(June 5, 2009) The most frequent question we hear is: 'When will the recession end?'1 Last May 2 we announced the U.S. economy entered recession in January 2008. Our forecast missed by one month. The National Bureau of Economic Research declared Dec. 1, 2008, that economic activity peaked in December 2007. 3
Looking in the Wrong Places
(October 12, 2009) State revenues from a 2008 severance tax hike are short of the official estimate due to deflation in the natural gas market. But a 30 percent cut in the state capital gains tax in 19991 led to revenues greater than the estimate due to increased economic activity.
Both episodes—a decade apart—underscore that policymakers weighing tax proposals would benefit from dynamic analysis, an attempt to measure the full effect of fiscal policy on revenue estimates.
(December 2009) Arkansas will see a reduction in job growth, with 17,100 to 23,300 fewer jobs in 2030 under a 'Cap-and-Trade' proposal, according to a new study by the Arkansas Policy Foundation and the American Council for Capital Formation.
Margo Thorning, Ph.D, and Pinar Cebi Wilber, Ph.D authored the study, which concludes:
Charter schools are public schools free from some oversight and regulation. They are approved by the state Board of Education, and operated by teachers, parents or other qualified individuals. Charter restrictions were liberalized in 1999, 2005 and 2007.
Some Little Rock public school officials threaten legal action to turn back the clock on this education reform. Their message to the U.S.: Arkansas is not serious about education reform.
Government accountability has taken on new meaning. Units of government are accountable when they explain to citizens the services they receive from tax dollars, how spending effects citizens' lives or those of loved ones, and whether programs are efficient or wasteful. Performance reviews should be part of this accountability process.
Performance-based budgeting would require state government to develop quantifiable measures for all functions and then allocate tax dollars based on the effectiveness of meeting performance goals. Activities-based costing allocates tax dollars in a consistent and uniform manner. The Murphy Commission, a Policy Foundation project recommended both ideas in 1998.
Once upon a time many economists did not accept the idea that tax rates are a factor of economic development. The literature suggests that is no longer the case. Tax rates are a factor of economic development along with private property, the right of contract and the rule of law; infrastructure; a functional education system and skilled labor force; and a non-capricious regulatory policy. Rates are not the only factor, but entrepreneurs do take them into consideration when making decisions about employment.
Freshman Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe in 2007 proposed a 50 percent reduction in the state sales tax on groceries. The tax cut, enacted by the General Assembly reduced the grocery tax from six to three cents. Gov. Beebe has proposed reducing the grocery tax from three to two cents when the legislature meets in session in 2009.