Arkansas House of Representatives Weekly Column | Vanburen

From workers who clean our roads to utility workers who do their best to keep homes warm, we want to express our deepest gratitude to our essential workers this week.

The General Assembly took an extended break due to the winter weather in our state. However, House members plan to be back on Capitol Hill on February 22.

In the coming days, the House is expected to vote on two tax relief bills that were put forward by the House Revenue and Taxation Committee on February 9.

SB236 would exempt unemployment benefits paid in 2020 and 2021 from state income tax.

In previous years, an average of 45,000 Arkansans have hit unemployment. Last year, due to the pandemic, more than 280,000 Arkansans received unemployment benefits. This represents about 18% of Arkansas taxpayers and $ 2.6 billion in payments. Taxes are not withheld from unemployment benefits.

The SB236 would ensure that these Arkansans would not have to pay taxes on the benefits they received this year and in 2020. The Ministry of Finance and Administration estimates that the bill will have an impact of 51 million dollars on current year income.

SB236 was passed by the Senate with unanimous support.

Another tax relief bill before the House next week is HB1361.

HB1361 would exempt COVID-19 relief loans for small businesses, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), from state income tax.

Over 42,000 PPP loans totaling $ 3.3 billion were distributed to small businesses in Arkansas last year. These loans are currently exempt from federal income tax.

The unemployment rate in Arkansas is now 4.2%. Recent reports show our state’s general revenue to be $ 298.7 million, 8.4% more than the same time last year.

Net sales available are 12.3% higher than forecast. The results include collection increases related to the shift in the income tax due date to July from April of the previous year. These reports help guide our decision making when reviewing tax reduction proposals.

As a reminder, you can find agendas and links to live broadcasts of all House committee proceedings and sittings on www.arkansashouse.org.

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