Southwest Arkansas Daily
by State Representative Nate Steel
The Arkansas House of Representatives ended a whirlwind week by passing
a flurry of tax cut proposals out of a House committee Friday afternoon.
The bills advanced from the House Revenue and Taxation Committee
after leaders of the House and Senate, along with the governor's office,
reached compromise about which measures fit best within the state's
One measure passed was SB 276, which reduces the tax on groceries by
another half-cent, taking the tax from 2 percent to 1.5 percent.
Another bill approved by the panel would raise the sales tax
exemption on used cars. The
exemption currently applies on vehicles costing up to $2,500, but this
measure would allow the exemption to apply to cars costing up to $4,000.
Members of the committee also passed a bill that would cut the
This week, House members also passed highly-anticipated Senate Bill 750,
which is aimed at curbing the state's corrections costs.
The bill would lessen sentencing for some non-violent and drug
offenses in the state, and it would expand some of our alternative
sentencing programs like our drug courts.
The House has also passed a Senate bill designed to cut back on the
manufacturing of methamphetamine in the state.
It would restrict sales of cold medicines with pseudoephedrine and
ephedrine – the main ingredients - requiring that the medicines be sold
by a pharmacist or pharmacy technician.
The bill also gives pharmacists discretion to refuse to sell the
medicine if they don't believe there's a valid medical need for it.
Members have been working hard, with full agendas both in committees and
on the House floor. Though
there's still much to work through, House leaders are optimistic that we
will be able to wrap up the session by April 1, as planned, making this
one of the shortest and most cost-effective sessions in recent history.
In addition to taking up tax cut measures in the full House next week, legislators will also continue working to put forth a plan for congressional redistricting, based on new Census data. The House State Agencies committee, of which I am a member, will continue reviewing proposals for constitutional amendments to be referred to the ballot. Together, the House and Senate can refer up to three measures. Overall, we are on track to conclude what has been an efficient, but productive session, and we're proud to be able to do so in a responsible timeframe.
Remember, you can watch select committee meetings, as well as all full House proceedings live and archived on the House website, ArkansasHouse.org.