Arkansas Governor Proposes Increasing Homeowners’ Tax Credit

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ governor called Monday for increasing a property tax credit that thousands of homeowners receive for their primary residence.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters he’ll ask lawmakers next near to increase the state’s homestead tax credit from $350 to $375. Hutchinson said the increased credit will cost an additional $18 million a year.

“With the legislative support I know will be there, this is something that will provide much-needed relief for our taxpayers, our property owners across Arkansas,” Hutchinson said.

More than 719,000 Arkansas homeowners last year received the credit, which is funded by a one-half cent statewide sales and use tax, totaling $230 million. State finance officials say the fund that reimburses counties for the credit had a $78.6 million surplus last year. The tax credit was established through a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2000 and was raised in 2007 by Hutchinson’s Democratic predecessor, former Gov. Mike Beebe, from $300 to $350.

The Association of Arkansas Counties said it had asked Hutchinson to support increasing the credit.

“His goal aligns with our goal — to provide relief to our citizens. We are thankful for the spirit of cooperation our county officials enjoy with the governor,” Chris Villines, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.

The proposal is the second tax break Hutchinson, who is being challenged in the May Republican primary by gun range owner and cable commentator Jan Morgan, has said he’ll push for next year. Hutchinson earlier this year called for cutting income taxes for the state’s top earners by $180 million.

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