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Arkansas lawmakers advance tax cut and school safety bills

by The Associated Press | August 10, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson holds up an interim report from a commission formed to review school safety measures at a news conference at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Tuesday, Aug. 2,2022. A proposed $50 million grant program for school safety is on the agenda for a legislative special session that is being held this week. (AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo)

LITTLE ROCK -- Arkansas lawmakers advanced tax cuts and a school safety grant program on Tuesday as they began a special session spurred by the state's $1.6 billion surplus.

The House and Senate Revenue and Taxation committees endorsed identical bills outlining the tax cuts proposed by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who called the session. Both chambers are expected to take up the legislation Wednesday.

The cuts include accelerating reductions in individual and corporate income taxes that the majority-Republican Legislature approved last year.

The Joint Budget Committee also endorsed a bill creating the $50 million grant program for school safety measures. That measure now goes to the Senate for a vote. Hutchinson called for the program following the May shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school that killed 19 students and two teachers.

Democratic lawmakers have called for raising teacher salaries during the session but have faced resistance from Republican leaders who say the proposal should be taken up next year. Hutchinson earlier this year proposed teacher raises, but decided against putting it on the agenda because of lack of support.

Any proposal on teacher raises would need least two-thirds support in both chambers to be considered since the issue is not on the session agenda.

photo Supporters of legislation to provide pay raises to Arkansas teachers march toward the steps of the state Capitol, in Little Rock, Ark., Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022. The rally and a block party were organized by the Pay AR Teachers movement to urge lawmakers to add educator pay raises to the agenda of a special legislative session scheduled for Monday, Aug. 8. (Colin Murphey/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)
photo Supporters of legislation to provide pay raises to Arkansas teachers attend a block party prior to a rally on the steps of the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022. The rally and a block party were organized by the Pay AR Teachers movement to urge lawmakers to add educator pay raises to the agenda of a special legislative session scheduled for Monday, Aug. 8. (Colin Murphey/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

Print Headline: Arkansas lawmakers advance tax cut and school safety bills

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