Monday Matters - November 16 - The Work Continues!
Thank you! Pausing to catch my breath, I want to express again my deep appreciation for all of you who participated in our electoral process and supported and encouraged my efforts to be the next representative for Arkansas’ House District 96. It was not to be. I lost at the rate of 2-1 which was much of what we saw in Benton County and the State for a candidate of the Democratic Party. It’s okay. Being in the political minority does not mean you have no influence on public policy – it just means you have to work harder – consistently and with clarity. The work continues – and I will stay engaged!
Action Plan: PLEASE consider calling Governor Hutchinson and telling him that you want him to fully fund the mental health needs of Arkansas’ kids and adults before any more tax cuts are approved. If you agree, send a message to the Governor at https://governor.arkansas.gov/online-services/contact-us/ or make a phone call at (501) 682-2345.
Mental Health. Did you see the articles yesterday in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette? Please – read them: “On A Mental Note – Schools see need among students, but many in state lack on-campus therapy”(front page) AND “State lags in on-campus mental health care for kids” (page 10A). Educate yourself about the mental health crisis our school age children are struggling with in the absence of adequate care. Their opportunity to reach the highest potential for their life’s path is being undermined every day. Do we care?
The article tells us, while we may not like it, “… children in recent years go to school with more troubles and needs that aren’t being met at home…. Our State ranks among the worst states – 47th in the nation – 27.1% of children who have suffered from at least two adverse childhood experiences that can result in mental and other health issues throughout life…”. Our leadership in the State’s Department of Education tells us, “We are in crisis”.
Folks, it makes my heart ache to see how much enthusiasm there is expended in this State for more reductions to our income tax in the face of the numerous “crisis” circumstances we find ourselves in. It seems almost as if the almighty dollar in tax savings is hoisted upon the highest altar we can build, and children are left in anguish – routinely inching up the suicide rate among our young. This should drive us crazy – that we have so lost our priorities. Discouragingly our own editorial writer beckons, “Let’s go big, Arkansas. Or at least bigger. And make some noise on a national level.” [Excerpt from today’s Editorial Page – “By the numbers”]. Was the call for the formation of a task force that gather information and make recommendations to our Legislature as to what programs need to be funded and implemented to help our kids? No, regretfully, it’s the continued almost foaming at the mouth that comes from the thought of “even more tax reduction”, this one being a recent proposal by the Governor to eliminate income tax for folks moving to Arkansas for their first five years (which eventually will reduce revenues by over $82 million a year). This to meet the so-called need to be “more competitive” – though in truth every person I have met who has moved to Arkansas since 1994 (when I moved here from Oklahoma) has commented on the great AND CHEAP quality of life in the Natural State!
Our children cannot afford this indulgent tax break. Our families need our help.