Gov. Asa Hutchinson said today that he supported legislation to cut concealed handgun carry permit fees by 50 percent.

The proposal by rising-Sen. Bob Ballinger and Sen. Trent Garner would cut the cost of a permit from $100 to $50 and cut the renewal fee from $50 to $25. The governor said in a release:

I appreciate the commitment shown by Senator Garner and Representatives Ballinger and Dotson on this issue. Their partnership with my office and the State Police has led to what I believe is good legislation that strikes the right balance in reducing these fees. I fully support their efforts, and if the legislature passes this bill in the upcoming session, I will sign it into law.

The cut in fee will cut operating revenue for the State Police, which administers the program by a significant amount. There are 224,000 permit holders in Arkansas currently. The cut in renewal fees alone will reduce revenue by $560,000 a year. The cost of the change will be much higher, counting new licenses — $1.224 million.

I’ve asked the governor’s office if he plans to find additional money in general revenue to offset the cut in revenue. The State Police said it would be working with the General Assembly and governor’s office during the legislative session to see what adjustments might be needed in its operating budget.

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UPDATE from the governor:

From Gov:

“We will monitor the revenue impact closely and measure the impact of the fee reduction. If there is a loss that needs to be covered, then we will make necessary adjustments in funding and budget.” 

So far for state government: Harder to get health insurance, harder to get transportation to the doctor, harder to get home health care, cheaper to carry a concealed weapon. And a bonanza income tax cut for millionaires in the pipeline. #Priorities