Keep your eye on the fat cats, Delphi warns. While it's by no means certain Gov. Beebe will manage to cut even three cents off the grocery tax, the State Chamber of Commerce and major industries are lining up behind a bill to repeal the full sales tax on manufacturers' electricity. Let the biscuit cookers continue to pay the tax on their low-watt bulbs while the fat cats reap $169 million in welfare payments.
This ain't the half of the grab that these greedy pusses are after. And there's a good chance that they'll be using the downtrodden Delta to achieve even more gargantuan welfare payments for corporations. It was revealed by the Crossroads Coalition, a new lobby that wants to push the laudable goal of Delta reinvigoration primarily through that ol debbil trickle-down.
The Crossroads folks back the full agenda of the state chamber and other economic development types (you'll have to look hard to find any but those sorts on the Crossroads Coalition board). To wit, these things are not targeted to the Delta, but available equally to the people- and capital-magnets of Benton, Pulaski, Craighead, etc.
* Expand tax credits for tourism and heritage projects.
* Tax credit for biofuels (why has this begun to smell of Farm Bureau boondoggle)
* Use of tax credits, say for job creation, against any state tax liability, not just the income tax, since most multi-state companies have figured out a way around the income tax already.
* End the property tax for manufacturing inventories when the companies send goods to other Arkansas companies.
* 100 percent tax credits for equipment donated to colleges. You, the taxpayer, get a 7 percent rebate on any cash you contribute to a college and you haven't already had tax advantages on that expense.
* Using Act 9 bonds to get this, build shopping centers and offices.
* Act 9 bonds for tourism projects and hotels.
* A constitutional amendment to take all school property tax revenue, including the required state 25-mill base charge, for tax increment finance districts. This is nothing short of highway robbery of school districts and short-sighted because they'll be robbed of the natural escalator of tax growth to pay for any growth that actually should happen to occur thanks to a TIF district.
* Allowing capture of sales taxes to support TIF districts, this would rob the state and local governments for projects of dubious growth benefit, such as building a new sporting good store that will put an old sporting good store out of business.
* Taking the hotel-motel taxes for economic development purposes.