Arkansas governor proposes $5.6B budget for coming year

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signs a bill that requires the state to adopt a "performance-based" model for funding higher education. (Office of the Arkansas Governor)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas' governor is proposing a $5.6 billion budget that increases funding for the state's Medicaid program and sets aside surplus money for future tax cuts and highway needs.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday proposed increasing state spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1 by nearly $173 million. Most of that increase goes toward Medicaid. Hutchinson said the funding increase is lower than what was originally proposed for the program last year.

The Republican governor proposed setting aside nearly $16 million in surplus money for highways and $48 million for a reserve fund that sets the stage for future tax cuts.

Hutchinson also asked the state's four-year colleges to freeze tuition rates for in-state residents, citing a $10 million increase in performance-based funding for higher education.

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