Talk Of Tax Cuts, Medicaid Expansion Continues

Mar 22, 2013

Talk of tax cuts continues to swirl around the state Capitol as lawmakers iron out what Speaker of the House Davy Carter said Friday is shaping up to be roughly $100 million dollars worth of cuts.

Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

"In concept there is an agreement ... for a tax cut package in that range," Carter told reporters, speaking of talks between the House and Senate.

The Speaker had asked for lawmakers to identify $150 million in tax cuts, but recent reports have indicated the number has been decreasing.

Governor Mike Beebe also indicated Friday that he continues to talk to legislators as well. “We talk about them every day … it’s constant discussions with all of them,” Beebe said at the Capitol Friday.

He added that he’s been talking with any of the legislators that ask, which have consisted of both Democrats and Republicans.

Carter told reporters that the open dialogue is productive. “I think we can still get an agreement,” he said.

Carter declined to say what types of cuts are being discussed specifically such as capital gains taxes, which he has said he is in favor of.

Governor Mike Beebe has said cuts to state agency budgets could be offset if the state takes advantage of federal money available through the Affordable Care Act for Medicaid health coverage expansion.

“It frees up former Medicaid money that can pay for tax cuts, so the two are inextricably intertwined,” Beebe said.

Carter said he would be going over a written proposal from the Governor this weekend regarding health insurance expansion but said he doesn’t think Medicaid expansion and tax cuts are totally dependent on each other.

“It’s certainly a part in context of everything we’re doing,” Carter said.