ARKANSAS, USA — During a special session on Dec. 7, the lead item will be the tax reduction bill.
Gov. Hutchinson says he spoke with leaders in both the house and the senate who say there is a majority vote, meaning the reduction/tax cut plans are expected to pass.
The governor also says the cuts are balanced for the high, middle, and lower classes. However, a group of nonprofits sent a letter to the legislature asking lawmakers not to move forward with this tax cut plan.
The letter was sent by the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, reading in part:
“We know the Arkansas Legislature is preparing to discuss and vote on a tax cut package that will largely benefit a small number of wealthy Arkansans. Right now, more than 1 in 5 children in Arkansas are growing up in poverty. And we're ranked near the bottom of states in our educational and health outcomes. Cutting taxes for the wealthy will do nothing to make Arkansas a better place to raise or be a kid.”
The organizations a part of writing the letter to the governor include:
- AAUW Arkansas
- Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
- Arkansas Association for Infant Mental Health
- Arkansas Citizens First Congress
- Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese
- Arkansas Community Institute
- Arkansas Community Organizations
- Arkansas Medical, Dental & Pharmaceutical Association
- Arkansas Public Policy Panel
- Arkansas Support Network
- Arkansas Waiver Association
- Disability Rights Arkansas
- Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas
- Marshallese Educational Initiative
- Rural Community Alliance
- The Urban League of the State of Arkansas
The organizations say instead of tax cuts they hope state leaders use that funding to invest in things such as after-school programs and nonprofits. Saying we could reach unmet needs of education for Arkansas children.
"If we want to live in a state where everyone can reach their full potential,” said Arkansas Advocates for Children Sr. Policy Analyst and Family, Bruno Showers. “Those types of investments are going to get us there faster than a top cut tax rate that mainly benefits the wealthy."
The governor says this is something the state is doing. Saying they have continued to invest in social programs, pre-k, and after-school programs. As well as invest in our food banks.
"We are meeting the needs there and will continue to do so," said Governor Hutchinson.
Showers says the state has not seen a significant increase in funding for pre-k services in years and says now is the time.
Ahead of the special session, Gov. Hutchinson was also asked if we would see any abortion laws discussed and said no because we have one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation and with challenges happening at the supreme court with abortion laws it is something he is not considering.