Tuesday, March 26, 2013

UPDATE: Taxes take center stage in House committee

Posted By on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 at 9:55 AM

CHARLIE COLLINS: Making case for tax cut.
  • CHARLIE COLLINS: Making case for tax cut.
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee takes up income tax measures today.

* RELIEF FOR POOR WORKERS: The committee rejected, by a Republican motion to table, HB 1240 by Rep. Fred Love to give state income taxpayers a credit equal to 5 percent of the federal earned income tax credit. It would have helped 300,000 taxpayers and cost about $38 million in reduced revenue the first year. Opposition included remarks by a small business lobbyist who noted the lost revenue. I'm guessing he won't be testifying against Rep. Charlie Collins' coming bills to produce an even bigger revenue loss through income tax cuts disproportionately benefitting the wealthy. Rich Huddleston of Arkansas Advocates, pressed for the group's support for a cut when it often speaks of the damage from lost revenue, said that, if tax cuts were a given this session, "then we'd like to see the benefits of those tax cuts go to the families that need it the most."

* INCOME TAX CUTS: Rep. Charlie Collins is now pitching his HB 1585 to change the income tax brackets and cut the top rate of 7 percent to 6.875 percent for the wealthiest taxpayers. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families has already analyzed the disproportionate benefit this would be to wealtheir taxpayers, while providing little or no benefits to middle class and working poor. Collins noted that Arkansas's top rate is higher than that in adjoining states (several of which enjoy higher property taxes, franchise fees equivalent to income tax and oil and gas tax revenue that Arkansas doesn't enjoy.) He said the reduction he proposes would be a "step in the right direction." Collins emphasized the number of taxpayers that would be affected by his tax cut as opposed to the spready of the dollars, a benefit falling at the highest end. His cut would cost $57.2 million in its first year of implementation. He said expected revenue growth would pay for the cut, including benefits to come from an expected windfall in Medicaid expansion if it happens. But he acknowledged that cuts could have an impact, if not on state operations, on surplus often devoted to capital improvement projects. Revenue Commissioner Tim Leathers said, however, that the cuts inevitably would impact general revenue spending.

Bill Kopsky of the Public Policy Panel testified that Collins' bill would exacerbate an existing unfairness in the Arkansas tax code by which lower income people pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the wealthy. It has become nearly a "moral issue" when the tax burden is double for poor people what it is for the rich. He said tax relief targeted to lower income people circulates back into the economy more quickly. Rich Huddleston testified about Arkansas Advocates' analysis which showed that 5 percent of taxpayers would get 50 percent of the benefits of the tax cut.

UPDATE: Collins' bill got a do-pass by a voice vote.

Still to come is a better plan from House Democrats, led by Warwick Sabin, to redraw the income brackets for the income tax to reflect inflation and to increase the standard deduction for nearly all taxpayers.

UPDATE II: Gov. Mike Beebe said he could get behind some additional tax cutting (not saying which ones) if the Medicaid expansion is approved, thus freeing some Arkansas general revenue money. I do wonder what the governor really has to say about much of anything. As long as the Republican bloc votes monolithically (and it generally does), what does it matter what he thinks?

UPDATE III: MORE COMFORT FOR THE WEALTHY: I've just learned House Speaker Davy Carter has called a special Revenue and Tax Committee meeting after adjournment today so that it can consider his bill to reduce the already reduced tax rate on capital gains (sale of property at a profit). Charlie Collins can't preach about the tax on work on this one. This is a break that will particularly benefit inheritors of great wealth, often wealth on which no taxes were ever paid (think the huge blocks of Walmart stock owned by Walmart heirs). It's an unconscionable giveaway, but assume the position. It's coming.

Tags: , ,

Favorite

Speaking of Income Tax, Taxes

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Foster family disputes key statements from Justin Harris

    Craig and Cheryl Hart were the foster parents of the two sisters who were adopted by Rep. Justin Harris and his wife Marsha and later "rehomed." The Harts say that the adoption was allowed to proceed over the objections of the foster parents and local DHS staff due to pressure exerted by Cecile Blucker, head of the Division of Children and Family Services, on behalf of Justin Harris.
    • Mar 7, 2015
  • Marriage is so sacred in Arkansas people do it over and over again

    Arkansas leads the country in multiple marriages, including in the percentage who've been married three or more times. And they say it is the gay people who are ruining marriage.
    • Mar 13, 2015
  • Mike Maggio pleads guilty to federal bribery charge

    Former Circuit Judge Mike Maggio of Conway pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges on Friday in U.S. District Court. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
    • Jan 9, 2015

Most Shared

  • The South, including Arkansas, is failing poor kids who want to go to college

    The Atlantic has an important perspective on the South's "cycle of failing higher education."  Arkansas stands out for the cost barriers it presents to low-income students.
  • School takeovers erode democracy, target minority communities

    New reporting shows state takeover of schools around the country, including in Little Rock, have disproportionately affected minority communities.
  • Arkansas legislator tied to fatal bus crash in Louisiana

    Republican state Rep. David Wallace of Leachville, a current candidate for state Senate, has been identified as the owner of a company that rounded up a group of workers, apparently undocumented aliens, for flood relief work in Louisiana, including one with a poor driving record who was at the wheel in a fatal bus crash on Interstate 10.
  • The boys on the tracks are back

    A lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Little Rock bears notice for its effort to breathe life into the 29-year-old story most familiarly known as the Boys on the Tracks.
  • Dumas: Behind the Obamascare headlines

    Ernest Dumas explains in his Arkansas times column this week how Obamacare's problems can be fixed; why it isn't going away, and, most pertinently, why it's more lucrative for Arkansas to continue to expand the coverage pool, not dream up ways to shrink it.

Most Viewed

  • Arkansas legislator tied to fatal bus crash in Louisiana

    Republican state Rep. David Wallace of Leachville, a current candidate for state Senate, has been identified as the owner of a company that rounded up a group of workers, apparently undocumented aliens, for flood relief work in Louisiana, including one with a poor driving record who was at the wheel in a fatal bus crash on Interstate 10.
  • Legislature subpoenas judge to testify about child custody decisions.

    The Legislative Joint Performance Review Committee has subpoenaed Circuit Judge Patricia James, who handles juvenile cases in Pulaski and Perry County, to testify to explain her child custody decisions. It's another example of a power-mad, out-of-control legislature.
  • Conway Mayor Tab Townsell picked to lead Metroplan

    After interviewing two finalists, the Metroplan board chose one of its long-time members, Conway Mayor Tab Townsell, to become director of the planning agency, succeeding the retiring director Jim McKenzie.
  • UPDATE: Metroplan signs off on waiver for Concrete Gulch

    UPDATE: The Metroplan board has voted with scant opposition to waive the existing six-lane limit on area freeways so that the highway department may build a 10-lane concrete gulch through the heart of Little Rock. Leslie Newell Peacock will be back with more after a while. A grassroots group presented spirited opposition, all ignored.
  • Miss Arkansas pageant to leave Hot Springs for Little Rock

    The Miss Arkansas Pageant will relocate next year to Little Rock after 58 years in Hot Springs.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation