Columnist, Legislator Disagree On Income Taxes

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If political columnist John Brummett had his way, the income tax on Arkansans making six-figure salaries would go up.

That perspective is starkly different from one held by state Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville. Collins wants to lower income tax rates across the board in Arkansas, including on wealthy residents, in an effort to attract more businesses to the state. He says lowering the rates will make Arkansas a “jobs magnet.”

At an hour-long forum in Fayetteville, Brummett and Collins debated the income tax issue before about about 90 people.

Collins has said he believes his plan to lower income tax rates will receive serious discussion at the 2013 legislative session that begins in January. Given a choice between locating a business in Arkansas or a state with lower income tax rates or no income tax at all, business owners will go where the rates are lower, he said.

Collins is seeking a second two-year term to the state House of Representatives. His Democratic opponent in the Nov. 6 general election, Adella Gray, attended the forum at the Northstar Partnering Group building near the Northwest Arkansas Mall.

Brummett, who writes for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, said Republicans don’t like income taxes because higher wage earners have a problem with paying for government programs that support those who make less money. But Republicans have a more palatable argument by saying lower income taxes rates will attract jobs, he said. Brummett noted states such as Tennessee have lower rates than Arkansas but more unemployed people.

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