LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Governor Asa Hutchinson reacted to the revenue report for the state of Arkansas and announced that he will hold a special session with the General Assembly the week of August 8 to reduce the rate of the state’s tax collection.
Arkansas recorded the largest revenue surplus in the state’s history today, meaning the state is collecting too much in tax revenue.
According to the revenue report, the state of Arkansas has a net surplus for the year of $1.6 billion.
That $1.6 billion is actually $150 million more than the state was expecting, looking at the revenue collection for the month of June.
“Because we have created jobs, people are getting higher wages, the revenues have continued to come in, and we have $1.6 billion in an additional surplus,” and, “we’ve got to return that money, a portion of that to the taxpayers,” Governor Hutchinson said,
Despite the pressures of inflation, high gas prices, and living through a pandemic, Governor Hutchinson says the state is thriving.
“The financial condition of the state has never been better,” stated Governor Hutchinson.
One Arkansan I spoke to, Pamala Joy, said she is excited to hear the news about the tax relief.
Joy said, “It’s so needed right now, with you know the pandemic and everything it’s just so needed,” and, “I hope so much that it passes”.
Governor Hutchinson said one of the first things he wants to do if this passes, is to accelerate going to a 4.9% individual income tax rate. This would be something that wouldn’t happen until January of 2025.
Governor Hutchinson said, “we want them to have better-paying jobs, we want them to be able to have some help, with lower taxes, and that’s the immediate relief we can provide”.
While some are excited about the news, one teacher I spoke with, Jill Brown, said she is wondering how this money will go towards helping the teacher shortage in Arkansas.
“He has brought up the idea of increasing teacher pay by 4 thousand,” said Brown.
Governor Hutchinson said these other concerns will be addressed at a later time.
“Some of these, many of these will have to wait until next year into the general session of the legislature and the next administration,” stated Governor Hutchinson.
Governor Hutchinson said that being able to give taxpayers back some money, should help alleviate some pressure.
“Some might see the tax relief and say this is not enough to cover all of my extra expenses, while that might be true in some instances, this will help,” said Governor Hutchinson.