LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Monday afternoon that the state is facing a $353 million revenue shortfall due to the coronavirus.
The state’s revenue is facing a $160 million reduction from now until June 30 because of layoffs, according to the governor.
Hutchinson said the lower financial forecast does impact ADH and every agency under the balanced budget procedures.
The governor also announced the state tax filing deadline for individuals will now be July 15. Corporate filers will have the original deadline of April 15.
Hutchinson also said a special session will need to happen to fill the holes in the budget, but no date has been set yet.
According to the governor, $54 million in surplus and $173 million in reserve that was unallocated from last year will be used to help.
The governor said this is a “serious belt-tightening time”, except for those at the frontlines of the coronavirus.
There are no plans of any layoffs, according to the governor.
According to Cabinet Secretary Department of Finance & Administration Larry Walther, there are three categories in the Revenue Stabilization Act (RSA)- category A, B and C. Walther said B and C would be cut immediately while the remainder of $250 million would be distributed evenly among category A programs.
Walther says there is a bit of money before the state goes to the long-term reserve. According to the governor, 2 million units of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be available for shipment later this week.
Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe said Monday afternoon that he has heard from providers who have said they’re critically low on PPE. Bledsoe said there have been cases where a supplier had been found and the contracts had been signed, but the shipment was diverted.
He wanted the providers to know that, “We’re listening to you, you’re right,” and they are working on it. Bledsoe also said there is a little PPE, but it won’t last long.
Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith also announced a directive that will go into effect Tuesday of all barber and beauty shops, nail salons, massage therapists and tattoo shops should cease operation temporarily. Smith says this directive is to decrease opportunities for the virus spreading.
As far as the coronavirus cases update for Monday afternoon, Dr. Smith said while their website, which is now being updated four times a day, does not say there are any recoveries, five people have met the criteria for recovered.
Dr. Smith says the state is following the CDC guidelines for recovery criteria, which is seven days after the onset of symptoms or three days since the resolution of symptoms, whichever is longer.
Out of the 174 cases as of Monday afternoon, 10 are children, 101 are adults aged 19-64 and 63 are 65 and older. Sixty percent of the cases are women, while 40 percent of the cases are men. Seventy percent of those who have the virus are white, 20 percent are African American and 10 percent are other races.
Currently, Dr. Smith says nine of the patients are currently in the hospital, and six are currently on a ventilator. Since the virus first started in Arkansas, 22 people were hospitalized at some time, and 14 were in an intensive care unit, according to Dr. Smith.
Smith also said because of the volume of tests, there is a lag of investigations. He also said the ADH is assuming that there is community transmission in Little Rock and there will likely be community transmission across the state.