Hutchinson Announces Plan to Assist Arkansas's Veterans

LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release)– Republican nominee for governor Asa Hutchinson announced on Tuesday his plans to provide assistance to Arkansas’s veterans. Our military veterans are skilled professionals who work very hard and we benefit as a state when they choose to live and start a second career in Arkansas. Arkansas’s veterans’ organizations, such as the Arkansas Veterans Coalition and their affiliated groups, have worked to make Arkansas a state that supports our veterans and Asa recognizes the value of their legislative goals.

Asa’s plan for veterans includes the following goals:

Eliminating residency requirements for instate tuition for returning service members – Right now, a returning veteran may be required to pay out of state tuition if he or she has not established residency in Arkansas. Currently, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville waives in state tuition for many Texas students. Surely, we can waive the residency requirement for our returning veterans. This will be another incentive for them to return to Arkansas or choose to make Arkansas their new home.

Veterans’ treatment courts – Although we have Veterans Treatment Courts in Arkansas, more are needed to provide statewide access. Veterans often have specific needs and specialized courts for dealing with addiction or other hardships that will allow appropriate treatment without funneling more individuals into an already crowed criminal justice system. In addition to his commitment to provide additional funding for drug treatment courts, Asa will work with the Veterans Coalition, veteran’s service organizations and the legislature to identify additional regions for veterans’ treatment courts and to increase available funding.

Arkansas veterans’ homes – Arkansas lacks a comprehensive plan to provide long term care for Arkansas’s most at risk veterans in state veterans’ homes. Asa will work with the legislature to make sure that we are developing a system that will allow us to give veterans the care that is so desperately needed. As a start, Asa is committed to the completion and continued funding of the State Veteran’s Home currently planned for North Little Rock.

Tax Relief – The most important thing we can do is reduce our tax burden for everyone; the first promise Asa made in his campaign for governor was to provide tax relief for Arkansas’s middle income wage earners, including veterans. The first step is lowering our state income tax rate and providing tax relief beginning with those in the middle-income category. Our returning service men and women will benefit from Asa’s tax plan. The facts are that Arkansas attracts the lowest percentage of working age military retirees in our region and one of the reasons is that other states provide a specific exemption for military retirement income. In fact, Arkansas was one of the few states that experienced a reduction in military retirees entering the state. This fact does not serve our veterans well when we consider that our veterans want to return to their home state. Asa’s income tax reduction proposal will benefit our veterans and the next step is to work with our legislature to further reduce the income tax burden on our citizens, including our veterans.

Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“As governor, I will have two primary goals with regard to our military veterans. First, I will work to make Arkansas a state that is friendly and attractive to veterans who are looking for a place to start their civilian careers. Second, I will work to make sure that Arkansas takes care of our veterans in a way that honors their service.

Recognizing the service veterans have given to our state and nation is essential, but we cannot ignore the contributions that they are prepared to make to our workforce and economy.

Therefore, I am announcing my commitment to work with the legislature to make Arkansas a veteran friendly state by providing more affordable access to educational opportunities for veterans, providing better care for our veterans and by implementing tax relief for all Arkansans, including veterans.”

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mike Ross’ campaign today responded to Congressman Hutchinson’s release of a veterans plan with the following statement:

LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release)– Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mike Ross’ campaign today responded to Congressman Hutchinson’s release of a veterans plan.

Statement from Brad Howard, spokesperson for Mike Ross for Governor:

“Congressman Hutchinson’s vague press release falls far short of the strong support and bold leadership our veterans deserve. He is so out-of-touch with veterans’ issues that he doesn't know Congress has already passed a law allowing veterans and their dependents to receive in-state status at all public colleges and universities in the United States. Congressman Hutchinson has also repeatedly voted to slash veterans’ benefits and against increased funding for veterans’ health care, and was one of only 61 House members who refused to give up pork-barrel projects to fund quality of life improvements for our troops. His irresponsible voting record against veterans is just more proof that Congressman Hutchinson is out of touch with Arkansas’s veterans.”

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