Arkansas lawmakers have given final approval to cutting the state's taxes on taxes and capital gains, part of a package of reductions that is expected to eventually cost the state more than $140 million a year.
The House on Friday approved four tax cut measures that also include breaks for volunteer firefighters and farmers.
The total tax cut package is estimated to cost the state $10.7 million in the coming fiscal year and will eventually cost more than $140 million annually.
Arkansas lawmakers are considering boosting funding for public schools and Medicaid while also giving state employees a 2 percent cost-of-living raise under legislation outlining the state's proposed $4.9 billion budget for the coming year.
Legislators were handed copies Thursday night of the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the budget bill for the state. The measure prioritizes spending based on expected revenue and is scheduled to go before the Joint Budget Committee Friday.
A proposed constitutional amendment that would, among other things, prohibit state legislators and constitutional officers from accepting gifts from lobbyists is closer to being on the 2014 ballot after passing the Senate Thursday.
In a press conference Thursday, officials heading the Mayflower Oil Spill clean up efforts say the air and water qualities in the affected area remain at safe levels for residents. 6,750 cubic yards of solid waste materials have been removed from the site, but more decontamination must be done to remove the 5,000 barrels of oil spilled.
Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson, the local on-scene coordinator, assures residents that the Mayflower Incident United Command team has experts and trained staff to handle all aspects of the clean up.
Severe storms are expected Thursday throughout Arkansas as a storm system and cold front gradually make their way through the state.
The National Weather Service says isolated tornadoes and damaging winds are possible ahead of and along the cold front. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., says western Arkansas is at a slight risk for severe weather, while the central and eastern parts of the state are at a moderate risk.