On October 16, legislators will begin meeting at the Capitol to review budget needs for the next fiscal year. Budget hearings are expected to continue through the middle of November. During that time, members will review budget requests from boards, commissions, and state agencies.
On November 14, the Department of Finance and Administration is scheduled to present an annual forecast and recommendations for a balanced budget by the Governor.
We know from recent revenue reports that Arkansas’s financial outlook looks optimistic. General revenue for the current fiscal year is already $93.7 million more than this time last year. That is 2.3% above the forecast for that period. Individual income tax, corporate income tax, and sales tax collections are all showing an increase from last year.
For the month of September alone, general revenue was 9.8% or $50.7 million more than September 2017.
The Arkansas Tax Reform and Relief Task Force has been meeting on a regular basis for more than a year. The task force has been reviewing existing tax structures and the implications of possible reductions. The task force expects to make recommendations for tax cuts and have legislation drafted before the session begins. Any new legislation would have to be enacted through the normal legislative process during the session.
The 2019 Regular Session begins January 14. Unless extended by a 2/3 vote, Regular Sessions are scheduled to last 60 days. Therefore, if we don’t begin drafting appropriation bills before the session begins, there would be little chance of us finishing our work on time.
The meetings take place in the MAC building located directly behind the Capitol. They are open to the public. We will post the agendas daily on our website www.arkansashouse.org as well as our social media pages.