February 2, 2023

Nic Horton, (501) 230-9302


LITTLE ROCK — This morning, Opportunity Arkansas Foundation released its first-ever research study which analyzes state government spending growth over the last few decades. In short, the growth is significant and is being driven largely by massive spending increases in the Medicaid program.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Total Arkansas government spending has nearly tripled since 2000, now reaching nearly $30 billion annually
  • Arkansas spending is growing faster than Arkansans’ incomes, up 141 percent, compared to 126 percent growth in incomes
  • Total Arkansas Medicaid spending has exploded by nearly 400 percent
  • State-only Medicaid spending consumes nearly half of the state’s income tax revenue

Hayden Dublois, author of the report and Visiting Economist for Opportunity Arkansas, said the report is a wakeup call for state policymakers.

“It seems as though the state budget has been virtually on autopilot over the last couple of decades. Now that bill is coming due. If state policymakers are serious about eliminating the state income tax—and I think they are—they must address spending reform,” said Dublois. “There’s no realistic path to eliminating the state income tax unless the state gets a grip on spending.”

Nic Horton, founder and CEO of Opportunity Arkansas, said spending reform must include major Medicaid reform.

“Medicaid is, by far, the primary driver of our state budget. If we want to rein in spending and eliminate the state income tax, we must have significant Medicaid reform—and no more open-ended, expensive Medicaid expansions, either in terms of benefits or coverage. Our focus should be on fixing the Medicaid program for those who truly need it and thereby freeing up funds for income tax relief for workers,” Horton said.

“If we can do that, there will be more workers paying into the system to support Medicaid as well, which is a net benefit for all Arkansans.”

To read the full report, view it here.

For meetings, bookings, or interviews, contact Nic Horton via email at or via phone at (501) 230-9302.

About Opportunity Arkansas Foundation
Opportunity Arkansas Foundation is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization on a mission to renew the Land of Opportunity by simplifying government and solving generational problems for the next generation. OA stands ready to partner with state policymakers who share these goals. To learn more, visit


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