In December, the Arkansas General Assembly will convene in a special session to develop plan for reforming education (and finding the funds to implement the plan) in response to a 2002 Arkansas Supreme Court mandate in the Lake View case. Funding education reform will be an expensive undertaking. According to a recent study by the Joint Legislative Committee on Educational Adequacy, the ultimate price tag for developing an adequate education system (including preschool for all at-risk children) will be $847 million.
While it is unlikely that all of the money will be raised during this special session, the legislature will have to raise a large share to show compliance with the Supreme Court mandate. One of the potential revenue sources the legislature is likely to consider is increasing the Arkansas severance tax. This brief explores the basic issues concerning the Arkansas severance tax.