LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - A bill that would seek to provide tax certainty to small businesses and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic is on the agenda this week for a key House committee.
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee will hear House Bill 1361 at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Little Rock. The bill is “an act to provide for the tax treatment of certain loans, payments and expenses related to the Coronavirus 2019 relief programs, to provide Coronavirus 2019 relief by conforming to federal tax treatment of Coronavirus 2019 relief programs.”
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Les Eaves (R-Searcy), would match up state tax law with federal tax law on the issue, plus allow for Paycheck Protection Program deductions to be taken on state tax forms.
Right now, there is some difference in state and federal law on the issue and Eaves said having the bill in place could help businesses avoid an increased tax bill at a difficult time.
Eaves said Sunday the bill will also help taxpayers, accountants and tax preparers know the tax law rules just as tax filing season is set to begin.
If approved by the committee, Eaves said he expects the House to take up the bill either Wednesday or Thursday.
The bill is also sponsored by Reps. Monte Hodges (D-Blytheville), Joe Jett (R-Success), Jon Milligan (R-Lake City) and Jim Wooten (R-Beebe). It is also co-sponsored by Sen. Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe).
A bill that would amend state law dealing with racing a vehicle on a public highway heads to the Senate Monday.
The Senate is scheduled to take up SB247, sponsored by Sen. Blake Johnson (R-Corning). The bill would increase the penalties for racing a vehicle.
Right now, it is a Class A misdemeanor. Under the bill, a second or subsequent offense would be a Class D felony.
There are also several bills scheduled to go before committees this week.
The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee will meet at 9 a.m. Monday, with HB1017 on the agenda.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Johnny Rye (R-Trumann), would seek to adopt daylight saving time in Arkansas.
An amended bill would require that all of the states that surround Arkansas declare the intentions to do so before the change could be made.
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled Tuesday to take up House Bill 1317, sponsored by Rep. Lee Johnson (R-Greenwood).
The bill would make the theft of a package from a porch, garage, driveway or delivery truck in the state of Arkansas a Class D felony. Johnson said last week that the bill will help police with investigating theft cases.
The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee has three major bills on their agenda Tuesday.
At the 2 p.m. meeting, Senate Bill 241 from Sen. Ron Caldwell (R-Wynne) will be heard.
The bill deals with the attempted sale of the Pine Tree Experiment Station in St. Francis County last year to a private entity. Sen. Caldwell said last week that area residents and hunters were upset over the issue and that the public was not notified about the plans to sell the land.
Also on the agenda are SB183, sponsored by Sen. Keith Ingram (D-West Memphis) and SB 252, sponsored by Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado).
The bill from Ingram would ban a candidate or officeholder from using campaign funds or carryover funds to pay a fine from the Arkansas Ethics Commission; and that any candidate or officeholder who uses campaign funds or carryover funds to pay a fine from the Ethics Commission “shall be deemed to have taken campaign funds as personal income.”
The bill from Garner would prohibit the Arkansas Economic Development Commission from establishing or maintaining an office in China.
The committee voted against the bill last week, with state economic development officials speaking against it in committee.
Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston told content partners Talk Business & Politics and KATV that the state closed its office last summer but has a consultant, based in the United States on contract for Asian representation. Preston said the ability for trade is a key reason to have a presence in the region.
“Do we need to be doing business with the Communist Party of China? You know, we’re looking beyond that. Our contract is again, with a U.S. citizen, who has ties in China, so this is about opening doors and building relationships and making it easier to do trade,” Preston said.
Sen. Garner has cited China’s trade and human rights records as reasons for the bill and said on social media that any funding would go directly to the Chinese government.