Governor Hutchinson Says Arkansas Will Cap Federal Rent Assistance, Launch New Housing Efforts

by: Bill Smith, Chris counts

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Friday that he will not accept the full amount of Arkansas’ second rental assistance payment.

During a “pad and pen” session at the state capitol, Hutchinson told reporters he had signed a letter to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stating his intention.

The governor said Arkansas still has $6.7 million remaining from the first round the state received and has been offered $146 million in additional funding.

Hutchison said Arkansas doesn’t need all of the money and is offering to use some of it for housing stability efforts, with the groups Our House and Restore Hope helping with that effort.

The governor also announced that Arkansas will have a record $1 billion surplus by June, saying there are several options for using the money, including funding for broadband development, tax relief for Arkansans and state school facilities.

The latest estimate before Friday’s reveal was $600 million.

More than 210,000 homes in the state lack broadband access. Hutchinson says half of those are covered by federal funding and it would cost the state $500 million to cover the remaining households.

Whatever the destination of the funds, it would still have to be approved by the legislator.

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