Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

By Andrew Devamo, The Associated Press

Little Rock, Arch. (AP) – Arkansas Village. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday proposed a budget of about $ 5.9 billion, calling for $ 50 million in tax cuts, including tax breaks for new residents in the state.

Hutchinson made his budget proposal to MPs ahead of the regular legislative session, which is scheduled to begin in January.

“This budget lays the foundation for the continued growth of our economy, it sets the stage for continuous improvement in education and I hope that salaries for teachers will increase,” Hutchinson said. It supports our state police and gives us a healthy pillow. For unexpected times in life. “

The Republican governor discussed his proposals amid a coronavirus epidemic that claimed the lives of more than 2,112 people in the state. Despite the epidemic, Arkansas’ revenue has come in above forecasts over the past several months.

The epidemic has also changed operations in the Capitol, where 11 MPs have tested positive in the recent outbreak. Hutchinson spoke to MPs from afar, who sat behind a plexiglass partition and wore face masks.

Hutchinson’s proposal calls for reducing sales taxes on vehicles from $ 10,000 to less than $ 3.5%, and cutting income tax for new residents to 4.9% for five years. Hutchison said the tax cuts for new residents would help the state’s economic development efforts by creating incentives for the state to move, but added that it would help the state move toward its goal of raising the top tax rate to 4.9% Will help

Hutchinson’s plan also included $ 25 million in unspecified tax cuts for low and middle-income residents that his office said would be developed with the Legislature.

The budget plan calls for tapping the state’s $ 217 million in nearly $ 241 million surplus funds, with $ 25 million going toward Hutchinson’s proposed tax cuts. It also proposes to send $ 100 million from surplus to long-term reserve funds, $ 28.5 million for school facilities and $ 30 million for rural broadband.

The proposed budget increases spending by 2.8%, with the largest increases being towards public schools, human services and colleges and universities.

Hutchinson’s budget plan did not address the potential impact the US Supreme Court may have on the Care Act. Approximately 290,000 people receive coverage through the state version of expanded Medicaid under federal health law.

Hutchinson later said he hoped Congress would act in the wake of any decision, but said Arkansas would have to take its own steps if Congress did not. State officials said the repeal could have a significant impact on the state budget.

“We really need to take some time to think about all the implications,” Cindy Gillespie, secretary of the Department of Human Services, told lawmakers, adding that it would affect more people who have benefited from the Medicaid expansion.

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