Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
January 31st, 2019 • News

January 31, 2019

  • This week legislators got their first look at the details of the governor’s proposal to lower state income taxes.
  • There are parts of the proposal that I like, and there are parts I don’t like and will try to change.
  • I like the fact that the governor appeared to listen to members of the Legislative Tax Reform Task Force, who like myself were concerned about the fiscal impact on essential services, such as education, health care and law enforcement.
  • Kansas and Oklahoma are good examples of states that enacted too many tax cuts in too short of a period. Now they’re struggling to fund public schools and basic services.
  • The tax cuts in the Arkansas bill would be phased in over two years. The top rate would drop from 6.9 percent to 6.6 percent the first year, then down to 5.9 percent the second year. That rate would apply to taxpayers who earn more than $80,500 a year.
  • The revenue impact will be $97 million a year, instead of the $192 million in the governor’s original plan.
  • I’d prefer that middle class and lower-income families receive a greater share of the tax breaks, and one effective way to achieve this is to increase the earned income tax credit. It has a proven track record of benefitting working families.
  • Another major bill introduced this week is a major highway funding package. It has several components that combine to produce about $240 million a year in additional highway funding.
  • Many highway programs are proposed by legislators, and it is extremely rare for them to be approved in the same form as when they were originally introduced. I fully expect this highway funding bill to undergo numerous changes.
  • The good news is that we have initiated a serious discussion about highway funding. Improving our transportation infrastructure will pay dividends throughout the Arkansas economy, and it’s critical that we get it done this session.
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from January 31, 2019