Testimony: Arkansas Options for Sales Tax Reform

March 19, 2018

This morning, I had the honor of presenting to Arkansas’s Tax Reform and Relief task force. The task force asked me to present options for reforming the Natural State’s sales tax.

As detailed in our 2016 book, Arkansas: The Road Map to Reform, Arkansas’s sales tax structure is in need of broad reforms. The state has the third highest combined state-local sales tax rate in the country, but the real issues are with the state’s sales tax base. The state has a sales tax holiday, numerous blanket exemptions for goods, and limited taxation of services.

However, the state should proceed cautiously with the newfound revenue from sales tax base expansions. While the state’s sales tax rate is high, its high individual and corporate income tax rates are more problematic. The state should use any additional revenue from sales tax changes to help lower tax rates for these other taxes. Any excess revenue should be used to also repeal the state’s franchise and inventory taxes, along with a few other reforms detailed in our book.

My entire slide deck is below.

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