Governor to issue special session call on Friday; tax cuts, school safety only items allowed

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 1,336 views 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday (Aug. 4) said he planned to issue the proclamation for a special session call on Friday, Aug. 5 with the commencement of the extraordinary session set to begin Tuesday, Aug. 9.

The timing announcement was part of a lengthy interview Hutchinson conducted for this weekend’s edition of Talk Business & Politics.

Hutchinson said there will only be two general topics on the call: tax reform and school safety. Neither teacher pay nor abortion-related issues are planned for the special session, he said.

“Hopefully, they’ll be in, do their business, and be able to go home quickly. I know that’s the desire of the legislative leadership as well as myself,” he said.

The governor wants to accelerate, retroactive to January 2022, the already approved reduction in the state’s top income tax rate from 5.5% to 4.9%. The reduction is scheduled under current state law to occur incrementally until Jan. 1, 2025.

His proposals would also accelerate an already approved cut in the corporate income tax, harmonize Arkansas law with the federal Section 179 depreciation schedule on the purchase of new and used equipment, and provide tax relief of roughly $150 for Arkansans earning lower incomes.

Arkansas is carrying a $1.6 billion budget surplus from the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022. Hutchinson estimates the tax cut proposals will tap roughly $400 million from the surplus. He wants to also create a $50 million grant fund for schools to enhance their safety protocols and infrastructure.

Saying these proposals have “broad support in the legislature,” Hutchinson expects a short special session.

“Hopefully, we can get those passed, provide broad relief to Arkansans, which is much needed and go home,” Hutchinson said.

In the TB&P interview, which will air Sunday statewide, Hutchinson explains why he will not place teacher pay or abortion-related issues on the call, the Kansas abortion amendment vote, GOP gubernatorial nominee Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and what may play into an ultimate decision to run, or not run, for President in 2024.

Talk Business & Politics airs:

  • KATV Channel 7 Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m.
  • KAIT 8 Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m.
  • KFSM Channel 5 Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m.

UPDATE: You can view of copy of the proclamation at this link.