Now come the tax cuts | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Now come the tax cuts

Posted By on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 6:27 AM

The legislature is close to rolling out the final outline of the tax cut parade.

Rep. Charlie Collins' windfall for rich people seems to lead the list of favorites, though House speaker Davy Carter's blind faith in cutting the single levy already most beneficial to the smallest number of wealthy people — the advantage given capital gains income — remains high on his honey-do list.

If I may repeat myself pointlessly:

* There is no credible showing that tax cutting is a pathway to economic prosperity. Also see this.

* Charlie Collins' bill is particularly unfair — no benefit to working poor, huge benefit to wealthy.

* Nobody's made a credible showing that Arkansas is overtaxed. We remain at the bottom of per capita tax rankings, the only meaningful measure.

* Republican legislators have proposed tax cuts first without any meaningful discussion about existing needs and impact on higher education, prisons and other vital services. Does a cutting edge high-tech entrepreneur really hold low taxes paramount? Or might they prefer to locate in a place with a quality higher education system and a system of laws that values men and women, if not equally, at least with a shred of the respect accorded guns?

* Republican leaders are also pushing a raid on general revenue for highway building, an adventure that could make it even harder for existing services to sustain themselves. This plan also now comes with an unconscionable bribe payment to win support from the city and county government lobby, rolling in so much road money already from turnback that they don't need more. Now Republican leaders will give the dough to cities and counties for any use they might desire, public official pay raises or whatever. Maybe Buddy can paint that bridge red, white and blue after all.

That said, let the tax cutting and succor of the wealthy begin.

But whatever you do, don't forget guns and fetuses. More guns and fewer medical rights are Arkansas's ticket to becoming a magnet for the new economy. Aren't they?

(Until now, Republicans have been remiss in another vital economic development area — continuing to be a national leader in developing legal means to discriminate against gay people. But the vaginal wand proponent from Conway is ranting on Twitter now on that subject, particularly the coming Supreme Court arguments on same-sex marriage. So perhaps that vacuum is soon to be filled.)

None dare call this state moderate.

PS — Should the same-sex marriage case interest you, Linda Greenhouse has a good article on the subject today. It's about how times have changed dramatically on the issue, no matter the outcome. Less so in Arkansas, as in most areas of human progress. Also elsewhere in Dixie, despite polls trending strongly in support of same-sex marriage nationally.

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