House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, sprinted through three House committees this morning telling members that it was the “start of the third quarter.”
He urged House members of the Judiciary, Revenue and Tax, and Public Health Committees to take action on issues that would be “in the best interest of the state.”
Carter told Revenue and Tax Committee members that he thought a $150 million tax cut package, anchored in a capital gains tax cut, was doable. He noted that it might start at $50 million and add $25 million in cuts per year in future years.
He also said he expected lawmakers to have answers they need this week regarding Medicaid expansion. Gov. Mike Beebe (D) met with federal officials, including U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, over the weekend to discuss flexibility for the state’s low-income health care program.
With a potential 100% funding of Medicaid expansion available to the state, legislators are considering expansion and reforms to the existing program in an effort to improve its financial footing and to cover more uninsured Arkansans.
This afternoon, Senators and Representatives are expected to meet with Beebe to discuss the results of his meeting with the feds.
In a short hallway interview with reporters, Carter said he proposed cutting capital gains taxes in the context of Medicaid and health care reform because of the impact to businesses.
“At the end of the day, the folks that are going to be paying for this are the job creators in this state and this country. We’re going to at least give that due consideration,” Carter said.
Gov. Mike Beebe (D) said he and Carter have spoken about the concept of a capital gains tax cut. However, Beebe said that the issue wasn’t tied to Medicaid in his mind.
He also said that he still had not seen any balanced budget projections prepared by legislative leadership that would show how to pay for the cuts and meet state services’ needs.
“I’ve presented a balanced budget. It’s there for the world to see – you see where the money is going and where it’s coming from,” said Beebe. “We can’t even afford my number one tax cut right now immediately, which is groceries.”