Eliminating income tax could threaten state services, UA economist says


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Several prominent Republicans in Arkansas government said they want to eliminate the individual income tax, led recently by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. A University of Arkansas economist said he thinks that wouldn’t help most Arkansans.

Rutledge said she’ll try, as she runs for governor, to put on next year’s ballot a proposition to end the state’s individual income tax. She announced Thursday her plan to push for the proposed constitutional amendment, adding that it would allow Arkansans to save money.

Jeff Cooperstein, a UA economist, said this would save most Arkansans only a few hundred dollars each year while stripping them of vital services the state provides. Income tax makes up about 20% of the state’s income, Cooperstein said.

“State money pays for education, police, fire, supports our health systems, our transportation system,” Cooperstein said.

Cooperstein said states like Florida and Texas don’t have an income tax, but they make up for that money with gas and oil in the former and tourism in the latter. He said in Arkansas, property and sales taxes could be targeted to make up the money, which would disproportionately impact Arkansans with lower incomes.

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