In her report from the Arkansas State Capitol, Sen. Missy Irvin says when the legislature meets on Jan. 14 of the new year, it will take up proposals to lower income taxes and simplify the tax table.
One of the main questions is how quickly to implement the full amount of tax reductions, whatever they may be, according to the state senator. Some legislators want to phase the cuts in over four years, some over three years, some over two years, and some want to proceed more slowly.
In 2019, Irvin says there will be heightened interest in the amount of teacher pay raises. Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s recommendation is to raise the salaries $1,000 per year until the beginning teacher pay is raised to $36,000 a year. It now stands under $32,000.
Another recommendation from the governor is to consider reducing the number of state agencies from 42 to 15. Legislators should get plenty of input on that suggestion.
Hutchinson is also recommending adding 30 parole officers to the state Department of Community Corrections in order to lower their average caseload. Irvin says the department now employs 489 parole officers with an average caseload of 98 parolees.
The legislature will be in session for a minimum of 60 days.
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