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Bills progress through committees on day 2 of special session

Lawmakers are making progress during the second day of Arkansas's special session— this morning the House and Senate approved bills on tax cuts and school safety.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Bills on tax cuts and school safety made progress on their way to the Governor's desk today— those bills were passed out of their respective chambers and subsequently passed out of committee on Wednesday morning.

"We're just trying to make the quality of life as good as we can for the state of Arkansas, and the hard-working citizens of Arkansas," State Representative Joe Jett, (R) - Clay County, said.

Jett is the sponsor of the tax cut bill making its way through the House—  and there are a couple of things that will happen if the bill is approved.

Individuals would receive a $150 tax credit, and married couples would receive $300. The agriculture industry would also be able to expense over a million dollars on farm equipment.

On the Senate side, Senator Jonathan Dismang, (R) - Prairie County, is sponsoring a similar bill and said it would immediately benefit Arkansans if passed.

"Establish that $150 tax credit for taxpayers, who, in the state of Arkansas, one important thing to keep in mind, that's going to eliminate income taxes for about 95 thousand Arkansans," Dismang said.

According to a breakdown from Representative Jett, the state's individual median income is $26,526, and if passed, the average Arkansan would save hundreds of dollars. 

These changes would drop their tax rate and save them around $365 each year, which would start as soon as the Governor signs it.

This hasn't been the only bill being discussed during the special session—  the school safety funding bill was also passed out of the Senate today.

"We all want to make sure this is a priority, that our children are kept safe, and if we have the money to spend, then we should spend it," said Senator Missy Irvin, (R) - Mountain View, who sponsored the bill.

One thing not talked about throughout the session has been teacher pay. Lawmakers have said that they will not discuss it during this session, although there have been plenty of demonstrations in support of it.

Democrats held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to discuss extending the session to talk about the issue.

In a statement, Senator Clarke Tucker, (D) - Little Rock, said "we can also provide real support to teachers and support staff, the profession that is the foundation for the future of our state, and we can do it now, in a real-time of need."

That statement goes on to say, "We're not leaving until we do right by educators."

Lawmakers will return on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. to continue the special session. The consensus is that they will finish at this time.


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