Now that the dust has settled from the 2013 legislative session, it’s a good time to take stock of the impacts of tax policy changes made by the Arkansas General Assembly. By any objective standard, the tax changes passed this year fail to make the fundamental changes that Arkansas needs to create a fair, adequate, and modern tax system that will meet the vital needs of its citizens and boost the state’s ability to compete economically.
The changes passed during the 2013 session consisted largely of personal income tax cuts benefiting upper-income taxpayers and sales and use tax cuts targeted to specific industry groups. As a whole, the tax changes did little to improve overall tax fairness for low- and middle-income families; resulted in flat or underfunding for certain critical services for children and families in the short term; and further undermined an already strained base for funding future services that are critical to the state’s needs.
The tax changes enacted by the 2013 General Assembly fall short on both fairness and adequacy, two key principles of a good tax system.