The 2020 Fiscal Session is scheduled to begin April 8 at noon. The COVID-19 crisis will have an impact on the proposed budget as well as our meeting schedules.The Department of Finance and Administration released a revised revenue forecast on April 2. The revision was necessary because of an economic recession predicted as a result from business slowdown and negative labor markets.The forecast now reflects $5.6 billion in net available revenue for FY 2021. This indicates a decrease of $205.9 million from the prior forecast released in January.The schedule for meetings will be posted on our website. For precautionary measures due to COVID-19, the General Assembly is not expected to meet as long as in previous Fiscal Sessions.By law, Fiscal Sessions cannot extend longer than 30 days without a ¾ vote from both chambers. Continue Reading →
This week, the House convened for an Extraordinary Session to address the urgent funding needs in our state created by the COVID-19 crisis. For only the second time in recent history, we convened outside of the Capitol. The Jack Stephens Center at the University of Arkansas Little Rock provided additional space for members to adhere to social distancing guidelines of at least 6 feet. All of us were screened by medical professionals before entering the facility.
The legislation we were asked by the Governor to consider creates the COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund by redirecting surplus funds. The state currently has a surplus of $173 million. The fund would be used to offset general revenue reductions, funding needs and unanticipated needs created by the COVID-19 crisis. Continue Reading →
f you are a business owner struggling to meet payroll or if you have recently become unemployed due to the response from COVID-19, we want to direct you to state resources that may help. Earlier this week the Governor announced that Arkansas will tap Community Development Block Grant funds and the state’s Quick Action Closing Fund to support small businesses and nonprofits that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state will allocate $12 million in block grant money and up to $4 million from the quick-action fund to provide bridge loans to help midsize companies and nonprofits remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also announced the transfer of $3 million of settlement funds from her office to the quick-action loan fund for small businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has been made available to eligible businesses and private non-profits that were impacted. These working capital loans of up to $2 million can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Continue Reading →
Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01) released the following statement on his vote against H.R. 6201, “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”:
“In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a bill to address economic issues that the Coronavirus may cause. There is so much we do not know about what this pandemic will do, but I am extremely grateful to our President for his unwavering, steadfast efforts to tackle this pandemic head on. There was a great deal more money in the original bill this week going to things that had nothing to do with our Coronavirus national emergency – including a provision that provided for federally funded abortions. Our President stood firm on things that needed to be in there and to take out things that did not. As a good leader does, he left the specific language of the bill to the so-called experts in Congress. Continue Reading →
While the state response to COVID-19 is one that is rapidly evolving, we do want to update you on the latest developments. Late Friday afternoon, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced he will amend an executive order to allow expanded use of telemedicine in the state. The Governor also announced he is providing additional resources to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) which will create 10 new lab positions and assist with much-needed help at the call center. Additionally, the state has requested and will receive more personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel and first responders. As of Friday afternoon, there is a total of 9 presumed positive cases in Arkansas. Continue Reading →
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01) released the following statement on his and Congress’ status regarding the Coronavirus:
“As reported earlier this week, I attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. on February 27th. A person who is confirmed to have attended the opening festivities of the conference the night before which I did not, and who may or may not have been present when I was there to give a speech, later tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). After speaking at length last weekend with doctors from the Capitol’s Attending Physician and a top medical doctor at the Center for Disease Control (CDC), I heeded the advice to return to work in Washington because I was not exhibiting any symptoms whatsoever of the virus. Even though it is now not clear at all whether I had any exposure to COVID-19, it has now been over 14 days and I have remained completely asymptomatic.
Here in D.C. I was examined by the Attending Physician’s office and after consulting together, the healthcare professionals there declined to do the full COVID-19 test because I exhibited no symptoms.
In any event based on a significant amount of information from some of the best physicians and healthcare providers in the country, it is still very good advice for anyone who has any pre-existing health conditions, especially lung conditions, to be careful to limit public exposure, to observe very constant hygienic protocols such as regular washing or sanitizing of hands, as well as limiting contact with people if you yourself exhibit any symptoms at all of the COVID-19.
Last week Congress appropriated approximately $8 billion to address the need for current and future healthcare needs including vaccines, medications, and all forms of healthcare itself to address, mitigate, and hopefully eliminate problems with and from COVID-19 for the next few years.
At the current time, the Democrat majority leadership in the House has taken very limited input from its own Members and virtually none from the Republicans and wants to spend perhaps one hundred billion dollars or more for a government takeover of personal as well as private business decisions and control.
Hopefully, we can get at least some of the good stimulus ideas the President has proposed including the income tax holiday I proposed 12 years ago as an alternative to avoid rewarding Wall Street firms whose policies brought us to the brink of ruin since I wanted to send help where it was needed. That plan simply allows people to keep their own tax money rather than send it to Washington for a limited period of time, and my plan was paid for from funds already appropriated.
Since we have appropriated money to deal with the healthcare aspects of COVID-19, some of us suggested we should stay in Washington until we can work out an appropriate solution for economic issues the virus may create, which should not include a government takeover of the personal lives of our citizens. Whether that will be done remains to be seen. Continue Reading →
Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Miller County, AR: The Miller County Republican Women (MCRW) has decided to postpone the Trump Day Dinner scheduled for next week. In a release from Chairwoman Kristi Bennett, the group stated that at the “recommendations of public health officials” they have decided to postpone the event. At this time the organization does not have another potential date. Scheduled speaker, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has agreed to return for the dinner at a later date. The Miller County Republican Women stressed that the rescheduling of the event is a move on the side of caution and concern for public health. Continue Reading →
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01) released the following statement regarding reports that he was exposed to COVID-19:
“Saturday night, I got a call from the House physician advising that I had possibly been exposed to the COVID-19 virus at CPAC on February 27th, and that a top CDC physician in Atlanta would call me to discuss what should be done going forward. After CDC physician called me Sunday evening, and we discussed all the specific circumstances of which he was aware along with my circumstances, including that I was and am asymptomatic, he said that all things considered, I was cleared to return to Washington. He said he would return if he were me and advised that my staff and I should just be careful to observe proper hygiene protocols. I took the advice of the expert and returned to work. No one is panicking and we are observing the recommended precautions.” Continue Reading →
With spring just around the corner, it’s important to remember that state and federal income tax forms are due soon. Both state and federal income tax forms must be postmarked no later than April 15, 2020, to avoid penalties and late fees.
The legislature prioritized and passed several changes to its tax laws during the 92nd General Assembly, which means that your income tax rate may have changed from last year.
The passage of ACT 182 during the 2019 legislative session, for example, reduces the top income tax rate in our state from 6.9% to 6.6%. The income tax rate will lower again in 2021 to 5.9%. This rate reduction took effect on January 1, 2020, for individuals and will be phased in for corporations by 2021. This is in addition to previous tax cuts passed in recent years impacting every income group. Continue Reading →
Miller County, AR: The primary election has been in full swing with early voting through today, but in the morning the election day kicks into high gear with “Super Tuesday.” Those wishing to see early vote results, or more specifically the numbers of early voters each day, can check with the Miller County Clerk’s Facebook Page. Stephanie Harvin, Miller County Clerk, has been updating the page each day with vote totals coming in from the election staff. The page can be viewed online at Stepharvinmillercountycleark. In Miller County, the elections are overseen by an Elections Commission made up of members Brandon Cogburn, Charlotte Fuller, and Sandy Buchanan. Continue Reading →