Arkansas lawmakers advance tax-cut bills and try to stave off shutdown of hunting, fishing agency

Arkansas lawmakers on Monday advanced income and property tax cuts and a compromise proposal to avoid a shutdown of the state’s hunting and fishing programs.

Lawmakers moved quickly on the main agenda items for the Special Session Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders called last week. House and Senate committees endorsed identical versions of the tax cut measures, setting up initial floor votes in the predominantly Republican Legislature on Tuesday morning.

If approved, the income tax cuts would be third signed by Sanders, who has called for phasing out the income tax since she took office last year. The state has been forecast to end its current fiscal year with a $708 million surplus.

“I think we’re in a good position to further reduce this tax burden on our citizens,” Republican Rep. Les Eaves said.

The legislation calls for cutting the top individual income tax rate from 4.4% to 3.9% and the top corporate rate from 4.8% to 4.3%, retroactive to Jan. 1. Finance officials say the cuts will cost about $483 million the first year and $322 million a year after that. The proposals are expected to easily pass both chambers, with most Republican lawmakers signed on as co-sponsors.

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