Gov. Asa Hutchinson blinked (last Tuesday) in calling a special session to lower the top state income tax rates for his rich friends making over $250,000 a year for later this month.
But a report issued by the state Department of Finance and Administration on Oct. 21 seemed to have cleared the way for the governor to issue the Legislative Call as state finances were deemed by the DF&A to be in good shape for the desired cuts for the wealthy.
Ah, the warp and woof of the state's political drama.
In blinking on a quick call, as he promised at the end of October, our governor not only blinked, but he gave the far-right members of the Arkansas Legislature another very strong signal to rev up their never-ending tirade against abortion with another less than constitutional bill.
With the good report from DF&A as the lead news item, rumors of a special session called "before Thanksgiving," have arisen and are being talked about.
As being so unsure if his long talked about and very little actually being done tax cuts of the state personal incomes tax rates, Hutchinson, in a state of caution, warned that he would not have the votes necessary for a quick and easy three-day session. He also signaled he hoped the U.S. Supreme Court might quell the far-right abortion law push.
Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayers should simply ask their elected governor this simple question: Does he or does he not have the votes to cut personal state and corporate incomes tax rates?
Well, I am asking: Does Asa have the votes necessary to push this often-talked about issue through the General Assembly?
A follow-up question: Does he have the votes to then end the session without an extended week or so of wrangling through "other bills?"
I do understand the politics of not wanting to call this version of the 93rd General Assembly back into town, given the strong and overwhelmingly renegade members of the legislature.
Just how contrary are the members of this legislature to conventional thinking and the truth?
Last week, five members of the legislature, led, no doubt by State Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, signed on to a letter calling for a 50-state audit of the 2020 Presidential Election.
Also inking their names proudly on the letter are: State Rep. Mary Bentley, R-Perryville; Rep. Mark Lowry, R-Maumelle; Rep. Marcus Richmond, R-Harvey; and Rep. Brandt Smith, R-Jonesboro.
The national letter contains signatures from 150 lawmakers from 38 states.
To say any of these four needed Sen. Garner's urging to sign on to such an embarrassing letter which basically says election fraud and corruption may have altered the 2020 election results is as false as the letter itself.
Never were there five politicians that needed to answer the question out on the campaign stump: Who won the 2020 election?
It is with such members of the general assembly, that the governor is having doubts, even with a very encouraging report on the current state of finances in Arkansas, to call this special session.
Conservatives want a special session where by a vote of 67% of the membership, it can extend the special call to include such items as strengthening the state's abortion laws. Can Asa muster the votes to end the session?
Given the rosy outlook of the state's current financial status, perhaps that is the key to Hutchinson's hesitation. Is it easier to cut personal income tax rates when the coffers are full, even if it is from ear-marked federal funds from the pandemic?
Or should the real cuts to his tax base be done when it can be immediately felt, as in trimming back cuts to schools (which will be affected the most) or state services, prisons, law enforcement and others.
We are not sure the personal income tax cuts, although promised by Hutchinson early and often, should be made.
Are his friends making more than $250,000 annually really crying around the Governor's Mansion for relief?