The vast majority of Arkansans (around 61 percent) are strongly dissatisfied with the direction of our nation and over 51 percent of Arkansans say their economic situation is fair or poor compared to 5 years ago.
Arkansas is ranked 10th worst place to retire . We have amazing people, a good climate and our cost of living is excellent but (and it is one big but) our tax loads are among the most burdensome in the nation. Arkansas’ State/Local Tax Burden is above national average estimated now at 10.0% of income; Arkansas’ state/local tax burden percentage stands at 14th nationally, above the national average of 9.7%. Arkansas taxpayers pay $3,351 per capita in state and local taxes.
The State of Arkansas has 2,000 of more than 8,000 state vehicles that are being used for personal use. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has 658 cars for 613 employees to which the commissioner responded “It’s something awfully hard to get rid of. People get used to it.”
Arkansas has lost 17,300 jobs since the $814 Billion Stimulus was passed , raising unemployment more from 6.8 to 7.5 percent. . It should be noted that 5 of the 6 Arkansas delegates voted for this bill. (Congressman John Boozman was the exception).
Arkansas children rank third in the nation with 26.9 percent living in poverty in 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The percentage of Arkansas children living in poverty has risen steadily since 2006, when it was 23.8 percent.
From 1998 to 2007 the state government grew by 17%, representing 28,800 new government positions over the past ten years, while population only grew by 8.9%.
Although Arkansas has a balanced budget amendment our state is billions in debt. According to Sunshine Review~ Arkansas has a total state debt of $7,899,579,400 when calculated by adding the total of outstanding debt, pension, OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefit) UAAL’s (Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability), unemployment trust funds and the 2010 budget gap. As of June 30, 2008 Arkansas Public School Districts and Education Service Cooperatives had outstanding loans and bonded indebtedness totaling $2,842,716,298 — an increase of $230,838,355 over the previous year.
Arkansas’ individual income tax has a top rate of 7% that kicks in at $32,600 income. The Tax Foundation lowered the state’s Business Tax Climate to 40th in the nation. The corporate tax rate has a top tier of 6.5% that applies when income levels reach $100,000 which placed Arkansas in 39th place among the 50 states. But Arkansas hits near the top of the charts as number 12 of states going into debt.
While Arkansas families & businesses teeter on the precipice of uncertainty not knowing if our taxes will increase dramatically in January, Congressman Mike Ross (D) tours our state proclaiming his dedication to Arkansas citizens yet voted to keep us on the edge of economic strife & come home with no answer. As a result, the average middle class family in Arkansas will see a tax hike of $1,418. (“Affect of Expiration of Bush-Era Tax Cuts on Average Middle-Income Family, By State and Congressional District,” Tax Foundation, 8/1/10).
While Governor Beebe is in Arkansas working on a state his $86 million “comprehensive health-care program”, Congressman Ross cast a vital vote in committee to move Obama care forward and Senator Blanche Lincoln voted against the people of Arkansas when she cast the deciding vote to pass the government takeover of healthcare. Now Sixty-four percent (64%) of Arkansas voters favor repeal of the health care bill, including 51% who strongly favor it. Only 30% oppose repeal, with 20% who are Strongly Opposed.
The Arkansas Legislature adjourned March 12, 2009 without passing HB 1053, titled the Open Checkbooks in Government Act, sponsored by Dan Greenberg (R-Little Rock). This bill calls for the creation of a searchable website cataloguing all state expenditures and bond proceeds. The website also will include electronic copies of all state grants, contracts, and subcontracts, as well as a listing of all public meetings.
Time, energy and sheer exhaustion are what prohibit me from going on and on and on… ARKANSAS WE CAN DO BETTER!
GET THE FACTS OUT AND VOTE! NOVEMBER 2ND YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE FOR OUR STATE, OUR NATION AND OUR FUTURES~