• Cydney Thompson, Northeast Arkansas News

New Arkansas laws go into effect January 1, 2020

For a list of all the new laws below:

ACT 182 reduces the top income tax rate from 6.9% to 6.6%. This will lower again to 5.9% in 2021.

ACT 869 requires the implementation of the online insurance verification system by January 1, 2020. In a routine traffic stop, the new online verification system allows the officer to confirm in real-time whether the vehicle is insured. Under the current system, the insurance data accessed by the officer may be up to 30 days old.

ACT 774 requires the Department of Finance and Administration to provide space on individual income tax forms for a taxpayer to designate more than one account for the direct deposit of the taxpayer’s refund beginning with returns filed for tax year January 1, 2020.

ACT 1063 provides that a tow facility may tow heavy-duty motor vehicles as part of a law enforcement program if the tow facility is licensed by the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board, passes safety inspections, and complies with state and federal laws.

ACT 564 requires the annual publication of the county budget and the annual financial report of the county.

ACT 653 prohibits state funding of human cloning and destructive embryo research.

ACT 1021 establishes the process for governing directed trusts and clarifies the applicability, principal place of administration, excluded powers, limitations, defenses, and duties and liability of trust directors and directed trustees.

ACT 866 prohibits a business that is subject to a business closure order by the Department of Finance and Administration from contracting or doing business with the state.

ACT 822 extends the net operating loss carry-forward period to eight years for losses occurring in the tax year starting Jan. 1, 2020.

ACT 988 amends the law concerning the reemployment of certain retired members of the Arkansas Local Police and Fire Retirement System. The act applies to a member of the system who on or after January 1, 2020, elects to participate in the Local Police and Fire Deferred Retirement Option Plan, retires from the system as a participant in the Local Police

Today several people I talked with were unaware of the new law changes going into effect but were glad to hear they were happening.

“My first thought is elation because I have to write a check every year for my state income tax. It’s an exciting announcement for me,” Nancy Branscum said.

One of the many law changes, will decrease the tax rate. Which was a part of gov. Hutchinson tax rate deduction plan.

Those who make more than eighty thousand dollars will see their rate change from 6.9% to 6.6%.

“It’s a good thing. I think it’ll help a lot of people out. I think that the fact that they’re dropping the tax rate so people can be able to put more money back in their pocket,” James Burres said.

It will drop again to 5.9% next year.

“Anything that can help people’s taxes is a good thing. It’s just making sure the benefit goes to the right people,” Laganzie Kale said.

Another new law increases minimum wage to ten dollars an hour.

People in Jonesboro say the increase is much needed and should have been done a long time ago.

“Minimum wage should go up because people can’t make it on $9 an hour, $8 an hour,” Burres said.

This law will reach $11 per hour in 2021.

“You make more money, then you can have more money in your pocket. Now some people think if you raise the minimum wage then you also increase the cost of business, but I think if you look at things the cost of living in so many areas is going up faster than the amount of money people can make. So, I think in the end things will balance out,” Kale said.


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