A Vision for Strong Families and a Strong Arkansas
We envision an Arkansas where everyone – no matter their age, background, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or status – has the opportunity to live meaningful, fulfilling lives in strong, thriving communities.
Every child in Arkansas should have the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their zip code. Our state government has the ability and responsibility to invest in kids, their families and the places they live, work, and play. Programs like health care, great public schools, rural development, infrastructure, and more can make a big difference in the lives of children and, in turn, the future of our state. Our communities are better off when families are able to meet their essential needs such as: buying food, paying their rent or mortgage, and taking care of their kids when they get sick. We will be stronger when our infants and toddlers have their unique developmental needs met and when we’ve closed the staggering wealth and asset gaps, ensuring all a bright future.
For years, our state has not provided adequate resources for important programs that benefit all Arkansans, while at the same time, cutting the tax revenue that would otherwise allow the state to invest in Arkansas’s children and provide them a bright future. And not properly investing in programs has had significant consequences: the number of children without health insurance is rising. About 1 in 5 of Arkansas’s kids live in poverty. Arkansas has some of the highest rates of childhood trauma.
Increasingly funds have been diverted from public schools, leaving students struggling to overcome the pandemic learning loss and attain grade-level scores in reading and math. Tens of thousands of families struggle to have enough food every day. And the state continues to fail to rectify inequitable policies that cause Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) Arkansans to face worse outcomes in health and wealth than White Arkansans. Compared to other states, Arkansas has been stagnant when considering the well-being of our children in its budgeting priorities.
Becoming a state where every child has the chance to succeed, where families are strong, and where communities are healthy is within our power. With a state budget focused on helping Arkansas’s families have the resources they need to thrive, we can unleash the creativity and potential of our state’s next generation of community members and leaders.
Arkansas’s lawmakers need to make forward-thinking decisions that improve the lives of Arkansas’s children. They need to create opportunities for BIPOC Arkansans, people with disabilities, and families with low incomes, who face long-term inequities due to racism, discrimination and a lack of resources.
Now is the time for the state of Arkansas to do its part and make proactive investments in public services that ensure economic security for Arkansans of all ages, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and races, and regardless of disabilities. Our state’s budget is a moral document — a reflection of our values. The state has to invest in a system to ensure the wealth and well-being that will build broad-based prosperity.