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Arkansas Senate approves bill to cap state income taxes

KUAF

Arkansas Senate approves state income tax cap

The Arkansas Senate is approving a bill to cap state income taxes at 4.4% for individuals earning over $24,000 dollars per year. Republican Senator Jonathan Dismang introduced SB 8 to the special session, which began yesterday. Bill Kopsky, the executive director of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, spoke against the bill in a committee meeting. He said Arkansas state taxes burden middle-class and low-income families more than any other group. Kopsky said tax relief in Arkansas should focus on supporting low-earning Arkansans. 

“We rank near-last on most quality of life measures,” Kopsky said. “From education, poverty, to life expectancy, this bill makes no investments in anything we need to rise above that national floor. And it squanders an opportunity to invest in what would improve conditions for all of our communities.”

Senator Dismang did not address opposing voices, instead focusing on his ongoing efforts to cut taxes.

“There was a reference to that $1.6 billion of income taxes that have been cut so far,” Dismang said. “I would tell you that I strongly advocated and was successful doing so along with my colleagues and then ensuring that we lowered the income taxes for the middle class and Arkansas working families and the low-income earners in the state. So again, just a little bit of history and perspective is important.”

The bill passed without opposition from the committee and will go to the full Senate for a vote.

Arkansas lawmakers fail to advance legislation curtailing the state’s Freedom of Information Act

After the first day of the special session, Arkansas lawmakers failed to advance legislation curtailing the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ call to consider changes to FOIA has prompted complaints from both liberal and conservative activists and lawmakers, as well as several press groups in Arkansas. The House of Representatives adjourned yesterday afternoon before the bill could be heard by committee. The Senate was scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. yesterday to consider changes to the bill. By 7:30 p.m., Senate President Pro-Tem Bart Hester said there would be no bill to discuss. Late last night, a new version of the FOIA bill was filed.

ExperienceFayetteville teaches cities how to be bike-friendly

The Bicycle-Friendly Business Bootcamp is being hosted on Wednesday by Experience Fayetteville in collaboration with the city of Fayetteville and the nonprofit League of American Bicyclists. Brannon Pack is the Director of Cycling Tourism for Experience Fayetteville. He said the bootcamp is a complimentary workshop for business owners in Fayetteville and the surrounding area who want their business to become more bicycle-friendly.

“Both as a means to create a better work environment and a create a better place to work,” Pack said. “[It’s] being supportive of their employees that want or need to commute by bicycle.”

Businesses can apply for designation as a nationally recognized Bicycle Friendly Business with the complementary one-day workshop. Pack said a study in 2022 shows a $159 million annual impact from cycling in northwest Arkansas, with $59 million of that coming just from cycling tourism.

“You can see why business owners, as they hear those numbers, and they start to hear about the business benefits associated with cycling tourism, how they can become pretty interested in what it truly means to be bicycle friendly,” Pack said. “And also how they can engage this new [kind of] visitor that the region is seeing as we develop such award-winning and world-class trail infrastructure.”

The bootcamp is entering its fifth year, and Pack said it’s been successful. So far, the city of Fayetteville has 50 nationally recognized bicycle-friendly businesses.

“It’s the third most in the country,” Pack said. “And that’s not per-capita. We’re a decent size town, but regardless of size, Fayetteville has the third most bicycle-friendly businesses in the country.”

This event begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.

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Victoria Hernandez is a news intern for KUAF and currently a senior dual majoring in English/Journalism with History and Gender Studies minors at the University of Arkansas.
Kyle Kellams is KUAF's news director and host of Ozarks at Large.
Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
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