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Historic Arkansas tax-cut bill moves along in special session

Those in favor of the bill say every Arkansan who pays taxes will benefit from this nearly half a billion dollar plan.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Governor Asa Hutchinson's historic tax-cut bill is inching closer to passing at the State Capitol.

State lawmakers spent day two of the special session actually discussing the bill, after talks got sidelined Tuesday.

Those in favor of the bill said every Arkansan who pays taxes will benefit from this nearly half a billion dollar plan, but those against it say there's a better way to use this money in our state.

Arkansas lawmakers came together at the State Capitol for day two of the special session on Wednesday, Dec. 8. 

This time, sticking to the agenda.

"I think this is not only the largest tax-cut in Arkansas, it's also the most vetted tax-cut there has ever been," Representative John Maddox (District 20) said.

Both the House and the Senate passed mirroring tax-cut bills. It's the whole reason Gov. Hutchinson called this special session. 

House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Maddox, described it as a "monumental" measure.

"It doesn't matter where you are on the income scale, you will receive more money in your paycheck, you will receive benefit from this plan," he said.

So, what exactly would the bill do if passed?

It looks to lower the top tax rate for individuals from 5.9% to 4.9% over the next four years. 

Over time, it will cut corporate tax rate to 5.3%.

It would also combine the low and middle-income tax tables and provide a tax credit for people who make less than $23,600. 

"We just want to stay competitive, and we want to reward our local companies and businesses and we want to make Arkansas more attractive for out of state businesses," Rep. Maddox said. 

Those against the bill, like Representative Reginald Murdock (District 48), still believe that Arkansas needs a tax cut. 

He said that's not the problem with this bill, the problem is the balancing of it. 

"There are so many services to people, quality services to people, that affects their quality of life, that we can enhance with these dollars, that we are using to cut taxes," Rep. Murdock said. 

Murdock and many other state Democrats said that even though every Arkansas taxpayer will benefit from this, the benefit won't be as impactful to many lower-income families. 

"What I'm talking about doing for Arkansans, and needy and deserving Arkansans, is something impactful and we have enough money if we are going to take care of the rich, please take care of the poor," he said.

Wednesday afternoon Gov. Hutchinson tweeted that he's grateful for the support and is looking forward to a final passage of the tax bill. 

The Senate reconvenes at 9 a.m. and the House at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 9, for day three of the special session.