Governor Hutchinson is planning to call a special session of the state legislature to reduce the top individual tax rate in Arkansas. While lower taxes might sound great, the Governor’s proposed tax cuts are a bad deal for Arkansans with disabilities. Here’s why.
Good for the wealthiest Arkansans, not so good for people with disabilities
People with disabilities in Arkansas are almost twice as likely to be living in poverty as non-disabled Arkansans. They are much less likely to see any financial benefits under this plan. Under the Governor’s proposed tax plan, Arkansans who make under $22,000 per year, which is 20% of the state, would see no benefit. The top 20% of earners in the state would receive 70% of the benefits of the tax cut.
Less money means fewer services
A reduction in tax revenue for the state means less money for programs and services in the state budget. People with all types of disabilities rely on state funded programs for help in many aspects of their daily lives. These include education, transportation, housing, food, and employment services. For people who rely on those programs, any cuts can have a major impact on their ability to live independently in our communities.
A longer wait for those on the HCBS waiting list
In Arkansas, around 4,800 people with disabilities are receiving home and community-based services. Another 3,000 families remain on a waiting list to receive those services. Many of those families have been on that waiting list for years. A reduction in the amount of money in the state budget will make it even harder for them to receive the services that they have been waiting for.
The Governor’s proposed tax cuts would take money away from programs and services that help Arkansans with disabilities. And most people with disabilities won’t see any tax benefit. Only the wealthiest Arkansans will get a break. Instead of giving yet another tax break to those in our state who need it the least, we should invest that money into community services which will allow people with disabilities to live in their communities with independence and dignity.