LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas lawmakers met in a special session to discuss proposed cuts to the state’s income tax.
The proposed tax cuts’ first stop was with the senate’s Tax and Revenue Committee.
This would eventually drop the top income tax rate in Arkansas to 4.9% for those with the highest incomes.
Lawmakers say this is a balanced cut for all earners, but opponents say low-income earners are not getting a fair shake.
“Arkansans who make under $22,000 a year, which means 20% of the state, would see no benefit at all,” Ashley Simmons of the Alliance for Disability Advocacy said.
Proponents say the low-income tax credit will help those earners who do not pay taxes more.
“Credits such as these are targeted tax relief that put hard-earned money back into the hands of working Arkansas taxpayers,” Abby Hughes Holsclaw of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation said.
Earlier in the joint budget committee, three bills were passed. Two were mirroring house and senate bills that allowed for the transfer of $50 million to help fund a potential U.S. steel project.
Some lawmakers have questioned if the state benefits from that deal, but the bill’s sponsor Sen. Johnathan Dismang (R-District 28) said there are strings attached.
“Obviously they got a huge capital commitment tied to it,” Dismang said. “There are clawbacks with this $50 million so if they’re not performing or they’re not spending their capital, there are some clawback provisions for that.”
There is an additional recycling tax credit working its way through both chambers in addition to the $50 million credit.
Other issues at hand were changes to who qualifies to be on the tax appeals commission, the General Assembly having the ability to hire security, and the repealing of the insulin and LLC bills from this past session.
Sen. Jason Rapert also filed a Texas-style abortion bill and a resolution that would extend the special session by up to 15 days.