Hutchinson talks budget, tax cuts, teacher pay raises in State of the State Address

Hutchinson talks budget, tax cuts, teacher pay raises in State of the State Address
Gov. Asa Hutchinson will deliver his annual State of the State Address Tuesday morning to the Arkansas General Assembly. (Source: KAIT)

Hutchinson started the speech addressing the ongoing 11-month global pandemic, and the Captiol storming last week. Hutchinson said, “We saw a mob attack the heart of our democracy and they must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Hutchinson recognized that “We have moved $800 million from the government checkbook into hands of individuals across our state,” in referencing tax cuts his administration has done over the years.

On Arkansas’ budget, Hutchinson touted, “We have an unallocated fund of over $200 million and we have beat forecasts in the 6 months of this budget by over $300 million.”

A topic that has sparked lawsuits is the Governor’s emergency declaration. Hutchinson said, “The current emergency rules are in place until Feb 27th. Prior to that date you need to act. I trust you will affirm the emergency and continue the rules: Telemedicine, educational waivers, immunity liability for business and healthcare workers.”

Hutchinson also announced he was efforting another raise for Arkansas teachers.

Hutchinson also addressed Arkansas being only one of three states in the U.S. without a ‘Hate Crime Bill.’ The governor read letters he’s received in support of his proposed hate crimes legislation, which already faces a steep path in the Senate. “My only request is that you listen and make your own judgments on the bill,” Hutchinson said.

The Governor also talked about tax cuts, a total of $50 million worth. Hutchinson is asking for reducing the sales tax on used cars that sell from $4,000-$10,000 dollars. The current tax is 6.5%, and he wants to lower to 3.5%.

Hutchinson is also asking that new residence to the state of Arkansas to pay a 4.9% tax rate over 5 years. He hopes it will attract new Arkansans, and create jobs and spend money.

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