During his weekly briefing this week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson shared his proposal for providing additional tax relief to Arkansans, updated quarantine guidance for schools, and the latest on COVID-19 in Arkansas.

Tax Reduction Plan

Hutchinson presented his tax relief proposal for a Special Session of the General Assembly. He noted the tentative beginning date of October 25 will be postponed to allow time to further achieve legislative consensus.

The reduction plan is composed of three elements:

Provide a low-income tax break and increase the individual tax credit.

Combine the low- and middle-income tables to focus on a tax break for middle incomes.

Lower the top rate from 5.9% to 5.5% in the next year, and then lower to 5.3% by 2024.

A corporate tax cut is also being discussed, which would require the state to meet certain financial revenue responsibilities to ensure the tax cut can be properly funded.

Hutchinson said that there is a broad agreement with many legislators over the tax cut plan and hopes that they can put this together into a bill and have it ready to go.

“Certain elements of this plan are still in discussion, and we want to be able to get the facts out so the public can participate in this discussion,” he said. “This is a good tax reduction plan and, most importantly, can be paid for out of recurring revenue and not one-time money.”

Updated quarantine guidance for schools

Hutchinson announced protocol changes for K-12 schools.

The first change is to update the definition of a close contact in a school setting from within 6 feet for 15 minutes of a case while infectious to within 3 feet for 15 minutes.

The second change is to allow test-to-stay protocols to apply to extracurricular activities instead of only applying to the school day.

These changes will affect quarantine protocols for school districts.

Vaccination eliminates the need for quarantine, and if both the case and the contact are masked, there is no need for quarantine.

COVID-19

Hutchinson reported 661 new cases reported Tuesday, a downward trend from last week as active cases continue to drop as well. The report included 19 additional deaths in Arkansas.

You can watch the full briefing HERE