Legislative session picks up momentum in second week

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    By John R. Schirmer
    News-Leader staff

    The Arkansas Legislature continues to consider tax legislation as the 91st General Assembly moves ahead in Little Rock.

    Sen. Larry Teague of Nashville said legislators picked up speed last week as they began working on a number of proposals.

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s $50-million tax cut was approved last week in the House and Monday in the Senate. Teague co-sponsored the bill in the Senate.

    The tax cut will benefit more than 650,000 low-income Arkansans. It passed 33-0 in the Senate and 90-2 in the House.

    Teague said Hutchinson’s proposal to exempt retired veterans from the state income tax “isn’t ready to pass. It has a provision to raise the tax on mobile homes. It can’t pass that way. We’ll work it out.”

    Work on the state’s budget is “still kind of slow,” according to Teague. “We ran 47 or 48 budget bills” last week. The Budget Committee met Tuesday and again this morning at 9.

    Teague is the Senate chairman of the Joint Budget Committee.

    Teague works with four southwest Arkansas members of the House. “They’re a good bunch of reps,” he said.

    They include Danny Watts of Hope, DeAnn Vaught, whose district includes areas around Dierks, John Maddox of Mena and Justin Gonzales of Okolona.

    “We’ve been working together on some projects,” Teague said.

    Teague said he hasn’t had a chance to visit Hutchinson about legislative matters. The governor attended inaugural activities last week in Washington, D.C.

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