by Max Brantley
If they get the signatures to put this squirrelly idea on the ballot, there will be ample time to discuss its many shortcomings.
But be aware that the Arkansas attorney general has approved the ballot title of a proposed constitutional amendment to abolish all taxes levied by the legislature in Arkansas and replace them with a sales tax on consumable goods and services (not real estate and intangible investments).
The misleadingly named Arkansas Progressive Group has proposed the idea. A "prebate" on taxes equivalent to the rate of the tax on poverty level income makes this a "progressive" measure, they argue.
Given those payments, I roughly figure you'd need, what, triple the state's current sales tax, or 19 percent, to hold current services in the $4.4 billion budget harmless. Progressive? That's a heckuva surcharge on pickups, jeans and beans.
If the amendment means what it says, I don't know why any tax levied by the legislature wouldn't also include fuel taxes. And the conservation tax. Goodbye road construction. Goodbye parks, Game and Fish, etc.
The attorney general counsels that he's approving only as to form. The breadth and complexity of the proposal could make it subject to a legal challenge. Uh, yeah.
A little background on one of the braintrusts of this idea.