Dou­glas will seek re-elec­tion to House

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - DOUG THOMPSON Doug Thompson can be reached by email at dthomp­ or on Twit­ter @NWADoug.

BEN­TONVILLE — Rep. Dan Dou­glas, R-Ben­tonville, is run­ning for re-elec­tion, he an­nounced Fri­day.

A cat­tle farmer and com­mer­cial real es­tate man­ager, Dou­glas has served three terms in the House. He is chair­man of the House Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Economic Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee. He also is a mem­ber of the Joint Bud­get Com­mit­tee where he serves on its pow­er­ful Spe­cial Lan­guage Sub­com­mit­tee, which has sway over finer de­tails of state fi­nanc­ing. He is also a mem­ber of the House Rev­enue and Tax­a­tion Com­mit­tee.

Dou­glas has no an­nounced op­po­nent for the May 22 Repub­li­can pri­mary or the Nov. 6, 2018, gen­eral elec­tion. He served four years on the Ben­ton County Quo­rum Court be­fore be­ing elected to his first term in 2012.

If re-elected, his leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties would be to ex­pand ca­reer and tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion, put the state’s high­way sys­tem on a more se­cure fi­nan­cial foot­ing and “shut­ting down, down­siz­ing or pri­va­tiz­ing parts of gov­ern­ment if that’s what we need to do” to bal­ance the state’s bud­get, he said.

A prime prospect for such a re­duc­tion and pos­si­ble pri­va­ti­za­tion is the state De­part­ment of In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices, which runs the state’s com­put­ers, tele­phones and other in­for­ma­tion sys­tems, Dou­glas said.

“That de­part­ment spends $106 mil­lion a year,” Dou­glas said. “That is $35 for ev­ery man, woman and child in Arkansas. I think we ought to at least is­sue a re­quest for pro­pos­als from pri­vate busi­nesses to see if there isn’t some busi­ness out there that could run it more ef­fi­ciently. Let’s at least take a look. To me that’s a no-brainer.”

“We keep talk­ing about cutting in­come taxes, which I’d love to do, but we’ve got to cut spend­ing if we’re go­ing to be able to do that,” he said. The state has suc­cess­fully cut taxes in re­cent leg­isla­tive ses­sion but can­not keep up the re­cent pace of tax re­duc­tion un­less it finds sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings and con­tin­ued growth in the state’s econ­omy. En­cour­ag­ing such growth is one of the main rea­sons be­hind his em­pha­sis on ca­reer ed­u­ca­tion that teach prac­ti­cal job skills and on se­cur­ing more state tax­payer money for high­ways, he said.


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