LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Proposed federal legislation that is drawing support and opposition along partisan lines can now add the Arkansas governor to its list of opponents.
In a statement Thursday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson came out in opposition to the Inflation Reduction Act, currently under debate in the senate. The act, a significant part of the Biden presidential agenda, puts billions of dollars into energy extraction and IRS enforcement, as well has health care reforms in Medicare drug pricing and Affordable Care Act extension.
Hutchinson said he was joining 21 other governors in opposition to the legislation.
“This legislation, dubbed the ‘Inflation Reduction Act,’ will not reduce inflation,” Hutchinson stated. “Nearly half a trillion dollars in new spending, increased taxes on businesses and every American, and $25 billion in new taxes on the oil industry will further increase the financial pain Americans and Arkansans are feeling.”
The governor added that he thinks the new plan shows the president’s reversal of a pledge on not increasing taxces.
“This tax-and-spend legislation breaks President Biden’s promise to never raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year,” Hutchinson continued in his statement.
The ”$400,000” a year is a point of contention in the bill, which proposes closing a “carried interest” tax rate which currently allows highly-paid equity and hedge-fund executives to pay a lower income tax. Senate Democrats expect closing the loophole with a provision in the bill will bring an additional $14 billion a year in tax revenue.
Hutchinson currently finds himself in a somewhat different economic situation in the Natural State, where unemployment rates are lower than pre-pandemic levels and state revenues led to a record surplus for the recently completed fiscal year.
The governor has called for a special session of the Arkansas legislature Aug. 8 for tax relief in light of the state’s $1.6 billion 2022 budget surplus.
The Inflation Reduction Act had been considered a non-starter until it gained support from Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), a moderate, last week. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), also a moderate, remains an unknown in supporting the bill in a senate otherwise divided on partisan lines.