Warren Stephens Calls for Strong Little Rock Regional Identity, Uncertain About U.S. Economic Future

by Mark Carter  on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010 3:23 pm  

Stephens cited the local health-care industry, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville as regional and perhaps overlooked economic engines.

The medical community in the region provides 24,000 jobs, he said, with an economic impact (according to UALR) of $2.8 billion. UALR supplies 5,800 direct and indirect jobs with an economic impact of $242 million, while the air base provides more than 13,000 civilian and military jobs with a $609 million economic impact, he said.

"These are three important economic engines we must continue to encourage, enhance and appreciate," he said.

Spending and the Economy

Stephens called the economic environment uncertain, calling for the continuing tightening of credit, rising interest rates and inflation.

"The lack of credit has made the economic slump we're in worse," he said.

Stephens said questions remain unanswered about legislation such as the pending omnibus spending bill, and more debate is needed.

"There remain some very serious questions about all these bills," he said. "To try and pass this in a rush manner in a lame-duck session is at a minimum irresponsible. Until we know what our tax rates are going to be, the uncertainty in the economy will remain and the economic recovery will continue to be slow."

Also Wednesday, Hugh McDonald of Entergy Arkansas was named the chamber board's 2011 chairman.



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