The Arkansas legislature is wasting more of your money. This time nearly $650,000 is being spent for consultant fees. Why? The prime reason is to hire a consultant to tell a legislative task force how to “revise” Arkansas taxes.
Task force and consultant focused on wrong problem.
The problem with Arkansas taxes are:
- Arkansas is a high tax state and is surrounded by low tax states.
- Arkansas politicians are addicted to spending too much of your money. State reserves have steadily gone down since the days of Governor Mike Huckabee (R).
Actual reasons they created a tax task force and hiring a consultant
- Delay. The task force was created to derail some Republican legislators who wanted real tax cuts in 2017, particularly income taxes. The creation of the task force was added to a “tax relief” bill as a way to punt the ball down the field – to buy more time in order to stop the call for real tax cuts.
- Controlling the answer. Hiring a consultant is used by big government Republicans to get the answers they want – just as they did when they hired a consultant on Medicaid and Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.
Uncle Asa and Nephew Jim – Running the same play.
The tax task force (or “Tax Farce” as Paul Harrell calls it) is the same exact plan Governor Asa Hutchinson and nephew, Senator Jim Hendren used to keep the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion in Arkansas.
- The Medicaid task force was used to keep Arkansas as an Obamacare Medicaid Expansion under a new name “Arkansas Works”. (Arkansas Works serves primarily able bodied working age adults with no children but who DO NOT WORK.)
- The tax task force is being used as to keep Arkansas a high tax state in order to pay for Arkansas Works and further expansion of state government.
Why do we say it is the same exact big government plan? Lets compare the two task forces:
|Medicaid Task Force||Tax Task Force|
|Proposed by||Governor Hutchinson||Governor Hutchinson|
|Lead sponsor of bill||Senator Jim Hendren||Senator Jim Hendren|
|Legislation derailed by task force proposal||Derailed 2015 efforts to repeal Arkansas Obamacare Medicaid Expansion||Derailed 2017 efforts to make substantial cuts in taxes, particularly income taxes|
|Was a task force needed so the issue could be studied?||No. The task force took the issue away from the House and Senate Committees on Public Health Welfare and Labor. Instead the task force controlled which legislators had a voice.||No. The task force took the issue away from the House and Senate Committees on Revenue and Tax. Instead the task force controlled which legislators have a voice.|
|Senate chair of task force||Senator Jim Hendren||Senator Jim Hendren|
|Task force membership||Stacked with legislators who previously voted for Obamacare Medicaid Expansion in Arkansas||Stacked with legislators who voted for several tax increases in 2017 [i]|
|Consultant & predetermined result||Senator Jim Hendren and other liberal big government leaders controlled the consultant contract.
The consultant’s report admits its marching orders included justifying continuing coverage of the Obamacare Medicaid population. [ii]
|??? No results yet, but…
As co-chair, Senator Jim Hendren will be guiding the tax consultant just as he did with the Medicaid consultant. So, we expect the continuation of Arkansas as a high tax state while using smoke and mirrors to shift tax burdens among Arkansans along with some minor tax relief that won’t lower the Arkansas tax burden.
|Result||More big government. Senator Jim Hendren mislead other legislators saying the task force legislation was the way to end Arkansas’ Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. Then he himself sponsored the legislation to rename and keep it.||??? Expect big government to keep Arkansas the highest tax state in the region.|
|Avoiding it becoming an election issue||The task force report was filed AFTER candidate filing deadline. The bill to continue Obamacare Medicaid Expansion in Arkansas was filed AFTER the primary election||The deadline for the task force’s final report is December 31, 2018 which is AFTER the 2018 elections.|
Senator Jim Hendren (#CommodoreNephew) defended hiring a consultant saying: “It has a whole new level of credibility, versus this is what three or four legislators thought, and [Bureau of Legislative Research] gave them these facts, especially when you are doing hard things.“[iii] This said by the man who will have the biggest role in “guiding” the consultant in the direction Uncle Asa wants it, just like when Commodore Nephew guided the consultant for the Medicaid task force to require support for continuation of Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.
The task force and consultant is just smoke and mirrors to keep Arkansas a liberal tax and spend state. To keep the people fooled there will be some tax cuts (as there is every two years), and Arkansas will continue to be the highest tax state in the region. This is what we get from Uncle Asa and Commodore Nephew.
The problem: Arkansas taxes are too high and are higher than in the surrounding states and region.
Uncle Asa and Commodore Nephew’s solution: A task force, a consultant, smoke and mirrors, and more tax and spend.
[ii] On page 4 of “The Stephen Group Volume II: Recommendations” TSG states: “TSG’s contracted responsibility calls for recommendations to improve the quality and efficiency of the traditional Medicaid program while offering a solution for the future of the Private Option, while maintaining coverage for the nearly 250,000 participants in the program.”[iv] (emphasis added)