Arkansas Enacts Fourth Tax Cut in Less than Two Years

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) recently convened a brief special legislative session to implement the fourth round of reductions in the state’s individual and corporate income taxes. Additionally, legislators approved a modest property tax reform proposal.

The tax cut package, designated HB 1001, lowers the top marginal individual income tax rate from 4.4 percent to 3.9 percent, starting in the 2024 tax year. It also reduces the top corporate income tax rate from 4.8 percent to 4.3 percent. This latest round of tax cuts is expected to save Arkansas taxpayers over half a billion dollars this year. Furthermore, HB 1002 enhances benefits for Arkansas homeowners by increasing the Homestead Property Tax Credit from $425 to $500, projected to save a total of $46 million annually starting in 2025. The table below provides a breakdown of the estimated tax savings for various households across the state.

As shown in the table, all taxpayers benefit from the most recent tax reductions, regardless of their income level. However, the benefits are somewhat larger for higher earners due to the focus on rate reductions. This is logical from a competitiveness standpoint, as higher initial effective rates mean these taxpayers will gain more from rate reductions. Additionally, economic decision-making occurs at the margin, so reducing top marginal rates significantly impacts economic growth. This is especially relevant since pass-through businesses are taxed under the individual income tax.

These changes aim to keep Arkansas competitive with neighboring states. In 2024 alone, thirteen other states reduced their individual income tax rates, and since 2021, twenty-seven states have cut income tax rates, some more than once. Among Arkansas’s neighbors, Mississippi and Missouri have reduced their rates, emphasizing the need for Arkansas to foster a competitive, pro-growth tax environment. The latest tax reform package positions Arkansas’s top marginal individual income tax rate as the second lowest among its bordering states. Texas and Tennessee have the lowest rates because they do not levy an individual income tax, while the other four neighboring states have top marginal rates below the 3.9 percent set by HB 1001. This enhances Arkansas’s competitiveness, especially for entrepreneurs and highly mobile income earners.

These reforms focus on rates without altering the overall structure of the tax code. Since 2015, Arkansas has significantly reduced the tax burden on families and businesses. The top marginal individual income tax rate has dropped from 6.9 percent to 3.9 percent, and the top corporate income tax rate has decreased from 6.5 percent to 4.3 percent, the second lowest among neighboring states.

There is no evidence that these rate reductions have led to a decrease in tax revenue. According to the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research, individual and corporate income tax revenues have grown steadily since the first of now seven separate tax cuts over the past nine years. Recent trends show that states with lower tax rates have experienced faster revenue growth, indicating that lower-tax states are prospering and can afford substantial tax rate reductions through existing revenue growth.

Lowering individual and corporate income tax rates will boost returns for the Arkansas labor force and encourage higher investment levels. It will also help Arkansas remain competitive with its neighboring states, which are also working to reduce tax burdens. Additionally, property tax relief efforts will reduce the tax burden on Arkansas homeowners.

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