These are the dog days of summer and we have energy only for the arrows denoting good news for some and not-so-good news for others.
▲ Arkansas taxpayers. Gov. Asa Hutchinson last week signed legislation cutting the state’s top individual income tax rate from 5.5% to 4.9%, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2022. Arkansas’ top corporate income tax rate is also reduced under the legislation, falling from 5.9% to 5.3%, effective Jan. 1, 2023. Individual taxpayers earning up to $87,000 will also get a nonrefundable income tax credit of $150, and married taxpayers filing jointly and earning up to $174,000 will get a tax credit of $300.
▼ Arkansas teachers. Unfortunately, the state Legislature adjourned without considering pay raises for teachers, who sorely deserve them. Legislative leaders have said they wanted to delay considering teacher pay increases until the 2023 regular session, which begins Jan. 9.
▲ Little Rock residents. City voters last week approved renewal of a property tax and a bond issuance to pay for capital improvements ranging from street repairs to expansion of the Little Rock Port Industrial Park.
▲ North Little Rock residents. Voters in North Little Rock said yes to continuing a half-cent sales tax to fund capital improvements for the next five years. Revenue from the tax, which is expected to total about $45 million over five years, will be used for parks and recreation, public maintenance and police and fire protection.
▲ Arkansans and visitors to our wondrous state. Why specifically? Well, Blanchard Springs Caverns in Stone County will reopen Aug. 18 after having been closed for two years. As we recall, it stays blissfully cool in the caverns, in the 50s or so, making them the perfect place to visit in the five weeks of summer left to us.