LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday he will unveil his budget plan next week, an announcement that legislative leaders welcomed as they prepared to move quickly on the governor’s proposed middle-class income tax cut.

LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday he will unveil his budget plan next week, an announcement that legislative leaders welcomed as they prepared to move quickly on the governor’s proposed middle-class income tax cut.


Hutchinson also did not rule out the possibility that he could propose additional delays of tax cuts that lawmakers approved in 2013. He said Tuesday he would propose delaying portions of one of those tax cuts, a measure to cut income tax rates by one-tenth of a percentage point for all tax brackets.


The governor met with legislative leaders Thursday morning to discuss his proposal to cut income tax rates by a full percentage point for Arkansans earning between $21,000 and $75,000 a year, the centerpiece of his campaign for governor.


Talking to reporters later, Hutchinson said, "The legislators are asking the right questions: We need to see this in the context of the whole budget, and making sure that it’s a balanced budget and how it impacts everything. Fair questions. So we’re going to be presenting our balanced budget next week to make sure they have the information."


He said he was confident lawmakers would support his tax plan after they see his budget.


"They just want to see that full piece of it before they actually move that forward," he said.


Senate President Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, who is carrying the middle-class tax cut for Hutchinson, has said he could present the bill in the Senate Revenue and Tax Committee as early as Wednesday.


That committee’s chairman, Sen. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith, said Thursday the panel will be more inclined to take up the bill after Hutchinson has released his proposed budget.


"I had several members that felt like this was just coming too fast, they didn’t have a chance to get their arms around it. I think this is a necessary first step for us to go to the next step," Files said.


Rep. Joe Jett, D-Success, chairman of the House Revenue and Tax Committee, expressed a similar view.


"I didn’t want my members to vote on the bill without seeing the budget," he said. "I think everybody just wants this done in a responsible manner, and I think the governor recognized that."


Jett said he is inclined to support Hutchinson’s tax plan and believed most House members were as well, though he said some legislators remain concerned that Hutchinson has not yet announced a position on the private option, Arkansas’ version of Medicaid expansion.


Hutchinson has said he will give a speech on health care reform on Jan. 22.


"There are some folks in the Democratic caucus that are concerned about doing this in front of the private option," Jett said, noting that the decision to continue or discontinue the program will impact the budget.


Legislators passed $140 million in tax cuts in 2013, to be phased in gradually. One of former Gov. Mike Beebe’s last actions as governor was to recommend that portions of several of the cuts be delayed to lessen their impact on the budget.


Hutchinson was asked Thursday if he is considering proposing the delay of any other tax cuts from 2013.


"There’s a number of other tax cuts, as you remember, Gov. Beebe recommended being delayed. We will address that in the balanced budget that we present next week," Hutchinson told reporters after giving a speech at the Arkansas Municipal League’s winter conference in Little Rock.