Arkansas General Assembly preparing for upcoming fiscal session; LEARNS funding, tax cuts on priority list 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas is officially one week away from the legislative fiscal session at the state capitol, and lawmakers are considering what this means for the state.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has proposed a $6.3 billion budget for the upcoming year, with most of the spending increase going towards the school voucher program under the Arkansas LEARNS Act.

Sanders’ budget proposal would also increase state spending by 1.76% compared to the previous year, below the 3% increase the state has seen in previous years under previous administrations.

Senators from each side of the aisle spoke about their goals for the session.

“Our goal is to find savings, cut spending, so at the end of the day we can reduce the overall tax burden on Arkansans,” Sen. Ben Gilmore (R-Crossett) said.

Sen. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) said his priority is ensuring all agencies receive their necessary funding. He emphasized education, health care and the justice system.

“For me, early childhood education would be at the top of the list,” Tucker said. “We also need to make sure people have health care. We need to make sure we have investments in our justice system to make sure that we’re arresting people who commit violent crime, but then also do a better job at rehabilitating them.”

“There may be pieces of an agency’s budget that I don’t like, or there may be pieces of it that I don’t think are funded enough, but the only alternative I have is to vote against the entire agency’s budget, which in all likelihood I’m not going to take,” Tucker said.

In addition to voting on appropriations, legislators can propose other resolutions for the general assembly to vote on taking up or not on the first day of the fiscal session.

Gilmore said there could be a resolution to change the current crypto-mining law passed this year. No official details have been released on this or what would change, but KARK 4 News will continue to follow it and provide updates.

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