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I can think of no more worthy purpose for this blessing of space in the state’s leading newspaper. So I will attempt to explain something to the poor people of Arkansas, who may not have time to keep up with such things. It is how the state’s raging Republican insurgency sometimes manipulates them into voting against their own interests.

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Editorial, Pages 15 on 08/07/2012

Print Headline: The numbers, in perspective

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Archived Comments

  • gumby27
    August 7, 2012 at 8:08 a.m.

    Charlie Collins is a bought and paid for Republican pawn. Unless we suddenly get an ocean on our border and an educated labor force, we aren't going to be a jobs magnet, and no amount of tax reduction will change that.

    Tax reductions, on the other hand, will hurt our efforts to have an educated labor force, will take away from our infrastructure improvements and generally make it harder to attract jobs.

    Charlie would do well to remember this state is one of four without a deficit. He'd be stupid to change that.

  • Whippersnapper
    August 7, 2012 at 8:14 a.m.

    So, let's get this straight: You imply that someone who already has seven blisters and gets an eighth is worse off than someone who has one blister and gets a second. If we replace the blisters with tax dollars that an individual has to pay, you say the opposite is true and more ACTUAL tax dollars paid (in addition to a higher percentage) is somehow not a worse burden than fewer ACTUAL tax dollars (along with a significantly lower percentage). You have disproven your own premise with your own example. As someone who has been way down on the Arkansas "Low Income Tax Table" and who is now in the top bracket (and you don't have to make a whole lot to get there) I say that you are wrong. The folks at the "top end" already pay a disproportionately higher percentage of their income as taxes and this tax cut would only be a good thing (you can be in the "top end" of the state tax bracket and only be 2 rungs up on the federal income tax brackets - in fact, I have had a higher state tax bill than a federal tax bill on multiple occasions even though my marginal federal rate is more than double my marginal state rate). The ironic part is that the "ultra-rich" already avoid paying Arkansas income taxes on large chunks of income by establishing residency in other states prior to large sales of stock. I believe the Waltons did it and the bigshots at Acxiom did it when they thought they were going to sell their company a few years back. Ultimately, the high top end tax rate in the state only impacts the (say it with me) MIDDLE CLASS. The "ultra-rich" already don't have to pay that tax if they don't want to, and if they want to out of community mindedness, they should send checks to the "Tax Me More" fund established by former governor Mike Huckabee. Lowering taxes for all taxPAYERS is the reasonable and responsible thing to do.

  • KingofFishback
    August 7, 2012 at 9:47 a.m.

    The per capita income for the good people of Arkansas is a little over $21,000 which is way below the national level. I'd say anyone with an adjusted taxable income over $250,000 is above the middle class, especially in Arkansas. The tax rate is reasonable and those folks don't need any help. Those below the $50,000 level are the ones that need the help. When the vast numbers of those people start earning more income, they will create jobs by the purchases they will be able to make. By giving a larger dollar tax reduction ($2200 vs 60) you effectively shift a greater part of the tax burden to the middle and lower class wage earners. If Whippersnapper has truly lived at the poverty level he or she should appreciate why it is those people who should receive a break. I have always liked paying more in income tax - it meant I was making more money. Keep writing John, maybe you'll get through to a few people.

  • charlieLeeann
    August 7, 2012 at 11:31 a.m.

    John,
    I enjoyed reading your column today, as always. There are at least two things that you, the Governor and I have in common-- We believe in lower grocery taxes and we root for the Detroit Tigers.

    I'm grateful you mentioned my "trump card" in your column-- After all, that is the point of the Good Jobs Magnet tax relief plan.

    There are about 1.3 million employed Arkansans and more than have that number of Arkansans on Medicaid. If we do the Obamacare plan, the number quickly grows to 1 million on Medicaid, likely another underestimate. At what point do you think we have the right balance of workers to medicaid recipients in Arkansas? I recognize that some people could be in both groups.

    I say, let's take care of our neediest citizens and ALSO get more Arkansans the opportunity for a Good Job. Step one is income tax relief to lower the cost of hiring an Arkansan.

    Thanks for your contributions to the discussion of our future together in Arkansas!
    Charlie

  • johnnyray1004sbcglobalnet
    August 7, 2012 at 11:40 a.m.

    if you enjoyed it, then i did something wrong.

  • Coralie
    August 7, 2012 at 12:06 p.m.

    Side issue here. You say "my friend Rep. Collins got another letter-to-the-editor published ..."
    I have two friends who were in public office locally--office not based at the time on Republican vs. Democrat--and the paper wouldn't allow them to publish letters to the editor on any subject whatsoever as long as they were in public office.
    Has the policy changed, or is it arbitrary?

  • Coralie
    August 7, 2012 at 12:12 p.m.

    If I were cutting taxes, I'd make the minimum rate BEGIN at the Federal poverty level which is currently $9048 for one person, $12,253 for a couple.
    And the grocery tax.
    Nothing else.

  • johnnyray1004sbcglobalnet
    August 7, 2012 at 12:14 p.m.

    coralie: i don't know.

  • Whippersnapper
    August 7, 2012 at 1:19 p.m.

    Hey KingOfFishback, the top tax rate in Arkansas (7%) kicks in at $33,200 per year. Mr. Brummett's number of $250,000 is what's known as a hyperbole (or in this case, a red herring). Cutting the top tax rate from 7% to 6% would save the person whose income is $40,000 some money too. Not only that, but if you implemented all the proposed changes, it would save them a significant chunk of change because dollars 1-$33,200 would be taxed at a lower rate just like dollars $33,201-$40,000. I was indeed dirt poor, married, and struggling to get by. I worked three part-time jobs at the same time (50 hours a week) in the summer and two during the school year (30 hours a week) and my wife worked two part time jobs so we could put ourselves through college and make a better life for ourselves and our children. Guess what? We did. Hard work pays off, but that's not a lesson you or Brummett or Obama want to hear, instead you want to hear about how any tax cut for somebody who is paying thousands of dollars a year in taxes is undeserved. I make this promise: if you can find anybody who put in 30-50 hours a week at work while going to school full time and they are still living at the poverty level 5 years later, I will not object to cutting their taxes. Folks who put in that kind of effort don't stay at the poverty level.

    @coralie: in Arkansas, income taxes apply to dollar one. If you are making $12,253, you have moved past the 1%, 2.5%, and 3.5% brackets and into the 4.5% bracket.

  • cliffcarson
    August 7, 2012 at 1:30 p.m.

    You are certainly right about Republican "Spin". Last night I commented on another thread here that there was a Republican spouting off about the poor Obama Economic performance. So I went to the records to compare the Bush economy of 2008 to the Obama economy of 2012.
    Where under the Bush Administration in 2008 there was a Net LOSS of 2.6 million jobs, so far in 2012 there has been a Net GAIN of 952,000. So Obama has outperformed Bush so far by about 3.6 Million jobs more than Bush served up.
    There are Charts that show this. Why doesn't the DemoGaz run some of them on page one?
    Isn't an honest Newspaper supposed to inform citizens of the Truth?
    I think it would be a huge mistake to return Republicans to power. Even now, had the Republicans helped Obama even just a little - how far out of the Economic hole could this country have been?
    The Republican "spin" would have us believe that if you have one foot in a bucket of coals and the other foot in ice at zero, on the average you're comfortable.

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