State Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway, was our guest on Talk Business last night. He and John Brummett with our content partner, the Arkansas News Bureau, had a spirited exchange on ideas regarding tax cuts and the state budget.
Baker co-chairs the powerful Joint Budget Committee, which oversees state spending, and he sits on the Senate State Agencies Committee, which will redraw Congressional District lines.
Among the revelations:
- Baker says that there is a growing effort among legislators to pare back the growth revenue – $130 million – in Gov. Mike Beebe’s proposed budget.
- That money should allow for more vigorous tax cuts beyond the Governor’s call for another half-cent reduction in the grocery tax.
- Baker said that a contingency of Republicans and Democrats are not 100% sold on the grocery tax reduction, but he thinks Beebe will get his way.
Other tax cuts being debated include changes to the used car tax, personal income tax reductions, and more, but Baker says Republicans are not in lock-step within their own caucus, much less with pro-tax cut Democrats.
"If we want to get something cut, we better get together. And right now, there are just a multitude of ideas out there," Baker said. "I’m not wed to any tax cut, my personal perspective is I think we need to hold the line on state spending and the only way you do that is cutting taxes."
You can watch the Baker-Brummett exchange on tax cuts and the state budget below. To see Baker’s comments on redistricting, which were also eye-opening, click here.