by Max Brantley
A legislative committee is reviewing the state tax structure — rates, breaks, exemptions and so forth.
Rep. Davy Carter, the chair, is undertaking this in good faith to produce a base of reasoned judgments about inequities in the system.
Hah! Good luck with that. The special pleaders didn't get their special treatment by accident. The Tea Party accepts no view of taxation except that it must be lower, particularly for those best able to pay. Nothing rational will come of all this.
Interesting details, nonetheless. It is a 'bagger article of faith that the income tax rate here is ruinous, particularly on corporations. Figures show that individuals account for more than six times the income tax burden that corporations pay — $2.6 billion to $423 million. I await an examination of how much income tax some of the big multinational corporations actually pay in Arkansas, if any, after the accounting tricks available to them under Arkansas law.
And here's an interesting tidbit:Texarkana, Ark., residents pay no income tax at all. They got an exemption in the 1970s because of the cry that it woud ruin the border town to have an income tax while Texas had none. That exemption costs Arkansas $20 million a year. The added 1-cent sales tax in Texarkana reaps $4 million — a $16 million annual subsidy by all taxpayers of Arkansas to Texarkana residents.
Has that tax break been beneficial? You tell me. More people still choose to live on the Texas side (37,104 to 30,222 in Arkansas, according to Census data.)