LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Friday he was encouraged to see a new report ranking Arkansas 20th in the nation in fiscal condition.
Arkansas’ ranking in the report by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center is up from 28th in the center’s 2016 report, making it among the states showing the biggest improvement.
The report notes that Arkansas holds between 3.07 and 3.98 times the cash needed to cover short-term obligations, which is above average for the nation; its primary government debt is $4.1 billion, or 3.5 percent of state income, which is slightly below the national average; and its revenues exceed expenses by 4 percent.
“I was encouraged to read in the Mercatus Center’s rankings that Arkansas’ fiscal health is among the most improved,” Hutchinson, who was attending the summer meeting of the National Governor’s Association in Providence, R.I., said in a statement.
“This is good news for the state and well-deserved recognition of our commitment to strong, conservative fiscal policies. Arkansas is a true balanced-budget state, and our approach to setting budgets and limiting spending bears that out,” he said.
Hutchinson pointed out that the report does not take into account the transfer this year of more than $100 million into a long-term reserve fund.
“Arkansas already has improved over this report, but we aren’t resting there. We still have work to do and will continue to look for ways to increase efficiency and streamline state government,” he said.