The Arkansas House and Senate adjourned for a four-day special session Thursday after the Arkansas House of Representatives voted to pass bills that would cut state income taxes and protect the governor from the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. Will discount the record. The bill to Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders for her signature.
Immediately after the adjournment, Sanders signed the bills into law and said lawmakers had achieved all the goals he called for for the session.
“We said we would do it and we did it,” he said during a news conference.
Senate President Pro Tempore Bart Hester, who sponsored legislation to replace the Freedom of Information Act, thanked members of the public for their input during the session.
“From texts, emails, phone calls, our constituents who have reached out to us with good feedback, I think it’s been a very successful week for the Democratic process,” said Hester, a Republican from Cave Springs.
The House voted 82-15 to approve Senate Bill 10, a scaled-down version of a previous bill that would have replaced Arkansas’s Sunshine Law and House Bill 1012. These measures would exempt documents related to the Governor’s Arkansas State Police details and “records.” Reflects the scheme or provision of security services to be provided to constitutional officers and judges, and will be retroactive to June 1, 2022.
Rep. David Wray, R-Maumelle, a sponsor of the bills, said Sanders’ unique notoriety means Republican governors are receiving an unusual amount of death threats.
“If you follow American politics, everyone knows who Sarah Huckabee Sanders is,” Wray said.
Rep. Andrew Collins, D-Little Rock, spoke against the legislation, saying it was not adequately drafted.
Collins said, “This bill is presented as a security-only bill, and if it were a security-only bill I would gladly support it.”
The House voted to approve similar bills that would cut the state’s top individual and corporate income tax rates and create a temporary income tax credit for low-income and moderate-income taxpayers. The bills are House Bill 1007 by Rep. Les Ives, R-Sercy, and Senate Bill 8 by Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Sercy.
HB1007 and SB8 would reduce the state’s top individual income tax rate from 4.7% to 4.4% and the state’s top corporate income tax rate from 5.1% to 4.8%, effective January 1, 2024.
For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2024, the 4.4% individual income tax rate would cover Arkansans reporting net income of more than $87,000 and would apply to their income of $8,801 and above under the bills. That top rate would also include Arkansans reporting net income up to $87,000 and would apply to those earning between $24,300 and $87,000 for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2024.
The top corporate income tax rate of 4.8% would apply to corporations with net income over $11,000 for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2024, under the measure.
Similar bills would create a temporary non-refundable income tax credit of $150 for individual taxpayers with net income up to $89,600 in Arkansas and a temporary $300 non-refundable income tax credit for married couples filing jointly with net income up to $179,200. Would create an income tax credit, retroactive to January 1. 2023. Under the bill, the income tax credit would phase out for individual taxpayers with net income up to $103,600 and married taxpayers filing jointly with net income up to $207,200.
According to the state Department of Finance and Administration, about 1.1 million individual income taxpayers will get a tax cut and about 7,500 corporations with net taxable income of more than $11,000 will get a tax cut under SB8.
The state Finance Department estimated that SB8 would reduce state general revenues by a total of $248.5 million in fiscal year 2024, which begins July 1 and ends June 30,2024 – including $156.3 million for the “Inflation Relief Income Tax Credit.” million dollars and $184.5 million. Fiscal year 2025 which starts on July 1, 2024 and ends on June 30, 2025.
Reducing the state’s top individual income tax rate from 4.7% to 4.4%, effective January 1, 2024, is projected by the Department of Finance to reduce state general revenues by $75 million in fiscal 2024 and $150 million in fiscal 2025 and to reduce the state’s Reductions have been estimated. Raising the top corporate income tax rate from 5.1% to 4.8%, effective January 1, 2024, is projected to reduce state general revenues by $17.2 million in fiscal year 2024 and $34.5 million in fiscal year 2025.
In the regular session earlier this year, the General Assembly and Sanders approved a $177.7 million increase in the state’s general revenue budget to $6.2 billion in fiscal year 2024, with most of the increase allocated to education and corrections programs. .
In May, the Finance Department projected a general revenue surplus of $423.3 million at the end of fiscal year 2024 through June 30, 2024.
Treasury Department spokesman Scott Hardin said Tuesday that about $174 million would be left over from the projected fiscal year 2024 surplus if the tax cut measures become law.
In a voice vote Thursday, the state Senate rejected a motion by Sen. Brian King, R-Green Forest, on a bill to extend the special session by 15 days to suspend Senate rules. The consideration that was given will be cancelled. Arkansas Data Center Act of 2023.
“Those things are not data centers,” he said regarding crypto mining facilities. “We were misled.”
Information for this article was provided by Will Langhorne of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.