Analysis: Governor’s proposed changes to Medicaid will increase costs for the working poor

The Arkansas Legislature was considering whether to approve Governor Hutchinson’s proposed changes to the state's Medicaid expansion on Tuesday. In addition to adding work requirements, the governor wants to cut eligibility, removing around 60,000 Arkansans from Medicaid coverage, with the idea that they would move to the subsidized Affordable Care Act marketplaces or employer-sponsored plans.

Online tax bill fails

Online companies that do not already collect sales tax in Arkansas will not be forced to do so by state law after a controversial bill aimed at collecting sales tax on purchases from online merchants failed in a 43-50 vote in the House Monday.

Voucher-like bill dies again in House

For the second time this legislative session, a controversial bill that would establish education savings accounts to be used at parents' discretion to fund private school and other education costs failed to pass in the Arkansas House.

Internet sales tax bill revived in committee

A bill aimed at collecting sales tax on purchases from Amazon and other online merchants advanced out of the Arkansas House Revenue and Tax Committee Thursday after having failed to pass three times before in the same committee. Each time the previous vote had to be expunged before the bill could be presented again. Senate Bill 140 would require online sellers that gross more than $100,000 or process at least 200 separate transactions to collect sales tax or to report annually to the state Department of Finance and Administration information about online sales in Arkansas, including the name and address of each Arkansas purchaser and the amount of money spent. The bill already passed in the Senate. Sen. Jake Files (R-Fort Smith), lead sponsor of SB 140, said it was a tough bill, but it "has the opportunity to probably have the most impact of anything we do down here for all of our local businesses and for cities and counties as well, as well as the state."

Voucher-like bill clears another hurdle

A controversial bill that would establish education savings accounts to be used at parents' discretion to fund private school and other education costs passed in an 11-5 vote in the Arkansas House Education Committee Tuesday.

$1.3 million appropriation would expand voucher program

The Joint Budget Committee adopted an amendment last week to expand the appropriation for a special needs voucher program. An earlier version of the appropriation bill for the state Department of Education called for $800,000 to fund the Succeed Scholarship program for the 2017-18 school year, the same amount of money for the program that was appropriated in the 2016 fiscal session of the General Assembly. The amended version increases the appropriation to $1.3 million.