LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas House and Senate passed income tax cut and school safety grant legislation Thursday, sending the bills to Governor Asa Hutchinson.
The tax cut legislation will drop the top income tax rate to 4.9% and most state taxpayers will receive a one-time, nonrefundable $150 tax credit. The school safety grant legislation will allocate $50 million to school safety grants.
“That is a transfer of wealth from the government to the taxpayer, and it could not come at a more important time,” Gov. Hutchinson said during the signing of the bills on Thursday afternoon. “I’ve not seen a more efficient, orderly and effective special session that we’ve had.”
Though some parents appreciated the move towards improved security in schools, others pushed for an increase in teacher pay. However, the Senate voted to adjourn before other items, including teacher pay increases, could be addressed.
Hutchinson called for the special session after the state wrapped up its fiscal year with a record surplus of more than $1.6 billion.
“That’ll help them absorb some of these higher gas prices, a little bit of this grocery price increases, and just the general inflation,” Said Republican State Sen. Mark Johnson said.
“I wasn’t a fan of the special session. I didn’t think we needed it. Tax cuts were going to go into effect moving forward.” Democratic State Sen. Larry Teague said of the special session.