Happy (Belated) Tax Freedom Day, Arkansas: You Now Have Permission To Keep Your Money

Tax Freedom Day 2014 Map_0

Today is April 15th, the day that federal tax filings are due. (We hope this doesn’t come as a surprise to any of you.) So this seems like the perfect time to talk about how awful taxes are in America! While today is (unfortunately) Tax Day, I want to be sure you know also know the good news about Tax Freedom Day. This is the day of the year that the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay its total tax bill for year. A good way to think about this is that, up until Tax Freedom Day, … [Read more...]

Damon Wallace’s Degree Problem


I’ve written in some detail about Damon Wallace’s financial troubles. Not only does this candidate for House District 96 have thousands in IRS debts, but he also failed to disclose some of the debts he owed to local governments in northwest Arkansas. (The worst-case scenario under Arkansas law is that this kind of error in disclosure could lead to fines and jail time.) Stunningly, Wallace explained some of his financial problems to Larry Henry of 5News by saying “I wasn’t trying to hide it. … [Read more...]

GOP Senate Primaries, Round 4: Burris vs. Flippo vs. Osmon

Arkansas capitol

As part of our continuing series of articles on the various GOP primaries across the state, we now turn our attention to state Senate District 17. After state Senator Johnny Key announced he would not seek re-election so that he could pursue a better paying career with the University of Arkansas, three candidates filed to replace him: Representative John Burris, business owner Scott Flippo, and Mountain Home Mayor Dave Osmon, all Republicans. Unlike my previous GOP Senate primary articles, I … [Read more...]

“There Is A Lot Wrong” With This Forbes Article, But Legislators Are Too Busy To Explain


Yesterday, Forbes published an insightful piece about the Arkansas Obamacare “private” option. The bottom line for Arkansas taxpayers: for the second month in a row, the “private” option costs are well above projections and above the federal cap. The Forbes article (authored by Josh Archambault and Jonathan Ingram of the Foundation for Government Accountability) outlines what could happen if “private” option costs continue to climb: ...under terms of the waiver signed by Governor Beebe and … [Read more...]

What Damon Wallace Didn’t Tell Us


I wrote last week about the tax troubles facing Damon Wallace, candidate for Arkansas House District 96. Since then, I have dug further into Wallace’s tax records. What I found is troubling. You might recall that Wallace’s Statement of Financial Interest revealed that he owes the Internal Revenue Service approximately $30,000. This was the only governmental debt that Wallace listed -- but this is not the only governmental debt that Wallace has. According to the Benton County Tax Collector, … [Read more...]

Senator Dismang Is Open to Letting the Sun Shine In


Sen. Jonathan Dismang made a promising announcement when Roby Brock interviewed him earlier this week: Dismang said that he’s open-minded about broadcasting/live-streaming state Senate procedures. Dismang’s statement creates a welcome contrast with other members of the Senate leadership, who have been pointedly dismissive about shining a light onto Senate deliberations. I think it’s something we’ll discuss, but it’s something we’ll discuss as a whole. It would not be my decision solely to … [Read more...]

Arkansas House Candidate Owes $30,000 To IRS


As the filing period for state offices came to a close a few weeks ago, I began reviewing the Statements of Financial Interest for state candidates. One filing in particular jumped out at me. Damon Wallace has filed to run as a Republican for House District 96, the seat being vacated by incumbent Rep. Duncan Baird. Wallace will face Grant Hodges in the Republican primary in May. According to Wallace's SFI, he currently owes “approx $30,000” to the IRS. On the form, Wallace described the nature … [Read more...]

The Collapse of the Risperdal Verdict


You might remember that, earlier this month, state Senator Johnny Key passed a law that would dedicate damage-verdict money to the private-option trust fund. I thought then, and think now, that Key’s action was an eloquent admission of future private-option costs: the $1.2 billion that Key wanted to put in the private-option trust fund was evidence that at least some lawmakers had silently accepted our arguments that the private option won't actually save us money – instead, it will cost us … [Read more...]