Thursday, June 19, 2014

Asa Hutchinson takes a brave course on tax policy

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Credit where due. The City Wire reports on  remarks in Fort Smith after a closed speech by Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson to manufacturers. He and Democrat Mike Ross both have tax and economic development plans. Some of the emerging differences are interesting.

Part of Ross's plan calls for the elimination of sales tax on replacement parts for manufacturers as a way to encourage re-investment in Arkansas-based facilities. But after speaking to the manufacturing executives in Fort Smith Tuesday, Hutchinson said he didn't agree with that proposal in Ross' jobs plan.

"My view is — and I'm speaking to the manufacturers here — sure, they want something that helps manufacturers, but how about the retail market in Arkansas? And how about the farmers? And how about the tourism industry? How about the small business owner? Under my plan, they all get tax relief. But if you enact simply the relief for the manufacturer's replacement parts, that's not across the board and it's not allowing people to make decisions on how they want to invest their money and how they can grow their business."

Hutchinson is to be commended for opposition to scattershot tax breaks doled out to the most-favored on sometimes dubious premises. Huge breaks given the paper mill industry years ago, to name one, were purely windfalls, as accountants long ago demonstrated. 

Hutchinson's income tax plan — with no details on how it will be financed and with curious income cliffs and lack of help for the poorest — will get its own attention in due course. And Ross has income tax cut plans, too. But opposing a manufacturers' tax break? A Republican? That's newsworthy.

It was not praiseworthy to the Ross campaign:

“My comprehensive tax cut plan will help small business and manufacturers of all sizes and nearly every working family in Arkansas. Congressman Hutchinson’s plan offers no tax relief for manufacturers and, if you make less than $20,400 a year, Hutchinson’s plan won’t cut your taxes a single cent.”

“Congressman Hutchinson voted to ship our jobs overseas, and now he refuses to support a Chamber of Commerce-backed tax cut that will help bring these jobs back to Arkansas. Manufacturing is Arkansas’s third-largest private industry sector and employs more than 1 in 8 Arkansans. We need to eliminate this unfair tax, which punishes small and large manufactures that want to modernize their facilities, grow and hire more workers – all of which will help prevent layoffs. The fact that Congressman Hutchinson is doubling down on his opposition to cutting taxes for job creators shows just how out-of-touch he is with working families in Arkansas.”

Ross also criticizes Hutchinson for opposition to the governor's quick-action closing fund — a pot of money that Ross proposes to increase to dole out to potential industries with jobs to bring to Arkansas. In his 2006 race, Hutchinson called it a "slush fund." Ross says it has led to the announcement of 30,000 new jobs.

Here, again, I think Hutchinson is due credit. We don't know — and no business will ever honestly answer —if this quick action fund alone created jobs or if they were coming here anyway and the corporate welfare just amounted to a tip of appreciation to the business. Most serious economic studies say incentives and tax breaks aren't job creators — education, workforce, raw materials, transportation, location and other obvious factors are the determinants. State giveaways are just marginal issues.

Hutchinson follows plenty of specious Republican economic dogma, but where he parts company from the Chamber of Commerce line, I give him credit.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Rutledge refuses open records of fired trooper who now leads ABC enforcement

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge yesterday refused to allow release of records that explain the 2000 firing of Boyce Hamlet as a state trooper.
    • Sep 1, 2015
  • FOI lawsuit filed for State Police firing records on ABC enforcement boss Boyce Hamlet

    Russell Racop has filed, as promised, his lawsuit over the State Police's refusal — under guidance from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge — to release records that provide information that led to the firing of current Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Director Boyce Hamlet as a state trooper.
    • Sep 9, 2015
  • State Police issues statement on Jason Rapert 'threats'

    The State Police have issued a minor clarification in what appears to be an effort to soothe an enraged Sen. Jason Rapert, exposed here as overly excited about both a Conway parking lot question from a constituent as well as some inflammatory Internet rhetoric that he's interpreted as a dire threat on his life. State cops took his reports seriously, they say. But in the end, they found nothing actionable.
    • Sep 15, 2015

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation