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Arkansas Special Session Focuses On Tax Cuts & School Safety, Gov Hutchinson Considers Presidential Run For 2024

Arkansas General Assembly
Danny Johnston/AP
Arkansas General Assembly

ARK SPECIAL SESSION BEGINS - Arkansas lawmakers are in special session this week called by Governor Asa Hutchinson who was motivated by the state's $1.6 billion dollar budget surplus. Democrats have been pushing to include teacher’s pay on the agenda but the Republican governor wants Arkansas lawmakers to focus on accelerating a legislative-approved state income tax cut to 4.9% and funding school safety grants.

Hutchinson chose to leave two major issues off his call: teacher pay raises AND abortion. Appearing on Talk Business and Politics this week Hutchinson said teacher’s salaries would be addressed next year in regular session and abortion law in Arkansas will likely come up in the future. Hutchinson is term-limited as governor but there has been speculation he is eyeing a presidential run in 2024.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R)
from file photo

“I’m in the thinking about it stage, my goals this year was to get into Iowa, New Hampshire which I’ve been to, South Carolina,” Hutchinson said. “It helps your thinking to understand what they’re thinking in these important early primary states, but also to help the candidates in this election 2022.”

Hutchinson said he does want to help shape the message of the Republican party in the future and said he was holding what he called “an idea summit” this fall in Arkansas to bring in national thought leaders to discuss issues such as inflation, the energy crisis, and the challenge of China.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.