With the biggest debates about federal spending now likely to be deferred for three months, Congress will soon turn to the other side of the fiscal equation: tax revenue. Embarrassing intra-party gridlock over health care consumed the fruitless Republican effort to replace the Affordable Care Act for the first half of the year, making it all the more essential for the GOP to deliver an achievement on taxes.
We don’t have an actual tax bill to parse yet, but Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families has a helpful preview of how the cuts outlined by Trump earlier this year would affect Arkansas. It’s based on an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
The key takeaway is that Arkansas is among the five states projected to receive the smallest share of the proposed tax cut on a per-capita basis, along with Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky and New Mexico. It’s no surprise that those states also have some of the highest poverty rates and lowest per-capita income in the country, because the plan sketched by the White House skews toward benefiting higher-income households. Advocates says:
The wealthy, not the middle class, would be the major winners under the Trump plan. ITEP estimates the total cost of this plan would be $4.84 billion over the 10-year period from 2018-2027. In Arkansas, the richest 1 percent of taxpayers, those with incomes of more than $490,000, will receive half (49.5%) of the benefits from the Trump plan. The 40 percent of Arkansas taxpayers who earn the least, those with incomes less than $35,000, will receive less than 4 percent of the total benefits from the proposed tax cuts. In contrast, Arkansas millionaires would do well. If you make more than $1 million a year, you would receive an average tax cut of $216,000 annually.
Reducing taxes modestly is probably doable for Republicans, and President Trump is already stumping for the proposal.
As Bloomberg explains, though, “tax cuts” aren’t the same as “tax reform” — the sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code the GOP once hoped to deliver. But that was before the effort to end Obamacare stalled.