Sen. Jonathan Dismang, president pro tempore of the Senate, has named Senate members of a task force aimed at revamping state taxes.
(They call it tax “reform,” but I try to avoid that loaded word. Would, for example, a tax plan that put the load on consumers and saved millions for the wealthy be reform?)
He appointed Sens. Joyce Elliott of Little Rock, Bart Hester of Cave Springs, Missy Irvin of Mountain View, Larry Teague of Nashville and Dave Wallace of Leachville. Also on the task for force are majority leader Jim Hendren of Gravette and minority leader Keith Ingram of West Memphis. Dismang, as president pro tem, is the eighth senator.
The House also will have eight members on the task force, authorized by 2017 legislation. Its mission: “modernize and simplify” the tax code, make it fairer, and make Arkansas more competitive, in part by providing incentives for job creation.
Fairness is in the eye of the beholder, of course. And one man’s incentives are another man’s welfare handout. One example: Health insurance for working poor is a disincentive to work in the eyes of the current legislative majority. Multi-million-dollar taxpayer handouts to private companies are incentives, however.
UPDATE: Here are House Speaker Jeremy Gillam’s appointees:
Joe Jett, Frances Cavenaugh, Bob Johnson, Jim Dotson and Warwick Sabin. Lane Jean will be the speaker’s designee. Majority and minority leaders Mathew Pitsch and Kenneth Ferguson round out the eight.
Gillam also filled all six seats on a joint committee on economic and tax policy with Republicans — Jett, Jean, David Branscum, Jeff Williams, Charlie Collins and, as chair, Laurie Rushing.