Will You Help Make Arkansas Great?

My mind was wandering to a time when Arkansas was The Land of Opportunity:

A time when everybody who wanted a job could find a job.

A time when ordinary people could do extraordinary things.

A time when a person could start a business overnight.

A time when we met at the flag poll to pray before school.

A time when all state recreation areas were free.

A time when folks left their keys in their cars and never locked their doors.

A time when there was no state sales tax or almost no sales tax.

A time when there was no state income tax or only a very simple tax.

A time when people were not punished for making money.

A time when people could become millionaires & billionaires and stay in Arkansas.

A time when I could get a shoe shine when I got a haircut.

Do you remember this song?

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy’s rich and your ma is good-lookin’
So hush, little baby, don’t you cry

One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing
And you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky
But till that morning, there ain’t nothin’ can harm you
With daddy and mammy standin’ by

Not long ago, the CEO of an Arkansas company with revenue near $2 billion told me the government punished him when he hired an employee.

Arkansas is now second in the nation in state and local sales taxes. Of the 13 southern states, Arkansas has the highest state income tax along with South Carolina.  Arkansas state income tax is at least 15% higher than any surrounding state.

Looking at the overall tax burden, Arkansas ranks 15th in the Nation. For comparison:

Massachusetts is 18th

Pennsylvania is 24th

Michigan is 26th

Louisiana is 29th

Georgia is 32nd

Texas is 34th

Missouri is 38th

Alabama is 43rd

Florida is 45th

Oklahoma is 47th

Tennessee is 48th

Alaska is 49th and

Delaware is 50th.

Yes, Delaware has the lowest tax burden in the United States.  Ponder this, Walmart is the largest company in the World by revenue, it was founded in Arkansas by an Arkansas resident, Sam Walton, and its World Headquarters is located in Arkansas.  Yet, back in 1969, Walmart was incorporated in Delaware.

These corporations are owned by folks like you and me including government and private retirement funds.  Corporations are not charities although they give billions of dollars to charities every year.  The simple fact is that corporations have a Fiduciary Duty of Loyalty. Officers and directors owe a duty of loyalty to a corporation and its shareholders. They are expected to put the welfare and best interests of the corporation above their own personal or other business interests.  Their job is not to pay taxes and create jobs, their job is to make money and create wealth for their shareholders.

I submit, Arkansas is really lucky to have the Fortune 500 Companies here because they remain in Arkansas only out of a sense of loyalty.  Arkansas government leaders have been misbehaving for a long time and several billionaires have fled the state along with a legion of millionaires.  When former Governor Mike Huckabee cashed in with his Fox News Ole Opry, he quickly fled to Florida.

Of the seven members of the Walton Family with a net worth totaling more than $145 billion, only two remain in Arkansas, Jim and Rob.  Alice, Lukas, Ann, Christy and Nancy live in Not-Arkansas.

Do you think Wyoming, Nevada, Missouri and Texas would like to give up their Walton billionaires?  Ponder how much better off Arkansas would be if all the billionaires and millionaires were still here.  Even though Alice moved to Texas, she put her heart and soul into Crystal Bridges in Bentonville.

When Crystal Bridges was proposed, annual attendance was estimated at some 150,000 to 250,000 guests. Attendance exceeded expectations from the onset, with more than 650,000 visitors in the first year and 500-600,000 in the years since. Visitors hail from all 50 states and six continents, including places like Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Russia, Switzerland, and Zimbabwe. Thanks to a $20 million grant from Walmart in 2011, visitors have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy admission to Crystal Bridges and its permanent collection at no cost.

If the Walton Family paid no income taxes, their value to Arkansas would still be incalculable.  Unfortunately, Arkansas misbehaving politicians view the Walton Family and all of the rest of us as revenue streams.  Do you think there is a chance Arkansas could actually compete with Texas, Florida, Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming?  How about becoming competitive with just the surrounding states?

Right now, three areas in Arkansas were named the most miserable in the United States with Fort Smith winning the Blue Ribbon.  The Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metropolitan area came in at 16 and the West Memphis- Memphis area was 25th.

The Naples, Florida region is the nation’s happiest metro area. Affluence and strong social ties have contributed to the nation-leading well-being across Naples, Immokalee, and Marco Island. The typical household earns $62,126 annually, well above the national median of $55,775 a year. Residents were also significantly more likely than people nationwide to report having enough money to meet their everyday desires.

Community improvement projects have flourished across Southwest Florida in recent years. For example, since 2015, the metropolitan area has added roundabouts, sidewalks, and bike lanes to improve pedestrian and bike travel. About 91% of residents have access to a safe place to exercise, one of the higher shares in the country. Perhaps partially as a result, more than two-thirds of survey respondents in the area say their physical health is near perfect, the highest proportion of any metro area reviewed.

I have a news flash, as a general rule, socialism, liberalism, undocumented or otherwise illegal aliens, freeloaders and welfare queens are not responsible for the happiness and prosperity of Naples, Florida.

Florida is a Business Friendly State, Arkansas is not a Business Friendly State.  The Most Tax-Friendly States for Business are:

  1. South Dakota: No corporate or individual income tax
  2. Wyoming: No corporate or individual income tax
  3. Alaska: No individual income tax or state-level sales tax; however
  4. Nevada: No corporate or individual income tax
  5. Florida: No individual income tax
  6. Montana: No sales tax
  7. New Hampshire: No sales tax
  8. Delaware: No sales tax and has a favorable business law environment
  9. Washington: No individual or corporate income tax
  10. Utah: Assesses all major tax types, but has low property tax rates and a favorable unemployment insurance tax system

The absence of a major state tax is a big part of determining the top ten.  However, Texas, which lacks an individual income tax, came in just short of the top ten at number eleven. According to the study, this is due to the fact that they impose a tax on intangible property (stocks, bonds, etc.) and do not recognize LLC’s or S-Corporations.

So let me throw this out:  What if we elected an Arkansas Governor next year who was committed to making Arkansas great again?  What if we threw out the bums who spent Arkansas into poverty and are now taxing everything that moves and everything that does not move?  Almost 100% of the Arkansas political leaders in the Executive and Legislative Branches, endorsed Marco Rubio and are still not there yet when it comes to President Trump.  In fact, Governor Hutchinson recently went on MSNBC to oppose President Trump’s efforts to repeal Obamacare.

I am so narrow-minded that I believe with all my heart that politicians have a Fiduciary Duty of Loyalty to Arkansas and legal Arkansas residents.  I’m pretty sure James Miller wasn’t thinking about making Arkansas a wealth redistribution center when he became the first Governor of Arkansas Territory.

I know the first elected Republican Governor, Powell Clayton, did not have a socialist bone in his body.

How did we get here?  When Asa Hutchinson was running for Governor the second time, he said there was no room in the budget for General Improvement Funds but, as Governor, he signed into law tens of millions of dollars of pork aka GIF.  Now we have Legislators and former Legislators under FBI investigation with some indictments already handed down.  The Governor’s nephew, Senator Hendren, said the Arkansas version of Obamacare would gobble up the entire state budget.  Well, it turns out that if there was any tax money not gobbled up by Obamacare, it was gobbled up by General Improvement Funds.  These shifty Republicans are making six term segregationist Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus look like a Rocket Scientist.

I stated a few years ago that Arkansas potholes have potholes and many rickety bridges are crossed by school buses.  With Arkansas government spending so high and no willingness to cut spending one red cent, Arkansas infrastructure is dismal.  Representative Mathew Pitsch, the Arkansas House Majority Leader, dreamed up a Bill to place a device on vehicles to track mileage so motorists could be taxed.  When I had a meltdown on Social Media and pointed out that gasoline, tires, vehicles, batteries, oil, transmission fluid, repair and even paint jobs were already taxed along with the drivers, Representative Pitsch called me and told me he was withdrawing his Bill.  As a reward for effort, many believe the Senator in his district is delaying resigning so Pitsch can run for Senator instead of having a special election. Pitsch along with several of his Republican colleagues, have been voting with 100% of the Democrats to push socialism, higher taxes and less freedom.  The few courageous conservative members of the Arkansas House and Senate are outcasts in the Asa Hutchinson Administration.

President Donald Trump won Arkansas with 60% over the former First Lady of Arkansas.  Will you support electing Arkansas leaders who support the 60% of voters?  I am asking you to find candidates who will put Arkansas first.  Will you help me?

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