Sen. Bruce Holland, R-Greenwood, says the Arkansas Legislature should focus first on creating jobs before addressing tax rate changes — a stance that is a slight departure from his peers within the Republican Party of Arkansas.
As part of their plan to seek majority control in the Arkansas House and Arkansas Senate, the Arkansas GOP is promoting a SIMPLE plan that includes phasing in lower rates for Arkansas’ individual income tax.
“Our top income-tax rate is 7% on earned income above $33,200. My plan would give all workers tax relief and simplify the system,” Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, noted in a recent guest commentary published by The City Wire. “We eliminate two of the six tax brackets – the 2.5% and 7% rates – which drops the new top rate to 6%. We then phase in higher income levels (six-figure earners) for the 6% rate over time.”
The individual income tax generated $2.895 billion in fiscal year 2012 (June 2011-July 2012), or almost 49% of all state revenue for the year.
Holland, who faces Rep. Tracy Pennartz, D-Fort Smith, in the November general election, said he thinks focusing on economic growth should take priority over changes in the state tax code. During a Thursday (Sept. 6) interview for the upcoming The City Wire Show, Holland explained that increased revenue resulting from more jobs would make it easier to push for a lower state income tax rate.
Rogers Mayor Greg Hines is also scheduled to be on The City Wire Show to talk about business growth in the city. July building permit values in the city totaled $2.228 million, well ahead of the $933,000 during July 2011. Year-to-date (January-June) sales tax collections in the city are $8.694 million, up 8.3% compared to the same period in 2011.
To ensure the growth continues and is sustainable, Hines said some of his goals are to diversify the city’s economy, stay ahead of infrastructure needs, promote tourism and retain a vibrant downtown.
University of Arkansas officials are already planning to handle large stadium and tailgate crowds at the Sept. 15 game in Fayetteville between the Razorbacks and the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
Lt. Matt Mills, with the University of Arkansas Police Department, said during his interview for The City Wire Show that security will include more than 200 officers, with some of those coming from communities in the Fort Smith metro area. Mills said the security also includes plain-clothes officers who watch for scalpers and other violations.
Mills said a key job of officers is to prevent highly intoxicated people from entering the stadium.
THE CITY WIRE SHOW
The City Wire Show, which appears Saturday and Sunday mornings in the two markets, will include a recap of major events, updates and details on ongoing issues, updates on newsmakers and discussion of arts & entertainment action.
The show airs Saturday mornings at 8 .m. on KXNW-TV 34, which is channel 20 for Cox cable customers in Northwest Arkansas and channel 8 for Cox cable customers in the Fort Smith area. The show will air Sunday mornings at 6 a.m. on KFSM-TV 5.
5NEWS Anchor Daren Bobb and The City Wire managing editor Michael Tilley are hosts for the show.