Posted by Brett Kincaid on November 21st 2013
Anyone who has ever been out of shape knows how it can slow you down. When we're not physically fit we tend to be less productive, easily stressed, and less healthy than when we're taking better care of ourselves. Eating healthy and exercising regularly leads to better health results, even if we'd rather sit on the couch eating a bag of chips or plate of cookies.
The exact same logic applies to a state's tax and budget system. Our lack of fiscal fitness results in less revenue than we need to build strong public systems (roads, schools, health coverage). On top of that, we require those with the least amount of money to pay a far higher percentage of their scarce resources in taxes than our more fiscally fit fellow citizens.
This infographic demonstrates how the strongest among us skate by while the rest of us carry the weight for them. You can also see how the game is rigged in their favor. If we ever want to be fiscally fit as a state, we need to make sure everyone has a fair shot at success and an evenly distributed responsibility when it comes to funding the systems we all use and enjoy. We've offered some recommendations on how to do that here.
It's time for our lawmakers to get the state off its couch, put away the junk food, and get fiscally fit. By modernizing the state tax code, lightening the load for the middle class, and investing in things that lead to economic growth, our state will be lean and ready to tackle the future. Working together and playing fair makes Arkansas healthy and strong.