No such thing as free money

Revenue neutral options that sound too good to be true always are. A “revenue neutral” plan is one in which money is shifted around, but the total amount that the state spends stays the same. In other words: “no new money.” With that type of plan, it’s impossible to spend more on one thing without spending less on another. Until we get a budgetary magic wand, there is no way for lawmakers to spend millions of “revenue neutral” dollars on highways without also cutting the fundamentals of our communities like libraries, social workers, and public parks.

These are some important things to ask when someone says a plan is “revenue neutral:”

  • What programs are going to be cut? (With a revenue neutral approach, there will be cuts.)
  • Does it take programs from hard working low and middle-income families for the benefit of wealthy people and large corporations?
  • Is it possible for everyone to pay a modest amount in new taxes in order to keep public programs and fund important new projects?(Yes.)
  • Does it take textbooks, quality pre-K, and case workers away from Arkansas kids?
  • Will we end up paying for it through higher tuition costs at colleges and  technical schools?
  • Why is revenue neutrality more important than making sure abused and neglected children have appropriate foster care, or more important than ensuring all of our kids get a quality education?