM, BUT IT OFTEN SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT CONSOLIDATION OF CERTAIN INDUSTRIES.

WELL, A COUPLE MINUTES REMAINING. IS THERE A SECTOR IMPROVING THE FASTEST?

WE DON'T INCLUDE BANKING BECAUSE IT'S DIFFERENT BUT WE KNOW THAT THE BANKING SECTOR IN ARKANSAS IS DOING REMARKABLY WELL COMPARED TO THE LARGER ONES IN ARKANSAS. STEVE WILLIAMS AT MAVERICK TRANSPORTATION SAID HE COULD HIRE 500 DRIVERS TODAY IF HE COULD FIVE THEM.

500.

500 OF THEM AND WHAT COULD WE DO TO GET THE PEOPLE? WE HAVE A COMPANY THAT SAYS IF I HAD 500 MORE DRIVERS TODAY WE COULD PUT THEM TO WORK.

MAYBE A QUESTION IS WHAT COULD ARKANSAS DO TO HAVE THE DRIVERS AND NOT FIND THEM?

OF COURSE ALL. DRIVERS DON'T HAVE TO BE IN ARKANSAS -- MAYBE SURE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT, BUT THE TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY IS LOOKING FOR DRIVERS, DRIVERS, DRIVERS, NOT JUST MAVERICK BUT ALL OF THEM ARE, AND THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT THAT IS THEY CAN'T GO ANYWHERE ELSE AND FIND THEM EITHER. THIS IS AN AREA THAT IS UNDER SERVED NATIONALLY SO I DON'T SEE THAT COMPANY PICKING UP AND MOVING SOMEWHERE ELSE IN ORDER TO DO THAT.

THAT'S OUR TIME THIS WEEK. THANKS FOR COMING IN. TO YOU AS ALWAYS THANKS FOR WATCHING. SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.

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