Arkansas Government and the $19 Billion Question

Kathy Webb and John Burris

According to the Arkansas News Bureau, House Budget Committee Chairman Kathy Webb, a Democrat, is "disappointed" and finds it "confusing" that Republican legislators have proposed spending reductions in this year’s state budget. Why aren’t they "working through the normal process,” she asks the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, as has always been done before? And I see her point. I can see how, from her perspective, it doesn’t seem fair. In previous sessions, Republicans have cheerfully worked … [Read more...]

Report: Arkansas 6th In Nation for State, Local Sales Tax Rates

Arkansas 6th for state, local sales taxes

Our friends at the Tax Foundation are out with updated rankings on combined state and local sales tax rates, and here you go: Arkansas checks in with the sixth highest combined rates in the nation. I'll not belabor the point on that, as it's something we've seen before. But it's always a salutary reminder: since Arkansas legislators convened this week in Little Rock for a fiscal session devoted to budget matters, it's worth considering what you're paying in taxes and what you're getting for … [Read more...]

Arkansas Dems on Income: Intentionally Misleading or Just Ignorant of the Facts? (PART 2: The Exciting Conclusion!)

Harmful truths

(Part One of this discussion, which you can read here, took place yesterday.  Part Two will be shorter, I promise) So yesterday we had a too lengthy, too windy and too pedantic discussion of income statistics in Arkansas, sparked by a dispute between GOP Rep. Charlie Collins of Fayetteville and the Democratic Party of Arkansas (DPA). Are you up to speed on the difference between per capita income and median income? Do you care? Of course you don't, because you are a normal human being with … [Read more...]

Arkansas Dems on Income: Intentionally Misleading or Just Ignorant of the Facts? (PART 1)

Harmful Truths vs. Useful Lies

Why are Arkansas Democrats exaggerating the Natural State's progress on income growth? Or more to the point, just how damn stupid do they think we are? I was thumbing through the Wall Street Journal this morning, in the manner of all good plutocrats everywhere, when I came across this story about declines in household income over the last few years. Citing a study by a Maryland-based consultancy group, the WSJ reports that 38 states saw a decline in median household income from … [Read more...]

Biz Tax Study Ranks Arkansas An Unimpressive 31st! (UPDATED!)

Business tax rankings for all 50 states

We have established before how much I like the Tax Foundation's studies and maps as a tool for exploring tax policy. In fact, when it comes right down to it, the Tax Foundation should probably be paying me for how frequently I pimp their work around here. As Arkansas lawmakers gear up for a legislative session devoted strictly to budget matters, they should read this humdinger of a new study ranking all 50 states by the Tax Foundation "Business Tax Climate Index." The index is a magic … [Read more...]

That Pesky Medical Device Tax: A Medical Manufacturing Insider Speaks Out!

Medical device tax

We wrote here previously about the medical device tax tucked deep inside 2010 health care bill (Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, pick your poison). That’s a 2.3 percent levy on sales of all kinds of medical devices used in diagnosis and treatment (excluding items sold directly to consumers over the counter, like Band-Aids and such), expected to generate $20 billion over 10 years. After my earlier post, I heard from some folks at Cook Medical, a medical device manufacturer located in … [Read more...]

Checking In On Arkansas Taxes: Yep, Still High!

Nationwide sales tax map

Because it's been some time since we checked in on the heavy tax burden on Arkansans...hey, look at this! The Tax Foundation, whose work I flack mercilessly on this site, has issued their latest map showing the distribution of sales tax rates nationwide, broken down by zip code. Arkansas shows up rather red, reflecting higher sales tax rates around the state. This isn't anything you don't already know—you'll recall that just a few months back we saw that the Natural State has the 7th highest … [Read more...]

Tanning Industry Burned by Obamacare Tax! (Updated!)

Tanning industry burned by Obamacare tax!

Though the Arkansas health insurance benefits exchange has been declared DOA, we must remain on guard for all the still-awful Obamacare wrinkles that this shoddily drafted law will visit upon us for lo these many years to come. This is your life now, so you might as well learn to cope with it. Today's focus: The tanning tax! While cobbling together the health care reform bill in 2009-2010, Congresspeople hit upon the idea of slapping a 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning services. It … [Read more...]