Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson says he'll likely have a different approach to the budget than priorities outlined Thursday by outgoing Governor Mike Beebe.
Beebe is encouraging legislators to delay $29.4 million in tax cuts on capital gains and manufacturing in order to meet the needs of the educational system, Medicaid and state prisons. Beebe warned that state employees won’t get pay raises next year and agencies will lose funds if tax cuts approved in 2013 go into effect.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Hutchinson said he will be developing his own budget plan over the course of the next legislative session. The Republican said he’ll prioritize middle class tax cuts while making sure essential funding needs are met.
“My own view is that there’s nothing more important in terms of tax cuts than the middle class tax cut and flattening the tax code for the middle class that I’ve spoken of. So that’s my highest priority and that’s what I want to be able to accomplish," he said.
Hutchinson also said he would prefer to review and possibly reduce Medicaid spending as a longer term solution.
“I’m concerned about the Medicaid budget because it appears that last year we used money, one time money for shoring up Medicaid. This is the plan next year and the following year under that budget. And so, that’s one solution to it. Another way to look at the same topic is to say ‘how can we control Medicaid growth and spending over the longer term?”
Hutchinson’s transition team will soon begin a review of state agencies. He’s created a website, AsaforArkansas.com so people can monitor his progress.