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story.lead_photo.caption Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson calls for lowering the state's individual income tax for middle-class earners Tuesday at his Little Rock campaign headquarters. - Photo by Gavin Lesnick

Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson says he would reduce the state's individual income tax as governor beginning with the middle class.

Hutchinson, speaking at his Little Rock headquarters Tuesday in his first campaign news conference, said he would lower income taxes for earners making between about $20,000 and $75,000 in his first year and later turn his attention toward cutting the rate for higher earners.

"But let's start with the hard-working Arkansans who are in the middle class who need the relief the most and can use this money for their own benefit and to spend," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said Arkansas has the highest income-tax rate among surrounding states and that lowering it would create jobs.

Hutchinson said the first wave of his plan involves cutting the tax rate from 7 percent to 6 percent for those earning between $34,000 and $75,000 and from 6 percent to 5 percent for those earning $20,400 to $33,999.

He estimated the cost of the first-year cuts at $100 million and said it could be paid for by "existing growth and surplus" without spending cuts.

Hutchinson, a former congressman, is vying for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, as are State Rep. Debra Hobbs of Roger and businessman Curtis Coleman of Little Rock.

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.

Hutchinson details tax plan

Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday detailed an income tax reduction plan that he says will bring Arkansas rates in line with those of surrounding states, creating jobs. (By Gavin Lesnick)
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  • Dontcallmenames
    November 12, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.

    If you can't vote for this man, then you need to be sending money to the Tax Me More fund Huckabee set up years ago.

  • edo1962
    November 12, 2013 at 12:08 p.m.

    Sign me up! Go ASA!

  • Fdworfe
    November 12, 2013 at 1:48 p.m.

    It’s true; it’s a rare bird who likes pain or paying taxes. But this centerpiece of rightwing pandering has grown thin with time and reality. When things need to be done by governments, we gripe and moan but in the end we know someone has to pay the bills. Truth is that if everyone paid his fair share of legitimate taxes, we would have no real or sizable shortfall at any government level. Compared to some states, Arkansas does a splendid job of fairly taxing and frugally spending. In some areas, this rightwing “tax-and-spend” shibboleth once had legitimate need and great effect. But modern folks are thinking for themselves. This old conservative tax harp is simply, badly out of tune. And hollow promises are just that—hollow.

  • hawgcaller11031557
    November 12, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.

    Balanced budget is the law, nothing new there. Not much detail in the plan so far. How will it be paid for (more details please)? All I heard is using expected growth and surplus. That's a pretty thin plan. What if the economy doesn't pick up steam as fast as the tax cuts are scheduled? What if you have to increase education funding? Or an increase in health funding?

  • hawgcaller11031557
    November 12, 2013 at 2:07 p.m.

    Also, out of curiosity, what are the employment rates in those surrounding states and what is the average wage in those states? Also what are property tax rates in those states? You have to compare apples to apples. This sounds kind of an empty promise at this point.

  • RaylanGivens
    November 12, 2013 at 2:48 p.m.

    Hawgcaller as a recent 10 year Tulsa resident I can tell you their property taxes are lower than ours (at least in Tulsa), and they have no personal property tax so you aren't paying taxes on your cars, boats, motorcycles, etc. I am about 99% sure their average wage is higher, but then again the education level and skillsets at least in Tulsa/OKC/Enid/etc is much higher than what we have here. Tulsa is a much better place to live, and if I get the right opportunity I am moving my family back there.

  • Whippersnapper
    November 12, 2013 at 3:39 p.m.

    Arkansas has a pretty high overall tax burden. Here are some numbers for 2011 looking at per capita state and local taxes for various states. I am including all of Arkansas' neighbors:
    Arkansas: $3,387
    Louisiana: $3,631
    Mississippi: $3,112
    Missouri: $3,268
    Oklahoma: $3,168
    Tennessee: $2,979
    Texas: $3,536
    So, only Louisiana and Texas have higher per capita taxes, but every one of those states except for Mississippi has a higher per capita income than Arkansas. As a percentage of income, I believe Arkansas has higher taxes than all of its neighbors.

  • TimberTopper
    November 12, 2013 at 5:28 p.m.

    Yep, same old 7 and 6. Next he'll be telling about all the jobs he's going to create.

  • Populist
    November 12, 2013 at 7:48 p.m.

    Arkansas' higher tax burden is caused by poor spending of the money collected. The politicians make sure that their supporters get favorable government contracts. The Democrats make sure that all their friends are on the public payrolls. Arkansans would benefit more if the taxes are not cut and the money actually is spent on education. The right spending could turn the state around. The Republicans just want to cut taxes and do not understand the value of good schools.

  • aimee
    November 12, 2013 at 9:23 p.m.

    More Republican "fairy tales"..!!! Do they actually begin to believe this nonsense they keep spewing..??? Self delusion will do them in as quickly as lying to others..!!!