Favorite

What will a Trump administration mean for Arkansas's children and families? 

The election is over and Donald J. Trump will be the next president of the United States. The important question now is, what does this mean for the future well-being of Arkansas children and families? Trump doesn't have the political/policy track record that most candidates have when they become president, so the best we can do is make educated guesses based on his campaign promises and the priorities the Republican-controlled Congress will likely push with the new administration.

One issue at the top of the list is what happens to the Affordable Care Act. Most agree the ACA will be repealed. But how will it be replaced so that millions of previously uninsured Americans don't lose their new coverage or have a coverage gap until a new system is put in place? This is particularly important for Arkansas, which led the nation in reducing its ranks of uninsured adults down to about 9 percent, mostly through the Medicaid expansion for over 270,000 adults. Critical patient protections in the ACA also bear watching, such as what happens to protections for pre-existing conditions, no lifetime limits or the dropping of consumers when they get sick, limits on out-of-pocket costs for families, and allowing kids to remain on their parent's coverage until they turn 26.

Another health issue advocates will be watching: Will Medicaid become a "block grant" program under the guise of giving states more flexibility? Many experts believe that would actually reduce funding over time and give states room to enact harmful provisions — such as greater cost-sharing, drug testing and work requirements — that would make it more difficult for low-income families to afford and retain coverage. And what happens to children's coverage? Will Congress fundamentally change the wildly successful Child Health Improvement Act (CHIP), which has helped Arkansas reduce its rate of uninsured children to historically low levels of less than 5 percent?

Federal tax cuts are also on the horizon, and they will not be good for most Arkansas families. Trump's promise to cut personal and corporate income taxes, if enacted, would have major reverberations on the federal budget and would mostly benefit the wealthy. An analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice found his proposal to cut personal and corporate income taxes would reduce federal revenue by at least $4.8 trillion over the next decade (possibly as much as $6.4 trillion if rates on "pass through" income are also reduced). The top 1 percent of taxpayers, those with an average yearly income of $1.7 million, would benefit the most under his plan. They would receive 44 percent of benefits of the total tax cut pie. The poorest 20 percent of taxpayers? Their share of the pie would be less than 2 percent.

To help pay for his tax cuts, Trump has proposed cutting funding for nondefense programs through the annual budget process by 1 percent of each year's previous total. Only 1 percent per year, you say? The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that, by the 10th year (2026), nondefense programs' spending would be about 29 percent below current levels, after adjustments for inflation. What does this mean for Arkansas? A wide range of critical services would be cut, including education, veterans' medical care, border enforcement, child care, national parks, air traffic control and low-income housing, to name a few. These cuts would be exacerbated if the economic growth promised under his tax plan — which is supposed to pay for four-fifths of the cost of the plan — doesn't materialize. In that case, even larger budget cuts would have to be made to the programs critical to our communities and the well-being of many Arkansas children and families.

Other policy changes proposed during the campaign would also impact children and families. One is a major shift in federal education funding from traditional public schools to charters, a move that could further weaken the precarious state of many schools in low-income districts. Or what about the thousands of Arkansans who came here as immigrant children, whose work permits candidate Trump vowed to take away? Or proposed cuts to nutrition programs that feed so many Arkansas families?

It will be up to Arkansas's congressional delegation and Arkansas state policymakers to not simply sign off on these changes, but to push to protect and expand gains that Arkansas children and families have made. And it will be up to the rest of us to make sure they do.

Rich Huddleston is director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas condones child abuse?

    If Harrises and Duggars go unpunished, yes.
    • Jun 4, 2015
  • Must address racial inequities

    We mourn for the families of the dead at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. As we grieve it's time to rekindle a conversation about race in America and press for the changes that the Emanuel congregation championed for centuries — changes that also made it a target.
    • Jun 25, 2015
  • Racism is systemic

    In a speech on Sunday at Bethel A.M.E. Church, Gov. Asa Hutchinson played directly into the narrative of respectability politics, where white people tell people of color how they should respond to a situation and condemn responses from others in the community experiencing anger, rage and other expressions of grief.
    • Jun 25, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Latest in Guest Writer

  • Stay the course

    I am frustrated and angry with those who claim the only chance of future success is for the Democratic Party, especially in the South and Midwest, to abandon speaking directly to women and people of color and the LGBT community and instead focus on the economy and other "more comfortable" topics in order to win back some of the center.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • No prison for mentally ill

    Recent research has shown that Arkansas is unique for its fast-growing prison population. The state also ranks among the lowest in the U.S. for access to mental health care. That's why Governor Hutchinson's 2017 budget allotment for the establishment of three crisis stabilization centers should be applauded.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Still wearing white

    On election night, after a long afternoon of poll-watching, I rushed home to change into my white pantsuit with the rhinestone "HRC" on the back and headed out to my local election party.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Stay the course

    I am frustrated and angry with those who claim the only chance of future success is for the Democratic Party, especially in the South and Midwest, to abandon speaking directly to women and people of color and the LGBT community and instead focus on the economy and other "more comfortable" topics in order to win back some of the center.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Arkansas Democrats' rocky road forward

    • As we saw with the raise in the minimum wage and medical marijuana, there are…

    • on December 8, 2016
  • Re: Arkansas Democrats' rocky road forward

    • Ozark,

      What are the Arkansans marching and rallying about? Is this an anti-Trump rally?

    • on December 8, 2016
  • Re: Reality TV prez

    • He won't clean up his act. He won't even try. He's clueless that his style…

    • on December 8, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation