Reporting from the special session of the legislature, this is Senator Keith Ingram.
The legislature finished up the special session Thursday after giving final approval to the largest tax cut in Arkansas history.
More than 104,000 low-income families will no longer pay state income taxes. Calculating taxes will become simpler for low-income and middle-income families, because the current three tax tables will be reduced to two.
For taxpayers in the high income bracket, the top rate will drop from 5.9 percent to 5.5 percent next year. It will continue to go down until 2025, when the top rate will be 4.9 percent.
An important provision for many legislators is a “trigger,” which protects state revenue in case of a sudden downturn in the state economy.
Overall, when the tax cuts are fully in place in 2026, they will save Arkansas families and businesses almost $500 million a year.
Also Thursday, the legislature gave final approval to incentives for a steel mill to locate in Mississippi County.
We’re competing strongly with two other states for a $3 billion project by U.S. Steel, which would create about 900 well-paid jobs.
700 of those jobs will pay $120,000 a year and 200 jobs will pay $60,000 a year.
The incentives would include tax credits for recycling and waste reduction.
Lawmakers also approved a short list of housekeeping measures that were on the governor’s call for the special session.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the Arkansas Senate if we didn’t have some drama.
After the Senate completed all the items on the governor’s call, a handful of senators tried to extend the session.
They wanted to bring up legislation of importance to them, but the full Senate determined that the bills could wait until next year’s fiscal session.
After the Senate defeated their attempts to extend the special session more deeply into the Christmas season, we adjourned.
From the Capitol, this is Senator Keith Ingram wishing you a Merry Christmas.