Thursday, October 16, 2014

What Has The Rigid Doctrine of Democrat Statism Done For Arkansas?

by Iris Stevens, Letter to Editor: Recently I watched a debate among this year’s eight representative candidates for the Arkansas House.  All the men seemed very nice, innocuous even.  However, I couldn'’t help but compare Democrat candidates with the Republicans.  To a man, the Democrat candidates, two of whom are incumbents, constantly reiterated the mantra of the Party, “Government good.  Government programs sacred. Protect programs. Programs change, millions die.  Armageddon!”

At least the Republicans demonstrated an ability to think outside the box, to suggest solutions to some of Arkansas’ s impending budgetary problems such as the over $700 million the state will owe in a couple of years for our Obamacare/Private Option. ¹ 

What has this rigid doctrine of Democrat statism done for Arkansas?  In 2014, Arkansas ranked 12th ²
in the nation in the state/local tax bite taken out of our incomes; our per capita income rank also dropped to 46th nationally³.  Our combined state/local sales taxes are 2nd in the nation at 9.19%.4

However, it helps that our incomes taxes are low, doesn’t it? Actually, Arkansas is one of only 14 states with individual rates topping 7%.5 That puts us in the rarefied and costly atmosphere of a New Jersey or New York.

Being competitive is crucial in attracting businesses and providing jobs for our people. However, according to Business Insider who ranked the states from 1 – 50 on seven economic measures, Arkansas was among the ten worst at number 48.6

How does Arkansas compare with the states surrounding us?  Arkansas ranks 13th in the nation in taxation of personal dividends income, the highest of any of the six states around us.7  Overall, TaxFoundation.org ranks Arkansas 35th in the nation in Business Tax Climate using 6 different criteria.8 Of the surrounding states only Oklahoma ranks below us.  This should cause concern when we think about Arkansas competing to attract as many good businesses as possible.

Ask your favorite Democrat legislator/candidate to respond to these facts.  Rather than pose innovative solutions, they appear to be desperately trying to deflect real questions about real issues by filing ridiculous, baseless charges against their opponents.

Some say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.  Do 138 years of one-party rule resulting in the kinds of statistics above prove that saying?
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Iris Stevens lives in Jonesboro, AR.

References:
1. GAO (Governmental Accountability Office) report on Arkansas Private Option.
2. Arkansas ranks 12th in nation in state and local tax burden.
3. Arkansas incomedrops to 46th: Arkansas Economist.
4. State and local taxes, national ranking.
5. Income tax bracket rankings nationally
6. Business Insider: RANKED: The 50 US State Economies From Worst To Best
7. Top Marginal Tax Rate on Personal Dividends Income
, by U.S. States, 2014:
8. 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index Ranks and Component Ranks.


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