Michael Lamoureux: Deals Possible on Medicaid, Taxes

by Andrew DeMillo  on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 4:23 pm  

Michael Lamoureux will be the first Republican to lead the chamber in 138 years, after an election where Republicans won a majority in both chambers.

Lamoureux said he'd prefer a tax cut that wasn't dependent on obligations such as the desegregation payments decreasing.

"I really don't like pegging that to other events that are outside of our control. ... If we're going to cut or reduce the grocery tax, we need to do it and decide how much we think we can do," Lamoureux said. "If we're not going to do it, we need to not do it. I don't think we need to do it or not do it based on a federal judge's ruling on an unrelated issue."

Although Republicans in the House have talked up the idea of income tax cuts, Lamoureux said he believes there's more interest in the Senate in tax reforms aimed at helping manufacturers. Those reforms could include a cut in taxes on utilities for manufacturers, he said.

Lamoureux said lawmakers first must decide how much, if any, money is available in the state's budget for tax cuts before they debate which ones to enact. Beebe has said he proposed the conditional grocery tax cut because there was no money in the state budget and because of the shortfall the state's Medicaid program faces.

"It goes back to Medicaid," Lamoureux said. "Depending on what our budget obligations are, you may have the best tax policy idea in the world. The question is, can the state afford it in the short term?"

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