"B" PROGRAM SPENDING EXCEEDS INFLATION, INCOME GROWTH
Second in a series of APF memos on the ARKids First program.
(November 2006) The ARKids First
"B" program promoted by Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee provides
government health insurance to minors in families earning up to 200 percent
of the federal poverty level. It is also draining down a record volume
of tax dollars from the state budget, which is funded by taxpayers.
Spending on the ARKids First "B" program has increased from
$40 to $68 million since 2001-02, a growth rate of 69 percent in five
years (source: Arkansas 'A' Book, p. 310). Spending on the government
social welfare program will exceed $100 million by decade's end if it
continues at its current rate of growth.
ARKids First versus Inflation
Taxpayer spending on the ARKids First "B" program expanded 69
percent in the five-year period. By contrast, the inflation rate was only
16.8 percent in the period (source: Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank).
In one year alone, between 2003-04 and 2004-05, ARKids First "B"
spending expanded by 24 percent, a growth rate greater than the inflation
rate for the entire five-year period.
ARKids First versus Arkansas Income Growth
Taxpayer spending on the ARKids First "B" program also exceeded
growth in Arkansas per capita personal income in the same period. Per
capita personal income in the state grew only 15.7 percent (source: U.S.
Bureau of Economic Analysis).
Spending on ARKids First "B" is expanding at a percentage rate
greater than inflation or Arkansas per capita personal income.