by Max Brantley
Interesting convergence today:
* TAXES: Republican Twitterers are eagerly broadcasting news of an Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce-backed study presented to a legislative committee today that says Arkansas's tax rate, particularly on new investments, is too high. The Chamber is not exactly a disinterested party. I doubt that study takes into account the corporate tax avoidance schemes by which accounting tricks reduce tax debts for many national companies to almost nothing. Nor does it count the rich welfare subsidies we eagerly provide new businesses, from direct cash support to tax forgiveness for jobs. The sales tax and marginal income tax rate in Arkansas ARE high. The thing the chamber forgets to tell you is that working stiffs have no way of avoiding the bite — no tax dodges (most elements of manufacturing are exempt from sales taxes), no accounting tricks to offset profits against paper losses in another state, and no rebates, subsidies or tax forgiveness.
UPDATE: More from Roby Brock. He said study does take into effect tax credits, but doesn't mention our susceptibility to scamming on corporate tax reporting. The study makes much of how much bigger, percentagewise, our corporate tax rate is than in other states. Dollar comparisons would be more meaningful if, generally speaking, the income tax burden is small. Our property tax rate, a harder standard to finagle, is much lower than other states.
* THE POOR: The extra taxes, presuming we pay them, aren't trickling down on those who might benefit from a bit of largesse. New study in the Atlantic shows Arkansas at the top of a list of 10 states doing the least for the poor, even taking our generally low income into account. From Atlantic:
Arkansas has the second lowest median household income in the country, at just $38,571. Despite this, the state is one of the least generous, especially when it comes to assistance for the poor. The state gives just $147 per TANF recipient, the lowest in the country. And the average poor family receiving cash assistance is only eligible for 11.2 months, the second shortest period in the U.S.