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Smart Talk Jan. 26

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The road to prosperity

Arkansans could be more prosperous and economically stable if the state adopted certain policies, such as establishing an earned income tax credit, raising the minimum wage, establishing a state housing trust fund to build and preserve affordable housing, raising the cigarette tax, and increasing the investment per child in pre-kindergarten education, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

The federal earned income tax credit (EITC) reduces the tax burden on low-wage workers. Some states, but not Arkansas, supplement the federal EITC with a state EITC. The report says that the EITC is “the most effective policy in history for lifting children in working families out of poverty.”

Arkansas is one of 25 states whose minimum wage is equal to the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. Eighteen states have set a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum. A coalition of labor, church and advocacy organizations has begun a movement to raise the Arkansas minimum.

Raising the state cigarette tax — now 59 cents a pack — would “discourage tobacco use and increase state revenue,” the report says.

The full report can be read on the website of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, www.aradvocates.org.



Move yourself on up


A TLC Network show, “Moving Up,” is looking for some upwardly mobile folks in Little Rock to feature on TV.

The home design show, which airs Saturday nights, wants to find people moving between Jan. 23 and March 30 — future homeowners, movers and sellers. They want diversity — in financial and ethnic backgrounds — and people with outgoing personalities and “unique, extreme” taste. You must want to change the decor of your home right away. That’s us. But we’d just like a couple more Barcaloungers and a TV table for our brew.

Anyway, you must still occupy your current home, and not be first-time buyers moving into a vacant house. They want to meet a pair of buyers and sellers. Write Tara Fogarty at the show if you’re interested, TFogarty@bbcnyproduction.com.





All in one basket

BAM! Arkansas farmers have taken it up a notch thanks to Hardin Farms’ Basket a Month program. Jody Hardin, proprietor of Hardin’s grocery in the River Market, is assembling baskets of produce and protein from farmers participating in his Farm to Family project for a once-a-month delivery to BAM subscribers. A three-month commitment is required; a 5 percent discount is made on year-long subscriptions. Baskets are $60 ($80 for home delivery) and can be picked up at Hardin’s River Market grocery. Contents will change with the seasons. January’s basket included the following:

Baby arugula, spinach and spring greens from Arkansas Natural Produce in Malvern; honey from Tim Ruh in Altheimer; organic jasmine rice from Mark Lubke in Scott; a half-pound of shiitake mushrooms from Sweden Creek Farm in Kingsland; tomatoes from Jerry’s Greenhouse in Brinkley; acorn and butternut squash and cracked pecans from Hardin Farms in Grady; sweet potatoes from Matthews Farm in Wynne; vacuum packed beefalo jerky and sausage from Armstrong Beefalo in El Paso; honeysuckle eggs and raw milk cheese from Daily Farms in Rosebud; eggs from the Dunbar Community Farm and from Adama south of Morrilton. Adama is the featured farm of the month for its product, pork from the Tamworth pig, a now-rare European breed that heritage farmers hope to increase. (Last month’s basket contained pork from Adama’s Gloucester Old Spot pigs.) To sign up for a BAM subscription, call 231-0094.






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