The 91st General Assembly opened on January 9 and the session is now in full swing. I am honored to work with our legislature to make our state a better state to live, work and retire. With the approval of the General Assembly, I am pleased to announce the passage of my $50 million tax cut through both houses with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill arrived on my desk on Wednesday of this week, and I was proud to sign it into law.
While my first round of tax cuts targeted middle income levels--those making between $21,000 and $75,000 a year--this second tax cut will bring relief to the state's lower income brackets, specifically Arkansans who earn below $21,000 annually.
This plan reduces the burden on an estimated 657,000 working Arkansans, 120,000 of whom will be removed from the tax rolls completely. With the signing of this bill, over 1.3 million Arkansans--or 90% of the state's individual income taxpayers--will have benefited from substantive tax relief legislation since 2015.
As Governor, I frequently meet with companies who are looking to create jobs or move their operations to the state. Through these conversations, it is clear to me that one of the main factors these companies take into consideration when deciding where to locate is a state's income tax burden. The lower the income tax in a given state, the higher likelihood that companies will consider locating there. That's why one of my top priorities has been to bring Arkansas's income tax rate closer in line with our surrounding states, so that we have a better chance of competing for the business of companies who are looking to create jobs or relocate in the region.
As Governor, it is important for me to balance the needs of our state with responsible tax policy. While I know there are those out there who were hoping for much larger tax cuts, it is clear that this is the most conservative reduction we could make at this time. We have taken a responsible approach to lessening the state's income tax burden, while also ensuring that the state is still able to meet its obligations.
I have no doubt that the steps we are taking to reduce the tax burden will make Arkansas more competitive with our surrounding states and will spur job creation, economic growth, and put more money back into the pockets of hardworking Arkansans.