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Arkansas State Governance Structure

The Arkansas State occupies both the Northern and Western Hemisphere. It is found in the United States of America’s south-central part. This state is bordered by Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. The State is located between 33 and 36 30’ North latitude and 89 41’ west longitudes. The climate is a bit fair with no severe cold or heat and the annual temperatures being between 58 to 65 degrees. 45 inches is the mountainous (region) averaged rainfall while that of the delta is about 53inches. The mean annual snowfall is between 10.4 inches in the northwest and 2.8 inches in the southeastern lowlands. The season for growing crops varies from 180 days on the high plateau found in the northwestern part to 240 days in the state’s southeastern part (Anonymous, Facts about Arkansas’ geography, 17).

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The 2000 census showed that Arkansas State is number thirty-three having a population size of 2.67million people. The state’s population is chiefly made up of the white people who are for the most part the immigrants’ offspring from the British Isles. The group of the minorities that is the biggest is formed by the black Americans and these people were estimated in the 2000 census to be 418,950 people forming up 15.7percent of the state’s total population. The approximations gave a revelation that there were 17, 808 American Indians in the state. More so, this census indicated that 86,866 people in the state were of Hispanic origin forming 3.2 percent of the population. The approximation for the Asian people was 20,220 people. The Vietnamese were 3,974 people, the Chinese were 3126 people, Filipinos were 2,489 in number, and the Japanese were 1,036 people in total. During this census, it was established that the foreign-born population was 73,690 people forming 2.8 percent of the total population of the Arkansas state (Anonymous, Arkansas – Ethnic groups, 1).

The Economy

Agriculture

According to Anonymous (Arkansas economy, 1), the farmland of Arkansas is estimated to be 36% based on statistics of 2004 carried out by the U.S Department of Agriculture. Livestock brings about a revenue of 63% of the whole agriculture revenue. Approximately 37 percent of the production of this State is in crops. Chicken meat tops the list of revenue earners in this state.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing is done in this state to add value to the products. The food products that are processed include cottonseed oil, bakery goods, vegetables, rice, poultry, milk, meats, and soft drinks. More products are manufactured in this state. These products include electrical products, agricultural chemicals, machinery, rubber products as well as plastic products, transportation products, and wood products.

Mining

Mining is as well carried out in this state. The most important product mined in this country is natural gas. Most of it is mined in the northwestern part of this state. In the second place of the most important products mined in this state is petroleum. This is mostly done on the Louisianan border in the big oil fields. More so, Arkansas leads in the mining of bromine. The remaining commodities that are mined in the state of Arkansas are limestone, clays, cement, quartz, soapstone, gravel, and vanadium among other products.

Service Sector

Under this, the wholesale and retail services sub-sectors take the lead in the Arkansas state. The wholesale sector includes automobiles, mined products, and farm products. The retail sector includes food stores, departmental stores, and discount stores. Coming in the next position of the sector, the community, personal, and business services sub-sectors are traced. In this group, there are health care services that are private, law companies, hotels, and rest homes.

The government institutions which involve the public health institutions, the public learning institutions, and armed forces bases and also including insurance, and real estate group among others stands at position three in the services sector and making a similar input to the economy of this state. The Little Rock airbase is regarded as the major center of finance of the state. The transportation, communication, and utility sectors rank number five (NETSTATE.COM. Arkansas economy, 1).

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International system

The leading export category in Arkansas is transportation equipment and this accounted for about 28 percent of the total exports in the year 2008. The rest of the major exports during 2008 included chemical manufacturers that accounted for $762 million, machinery apart from electrical ones accounted for $572, and food and kindred products accounted for $ 695 million. During this period, the biggest export market for the Arkansas products included Canada that received exports from Arkansas worthy $1.2 billion, Mexico – $796 million, China – $ 321 million, Switzerland – $ 259, and Japan – $ 198 million (International Trade Administration and Bureau of the Census, Foreign Trade Division: Metropolitan Export Series, 3).

The constitution

The ratification by the United States Congress of the first Arkansas constitution was done on thirtieth January the year 1836. This first constitution was very flexible and brief. It was designed more in closer terms after the constitution of the United States of America than the manner the afterward Arkansas constitutions would turn out to be. For instance, there was no setting of salaries in the constitution as it would in time turn out to be. There was the recognition of slavery. The legislatures and the governor as well as the officials of the county were chosen through election by the people. On the other hand, the Supreme Court judges, and the circuit judges were chosen by a joint legislative session. The auditor and the treasurer together with the prosecuting attorneys were as well-chosen the same way. The second constitution made in the year 1861 was in most part similar to the first constitution saved for references to the confederate states of America substituting references to the United States of America. This was a legal precondition to bringing together the confederacy.

The third constitution was written in the year 1864 under Abraham Lincoln’s term, it set in his plan for wartime reconstruction that targeted at quickening the establishment again of loyal government states in the south. This constitution did away with slavery and rejected secession but did not give a clear description of the past slaves’ constitutional rights that they would have to take pleasure in. More so, differing from the original constitution, it gave a stipulation for the popular vote of, the secretary of state the judges, the auditor, and the treasurer. The next constitution of the Arkansas state which was the fourth one was set up in 1868 at the time when this state entered again the Union. There were various provisions in this constitution. Some of them included the declaration of racial discrimination as being illegal, strived to support education, and made the fixing of legislative apportionments to show good turn to counties that had big populations of African-Americans.

In 1874, the Arkansas State came up with the fifth constitution that indicates the overall government’s mistrust and authority. The constitution incorporated changes more than all the former constitutions. Most of these reviews were restrictive, highly rural, and their nature was negative. For instance, the county governments turned out to be very much influential having authority over bridges as well as roads, duty together with spending, and over the local bench. The authority of the state to impose a tax and carry out borrowing was strictly limited; the voted officials’ term was brought from four years down to only two years. The powers of the governor were curtailed for him to be able to only appoint a few officials. These requirements were to make sure that the powers of the government would not be abused, and a great deal of authority was carried over to the local government from the state government.

In the course of the 130 years from the time the current constitution was adopted, there have been eighty-three amendments that have been adopted. The needs of the state government keep on changing as time goes by and the people of the Arkansas state have given response to this by loading an old-fashioned constitution down with amendments instead of coming up with a more modern document (Goss, 12).

Political Linkage

There are primarily two major political parties in the state and that is, the Republican Party and the Democrat party. Following the last general elections, this state showed an inclination towards the Republican Party, and the same was done in the preceding general election. Therefore, the state has been regarded as the Red state.

Public Opinion

The issue of abortion has been hotly debated by the Arkansas people during the twentieth century more than any other issue. The greatness and complexity of the debate have made it very hard for the researchers to come up with clear conclusions about the attitudes of the citizens.

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According to the Arkansas Poll (2), the results gave a revelation that most people favor those laws that would make it quite difficult for a person to carry out an abortion. This kind of support was seen in 45 percent of those interviewed. Thirty percent of the people that were interviewed had a preference that no adjustments should be made on the existing laws and nationwide, this was proposed by a percentage that was a little bit higher.

On the issue of same-sex marriage, just like many other states, Arkansas has carried out amendments in the constitution to bring about the prohibition of same-sex marriage and it’s being recognized in the constitution.

According to Rasmussen Reports (Election 2010: Arkansas Senate Race, 5), 56 percent of Arkansas’ adult people do not support the health care plan set by congress. It is only about 18 percent that has a strong favor for this plan. This opposition to this health plan is quite much stronger in Arkansas than elsewhere within the nation as a whole. The people in Arkansas is represented by a percentage of seventy-four have a belief that this plan will bring up the federal budget deficit and eighty-three percent of the people have thoughts that there is the likelihood to bring about an increase in taxes on the part of those people who belong to the middle class.

Just like in the rest of the states, the media channels in Arkansas are being filled with journalists’ releases, position papers, and unconcealed lobbying by interest groups that are very much willing to convey their messages. A group known as “Arkansas united for change” which is part of the national group “Healthcare for America Now” gave out a news release claiming that there are more adverse effects felt among the blacks on the current health care system more than the white people. This group gave out an illustration or an example that the rate of mortality resulting from diabetes in Arkansas for the black people stands at 52.9 among every one hundred thousand people. On the other hand, the rate among white people only stands at twenty-three. More so, it was reported that in Arkansas, among Hispanic women thirty percent of them did not get prenatal care but the whites that did not get this care stands at only 15 percent and the black people at 25 percent (Mortz, 1)

The Government level

Federal Representation of the State

The legislature of the Arkansas state is a bicameral body made up of the upper house Arkansas Senate comprising of 35 members and the lower Arkansas House of Representatives having one hundred members. All these members, 135 in total, represent an equal number of component districts. There is the assembling together by the General assembly annual on the second Monday of the year. One session goes for sixty days in normal circumstances unless it is decided otherwise on some particular occasions. The state’s governor can at any time call a special session during the time in between the usual sessions. This General assembly usually convenes at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock.

The Arkansas voters cast their ballots for electors. These are the representatives of the Electoral College. The electors allocated to this state are six in number. This is because the state has four Congressional districts and two senators. All the candidates appearing on the ballot must submit a list of six electors who vow to give their votes to their candidate as well as the candidate’s running mate. The candidate that wins is awarded all six electoral votes.

In the last general elections, the Arkansas state was won by the Republican candidate, John McCain by a margin of 19.9 % against the Democrat candidate Barrack Obama. This margin was higher even more than that of George Bush in the 2004 general elections. This state is generally considered as the Red State inclining itself especially in the last general elections towards the “Republican” direction.

“Government Structure of Capitol of Arkansas – Little Rock”

This is the settlement of the government of the state, accommodating the states, legislatures together with the personnel of six people out of the seven legitimate officers of the state. This immense neo-classical structure brought about controversy in the state’s politics at the time it was being constructed but then it has on overall, received praise from the time it was completed in the year 1915.

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All through the year, approximately 350 people work in this structure’s office spaces, and the number increases during January every odd year at the time when the General Assembly of the Arkansas state gets together for its mandated sitting. There is a cafeteria, shoeshine stand, and snack bar that serve the legislators as well as the public. The review and the planting again that have been done over the years have changed the way the grounds of capitol appear, but the projects that have been put in place in the times that have just passed have brought about some reinstatement of the elements of the grounds that were there initially whose arrangement had been developed by Frank Blaisdell, a landscape designer. These include ornamental pavements surrounding the shrines among others (Ware, 12).

Taxes

Arkansas’ state tax burden is estimated to stand at 10 percent of income making this state to be at position 14 nationally way up to about the average of the nation which is 9.7 percent. The payment made by the taxpayers in Arkansas is $3,351 per capita in state taxes as well as local taxes.

This state is number forty in the State’s “Business Tax Climate Index”. This index makes a comparison among the states in five areas of taxation that have impacts on the business. These areas comprise the corporate taxes, the income taxes of individuals, the sales tax, taxes on material goods consisting of commercial and residential taxes, and ‘unemployment insurance taxes.

This states’ individual income tax system has six separate brackets with a top rate of 7 percent that comes in at a point when the income is $31,700. This state ranks at position 13 among those states imposing the highest taxes. More so, the corporate tax system has six brackets that are separate with a top rate of 6.4 percent that comes in at an income level of $100,000. In this category, Arkansas stands at position 29 among those states imposing the highest corporate tax nationally.

The parties that pay taxes in Arkansas get more in federal financial support per dollar of federal taxes paid than the mean state. Per dollar of the federal tax, for instance, received in the year 2005, the people of Arkansas got about $ 1.41 in the way of federal expenses. This elevated the state in rank from 16 when it received $1.22 per dollar of taxes in the year 1995 to 14.

So far, the Arkansas state has been looked at comprehensively in all aspects, including its geographical location, population, economy, political linkage, constitution, and governance structure. It is quite interesting to note that this state in economic terms relies on several sectors that are varied which include the agriculture sector, the mining sector, the manufacturing sector, and the service sector and as well as engaging in the export market. This is a clear indication that this state has a positive economic performance and still shows the potential to grow especially when it has shown the efforts of boosting the agriculture sector through value addition of the agricultural commodities through its manufacturing sector.

Works Cited

Anonymous. “Arkansas – Ethnic groups”. Advameg, Inc. 2009. Web.

Anonymous. “Facts about the Arkansas’ Geography”. Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism. 2009. Web.

Arkansas Poll Special report. “Conflict and consensus: Abortion, flag-burning and Gun control”. Department of Political Science University of Arkansas. 1999. Web.

Goss, Kay. “Arkansas constitutions”. The Central Arkansas Library System. 2009. Web.

International Trade Administration and Bureau of the Census. “Foreign Trade Division: Metropolitan Export Series”. U.S. Department of Commerce. 2009. Web.

Mortz, Rob. Groups localizing health care reform debate, taking in the people. Arkansas News. 2009. Web.

NETSTATE.COM. “Arkansas economy”. NSTATE, LLC. 2009. Web.

Rasmussen Reports. “Election 2010: Arkansas Senate Race”. Rasmussen Reports, LLC. 2009. Web.

Ware, David. “Arkansas State Capitol building”. The Central Arkansas Library System. 2009. Web.

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