Governor Proposes Tax Break for Higher Income Residents

"I just believe we have to be competitive."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA) -- State legislators are once again trying to lower the overall income tax rate in Arkansas.

Over the past couple of years, lower and middle class Arkansans have seen income tax cuts. Now, Governor Asa Hutchinson is proposing a tax break to higher income residents. 

"It's just going to put more money in their pockets to be perfectly blunt." said Ben McLintock, a Regional Investment Officer with Arvest Wealth Management.

Right now Arkansas has the largest tax rate for higher income earners when it comes to bordering states.

"The highest bracket for a surrounding state to Arkansas is only 6%." said McLintock. 

Arkansas sits at 6.9%. Bordering states like Tennessee and Texas have no income tax, and Governor Asa Hutchinson said Arkansas has to get on board.

"I just believe we have to be competitive. Whenever you look at Arkansas having a 6.9% tax rate which is the highest marginal tax rate in our area. I want to reduce that overtime to 6 percent." 

The governor's proposal would give a tax cut for residents who make $75,000 a year or more.

In 2015, state legislatures cut taxes for middle class Arkansans. In 2017, they cut taxes once again but this time, for lower income residents.

"People have options where they go to a state, where they bring their capital and investment and the tax rate makes a difference." said Gov. Hutchinson.

Governor Hutchinson said lowering the income tax will lead to more job creation and investment in the state. 

"With the tax cuts that have been made up to this point, it's hard to really detail how much of a correlation there is how much direct impact they have had on economic growth in NWA." said McLintock.

McLintock said while there's no sure way to guarantee that lowering income tax will ensure economic growth, he does see an advantage to the tax cut. 

"The more money that is in a consumer's pockets, the goal and hope is that that money will be put back into the economy by people purchasing at local businesses." said McLintock.

Governor Hutchinson is hoping to get the tax cut approved in 2019. He said legislators set aside $64 million dollars in surplus for next years budget, in hopes to use some of it for the tax decrease. 

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