Day 2 recap: Arkansas' special legislative session
Here's what happened on the second day of the special session of the Arkansas General Assembly:
1. Both the state House and Senate passed identical tax cut measures — HB1002 and SB1 — to reduce individual and corporate income taxes, provide a $150 credit to some taxpayers and align the state's property depreciation schedule with federal guidelines.
2. At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Arkansas Democrats said they would file the Raising Arkansas' Investment in Schools and Educators Act (HB1006 and SB3), aiming to give every elementary and secondary school teacher a $4,000 raise and setting the minimum starting wage at $42,000, up from $36,000 for the 2022-23 school year. The bill is valued at $600 million.
- The group also filed matching bills (HB1005 and SB4), which would provide $2,500 bonuses for teachers' aides, clerks and similar staff working in Arkansas schools for fiscal years 2023, 2024 and 2025. It's valued at $250 million.
- Rep. Megan Godfrey (D-Fayetteville) indicated that five Republican representatives have said they would vote for the bill if it gets to the floor.
3. The bills won't make it to the floor unless the session is extended. Democrats plan to file a resolution that would allow the introduction of other bills after concluding the business that the session was called for — tax cuts and school safety funding.
- "We're hopeful, but we're not confident that we'll get the two-thirds votes in each chamber to extend the session," Sen. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) told reporters.
What's next: Both chambers reconvene Thursday, Aug. 11, at 9am.
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