From the State Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Randy Zook

From the State Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Randy Zook
Randy Zook

Legislation adopted by the 2019 92nd General Assembly of the Arkansas Legislature will enhance the vitality of the Arkansas business community for years to come. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said this about the session: “I think I would make the claim that this last legislative session was the GOAT … the greatest of all time.”

We’ll leave it to historians to rank the sessions, but multiple issues that the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas has worked on for more than a decade were adopted. For employers, the most significant changes will be a reduction in corporate, individual and unemployment insurance taxes, which will provide at least $100 million in savings.

In 2015, the Arkansas State Chamber/AIA commissioned a study, “Arkansas Advantage 2030,” which identified four critical areas that Arkansas must improve to increase its competitiveness with other states:

• Improve worker readiness with a goal of giving Arkansas businesses a competitive advantage by having the best trained and educated workforce for the jobs of the future

• Improve the Arkansas business climate with a goal of moving Arkansas into the best (Top 15) ranked states for business climate

• Improve the Arkansas legal climate with a goal of promoting business expansion and economic growth through a more consistent and competitive civil justice system

• Maximize the impact of economic development efforts and the tools for success with a goal of creating and maintaining a “best-of-class” state economic and workforce development delivery system and to create the tools for the system to be successful

Our 2019 legislative agenda addressed issues in Arkansas Advantage 2030. We subsequently developed 11 bills and two joint resolutions on the key issues from our agenda and all were adopted. Those bills and resolutions address the following issues:

• Unemployment insurance

• Taxation

• Workforce quality and education

• Transportation and infrastructure

• Ballot initiative process

• Labor and employment

• Legal environment

Our work to support Arkansas businesses never stops. Business matters and there is more work to be done. We appreciate the support of our many members’ businesses throughout Arkansas. We encourage those businesses and organizations that are not currently members of the State Chamber or AIA to join our ranks. We will always lead the effort to secure Arkansas’ future through free enterprise.

Randy Zook is the president & CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas. He may be reached at and followed @ARStateChamber.