Since taking office, Gov. Mike Beebe has worked with three different legislatures to chip away at the grocery tax, managing to drop it from six to 1.5 percent.
This is Gov. Beebe's last regular session with the General Assembly, and Tuesday he told legislators he feels a sense of urgency to end the tax once and for all. But, it's a last chance he might have to pass on because of budget concerns.
"While building the budget it became clear that I could not make such a proposal in good conscience. With the challenges we face, I don't see room to cut this tax at this time without endangering needed services, but I still want to plan for it," Beebe told legislators during his State of the State Address.
Beebe alluded to a plan that includes passing a possible trigger bill. The governor said we may not have the money now, but he does see some cash freeing up in the future. Specifically, when the state's payments and to the Pulaski County Special School District. Those payments are a result of the desegregation ruling of the 1980s.
Passing a trigger bill would make ending the grocery tax the first call on that money. The governor may not be in office at that time, but he says the automatic trigger would ensure that the job and they started would be finished.
COMPLETE COVERAGEBeebe Proposes Trigger to End Grocery Tax (Jan. 15)Ark. lawmakers: No rush on tax cut proposals (Jan. 20)Arkansas House speaker backs $150M in tax cuts (Feb. 26)Ark. panel approves tax cut for farm structures (March 14)Tax exemption for farmers passes Arkansas House (March 18)Ark. leaders say they're closer to tax cut deal (March 20)Ark. House panel advances income tax cut bill (March 26)Beebe: Problem with tax cuts' effective dates (March 27)Income Tax cuts in Arkansas (April 2)Ark. House panel OKs tax cut for manufacturers (April 2)Ark. House speaker amends capital gains tax bill (April 4)House approves conditional cut in Ark. grocery tax (April 16)Arkansas House approves package of tax cut bills (April 16)Ark. Senate committee advances tax cut bills (April 18)Ark. Senate approves $140M tax cut package (April 19)