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Gov. Sanders calls special session | Here's what it means for Arkansas tax cuts, FOIA laws

Gov. Sarah Sanders on Friday announced a special session that will focus on tax cuts for Arkansans and reforms to the state's FOIA laws.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday announced a special session that will focus on tax cuts for Arkansans, and corporations, as well as revisions to the state's FOIA laws. 

The governor announced that the special session will begin on Monday and will focus on three things: cutting taxes, "streamlining state government," and what she called "protections of [Arkansans'] freedom." 

Gov. Sanders stated that tax cuts will be the main priority of the special session. 

She acknowledged that two of the states that border Arkansas, Texas and Tennessee, are no income tax states. She said that this makes it hard for Arkansas to be competitive as a result.  

"The legislation that we're introducing will cut taxes even more than we did in the regular session," Gov. Sanders said. 

House Bill 1001 was filed on Friday afternoon. 

The governor said that she plans to shave $250 million on personal income taxes while lowering the personal income tax percent. 

In addition to the tax cuts, Gov. Sanders shared that they plan to offer immediate tax relief in the form of one-time $150 payments to roughly a million middle-class Arkansans, who are making less than $90,000 annually. 

The governor said that they plan to create the Arkansas Reserve Fund, which will "be filled with $710 million," to help "phase out" income tax. 

State Senators like Jonathan Dismang are already behind this. As for how soon Arkansans will see the money, he explained that it just depends. 

"That's going to be and depend on DFA. So the sooner they change the withholding tables, the sooner that that's going to be reflected in people's paychecks, but they are guaranteed to start seeing it when filing tax season comes in 2024," said Dismang. 

Gov. Sanders also shared that she plans to revise the state's FOIA laws, claiming that the laws are being "weaponized" by some.

"Some are weaponizing FOIA and taking advantage of our laws to hamper state government and enrich themselves," Gov. Sanders said. 

She said that Arkansas's FOIA laws have been "largely unchanged" since they were signed into law, and pointed to the advancements in technology as one of the key reasons behind the reform. 

She also explained that the current law puts her and her family at risk. 

"We will update sections of the law so that the sources and methods Arkansas State Police uses to protect me and my family outside of the governor's mansion are not subject to disclosure," Gov. Sanders said. 

Another bill was filed on Friday afternoon aimed at prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates for all state employees. 

"That will not happen again here in the state of Arkansas," Gov. Sanders said. 

Lawmakers will meet Monday a 11:00 a.m. 

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