Study: Arkansas provides worst return on tax investment | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Study: Arkansas provides worst return on tax investment

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 7:22 AM

  • Wallet Hub

Here's another WalletHub report
that massages available public data to rank states — here on the return on investment in public services against taxes paid.

Arkansas ranks last.

Our tax rate isn't the worst, though it's not good. We're 40th, thanks in part to a punishing sales tax burden, which really hits poor people hard. (And don't forget the half-million people who work in Arkansas but make less than $21,000 a year were the only people in the state who didn't get a tax cut from Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the legislature this year.) But our performance in rankings based on public services pushes us to the bottom overall:

Taxpayer ROI in Arkansas (1=Best, 25 =Avg.):

50th – Overall ROI
40th – Tax Rate
12th – Infrastructure
43rd – Education
48th – Health 
49th – Safety
47th – Economy
41st – Pollution

Good on infrastructure? About half that score is based on spending on roads. The highway contractors have always done well here, particularly thanks to the state's overly large system of state-supported highways. (And the contractors were out looking in the last legislative session  for still more money from the pot that otherwise goes to health, safety, education and other lagging areas.)

That 49 in safety is based on an index that apportions varying weights to crime rate, vehicle fatalities, sex offenders and the youth incarceration rate. 

Reports like these are a dime a dozen, but here's the full rundown. No need to be concerned about it, any more than there's a need to be concerned that we've established ourselves as a leader in discrimination against LGBTQ people. 

As the chart above shows, Arkansas is merely the best of a general lot of red states that score on the wrong end of this scale.

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