Mar 7, 2022 - Politics

State budget nears finish line

Arkansas state capitol building.
Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Arkansas lawmakers are winding down the 2022 fiscal session.

What's happening: The 93rd general assembly is expected to pass Revenue Stabilization Acts Monday that would increase the state's general budget by $175 million to $6.02 billion, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

Why it matters: The final appropriations bills passed and enacted from the session will determine how taxpayer money is spent in fiscal 2023, which begins July 1.

  • The next governor and any newly elected state legislators will inherit the budget.

Yes, and: The acts would also transfer $150 million from the state's general reserves to a restricted reserve fund to pay for various improvements and projects. Though no specific projects are called out in the acts, the projects could include:

  • $60 million to $100 million for a proposed men's prison expansion.
  • $10 million to purchase equipment, such as body cameras and body armor, for state law enforcement agencies.
  • Matching funds for a new veterans home in Northwest Arkansas and projects at the Arkansas School for the Deaf and Arkansas School for the Blind could also come from the restricted funds.

Of note: The Arkansas Legislative Council has to approve use of the restricted funds.

Worthy of your time:

  1. An amendment to appropriations for the Department of Finance and Administration would limit personal property tax increases due to the rising value of used vehicles. The House approved the amendment last week and sent it to the Senate.
  2. The House passed a $50 million bill Thursday to provide stipends to Arkansas law enforcement officers. About 7,300 would receive $5,000 stipends and nearly 550 state troopers would receive $2,000 stipends. The bill now moves to the governor to sign.
  3. The House sent the governor a bill last week that would grant the Department of the Military $5 million to allocate grants to the Arkansas National Guard Foundation. The money would come from the $150 million restricted reserve.
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