A DIFFERENT VIEW ON BUDGETING Arkansans for Responsible Spending

A coalition calling itself Arkansans for Responsible Spending has responded to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s budget outline: Invest in services and people before cutting taxes.

Its release says the state has underfunded critical services for years — falling short of adequacy in support of public schools, highways and roads, the developmentally disabled and environmental protection.

Advertisement

The new budget follows that trend, it said. Rather than helping children, families and older people, it “prioritizes income tax cuts for the wealthy.” The tax cuts of the last three legislative sessions have already strained the ability to provide critical services.

Their release continued:

Advertisement

“Tax revenue is vital to ensure that Arkansans have access to quality education and child care, adequate healthcare, appropriate supports and assistance for individuals with disabilities and those who are elderly, adequate roads and infrastructure, and necessary resources to properly care for and safeguard our environment. Cutting taxes for the highest earners in Arkansas strips our economy of resources necessary to ensure the greatest quality of life for all Arkansans and creates an even more uneven tax system where low-income earners pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the wealthiest. ” – Syard Evans, Arkansas Support Network

Any revenue gained through new sources, like enforcing collections of existing online sales taxes, should be invested in services that provide resources and opportunities for everyday Arkansans. Any budget surplus, which has only been achieved by under-funding vital programs, should do the same.We should ensure that older adults have the home-based care they need. We should ensure that our bridges and roads are safe. We should ensure that hardworking Arkansans are able to keep more of their money through a state Earned Income Tax Credit. We should ensure that Arkansans can access health care through our state’s Medicaid expansion.

Investments in everyday Arkansans are the best investments for boosting our state’s economy and strengthening our workforce.

The coalition’s participants:

American Association of University Women Arkansas

Advertisement

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

Arkansas Community Organizations

Arkansas Public Policy Panel

Arkansas Sierra Club

Advertisement

Arkansas Support Network

Arkansas United

Faith Voices Arkansas

League of Women Voters Pulaski County

Rural Community Alliance

The group describes itself this way:

Arkansans for Responsible Spending believes the state should build a thriving Arkansas by strategically investing in its people and infrastructure. The research is clear. To reduce poverty and promote economic growth, Arkansas must improve the quality of its workforce by investing in health care, schools, and teachers; investing in programs that protect vulnerable children, families, and older adults so that all Arkansans can participate in the economy; and investing in its infrastructure. Children, families, and older adults should be the priority for any new revenue.