Every New Lockheed Martin Job Will Cost Taxpayers $145,000

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Last week we said legislators should wait to hear the total costs of the planned Lockheed  Martin “economic development” project before deciding on how they’ll vote. At Gov. Hutchinson’s press conference today, he announced the approximate tab would be $87 million in taxpayer financing for the project. From Hutchinson: We’re going to have the specific report...I think will be released tomorrow. The independent analysis should be completed then. Basically, the $87 million bond issue: $83 … [Read more...]

Four Times State Governments “Invested” Taxpayer Money Unwisely

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With state “investment” in “job creation” in the headlines in Arkansas once again, we thought it would be worthwhile to recall some of the more heinous examples of how state governments have wasted taxpayer dollars across the nation. In Connecticut, state taxpayers picked up the tab to fund shorter commutes for corporate executives. As Martin Luther King Jr. almost said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but the commute can be shortened if you are politically … [Read more...]

How Much Will Lockheed Martin Project Cost Taxpayers?

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced yesterday that he’ll be calling a special session later this month. At the top of the agenda: getting legislative approval for “incentives” to lure a Lockheed Martin defense project to Camden, Arkansas. Of course, “incentives” is legislative-speak for using your taxpayer dollars to fund big business. We at The Arkansas Project have been known to call this “crony capitalism.” According to various media reports, the project, if approved, would create … [Read more...]

A G.I. Bill for Special Education Students

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You’d think that helping students with disabilities get a better education would be uncontroversial. But I’ve learned that offering any sort of choice to any students – even those with special needs – is always met with apocalyptic rhetoric about the end of public education in America. You can see the latest outbreak of this on the Spears Strategy blog. In a post entitled “A Systematic Attack on Public Schools,” Andy Spears claims that Arkansas’s limited special education voucher program (Act … [Read more...]

Repeal The Death Tax

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Dying is inconvenient enough, but -- even worse -- you can get heavily taxed for it. That’s why I was glad to see the House delegation from Arkansas help pass a bill on the floor that would repeal the death tax -- a tax that falls hardest on small business owners and families that own farmland. The tax can amount to as much as 40 percent of the estate. One of the most persuasive arguments in favor of repeal of the death tax was made in a recent article by the American Enterprise … [Read more...]

Free Markets, Not Minimum Wage Laws, Raise Salaries

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We've recently seen efforts across the country to raise the minimum wage. Arkansas’s minimum wage will be raised to $8.50 in 2017. The city of Seattle even went so far as to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. But advocates for a higher minimum wage misunderstand what actually moves wages up: it's the law of supply and demand, not government intervention. Take Wal-Mart, for example, which recently announced it would be giving sizeable pay increases to thousands of its … [Read more...]

No New Taxes Placed On E-Cigs In Arkansas

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One of the most positive policy results to come out of the Arkansas legislative session earlier this year was the avoidance of a burdensome new tax on e-cigarette users. It was clear from the beginning of the session that legislators were going to place some type of new regulation and/or tax on the e-cigarette (or “vaping”) industry in Arkansas. As we’ve noted previously, bureaucrats in states across the nation are generally in favor of high taxes on the e-cigarette industry, because it’s … [Read more...]

Arkansas Second-Highest In Sales Tax Rate…Again!

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The 2015 edition of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC's) “Rich States, Poor States” study came out today. Arkansas’s ranking dropped from 11th in 2008 to 22nd in 2014 in economic performance and outlook. According to ALEC, these rankings are driven by multiple economic factors: The Economic Outlook Ranking is a forecast based on a state’s current standing in 15 state policy variables. Each of these factors is influenced directly by state lawmakers through the legislative … [Read more...]