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Arkansas lawmakers approve Director of Broadband position for Commerce Department

2021-12-08-Arkansas_Capitol-1162.JPG
Michael Hibblen
/
KUAR News
Arkansas will receive $100 million from the federal government to expand broadband internet.

Arkansas lawmakers have approved a new position to oversee the expansion of high-speed internet service in the state.

A report from consultant Broadband Development Group found 110,000 homes in the state are in need of faster internet connectivity, and are located in areas not covered by any state or federal broadband grant programs.

According to a report from the legislature's Uniform Personnel Classification and Compensation Subcommittee, the Arkansas Department of Commerce had requested up to $200,000 to hire a director of the State Broadband Office. In a meeting of the subcommittee on Friday, lawmakers approved between $149,862 and $181,500 for the position.

Revenue

State officials say Arkansas has collected $7.2 billion in revenue so far this fiscal year. During the legislative subcommittee meeting Friday, Kevin Anderson, an assistant director with the Bureau of Legislative Research, said tax collections are up 12% from last year. When asked by state Rep. Stephen Meeks, R-Greenbrier, for a reason for the growth, Anderson pointed to income tax collection. He said revenue projections have outpaced forecasts by roughly $988 million with two months remaining in the fiscal year.

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