Gov. Asa Hutchinson
revealed his idea for cutting taxes for the highest income taxpayers, ultimately a reduction in the top tax rate of 6.9 percent to 5.9 percent. It’s a boon to the rich

Simple arithmetic illustrates the big winners from $192 million in tax cuts when fully implemented:

* A mere 170,000 taxpayers making more than $80,000, or 13 percent of 1.267 million taxpayers, would receive $144 million, or 75 percent of the tax cut, an average of about $850 each.

* The poorest taxpayers, making $20,000 a year or less, would get virtually nothing, actually a tax rate increase in some brackets (which officials claim would be offset by increased standard deductions). In sum, 483,000 taxpayers, or 38 percent of taxpayers, would reap $1.9 million, about 1 percent of the tax cut and an average of about $4 each. The poorest taxpayers in that group, making less than $5,000, would get nothing.

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* In the middle bracket, 614,000 taxpayers, or about half of all taxpayers (making between $20,000 and $80,000), would reap about $46 million, or about 25 percent of the tax cut, an average of about $75 each.

If you could see the numbers differentiated further — how much millionaires will receive, for example — it would be even more shocking.  In 2010, the last year for which the state has been willing to provide me detailed breakdowns of tax information, 3,077 taxpayers made more than $500,000 and had a net tax bill of $263 million. Knock 14 percent off that amount with a one point drop in the top marginal tax rate and you’re talking a savings of maybe $36 million, an average of more than $85,000 per taxpayer. And people are richer in that bracket today. At those rates, a quarter of one percent of all taxpayers would get a whopping 25 percent of the tax cut.

I’m thinking the Waltons, Tysons, Hunts, Stephenses, Murphys, Dillards and them can get behind this legislative idea. (All of them, it occurs to me, have done pretty well in Arkansas despite our supposedly business-discouraging tax climate)

And that ain’t all. Here are more ideas from the tax “reform” task force, as reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. (Always beware of people throwing the word “reform” around.) There’s no talk here of sustaining state services in the face of huge tax cuts. There ARE ideas for limiting the ability of local government to make up for state starvation with their own taxes.

Looks like Kansas, Toto.

The thought is that businesses will flock here for low taxes, ignoring subpar schools, crumbling highways, overstuffed prisons and an impoverished class given the least amount of help in rising up. But we WILL prevent women from seeing a doctor of their choice and we WILL provide legal cover for discrimination against sexual minorities, so there is that.

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