Sen. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith, chair of the Senate Revenue and Tax Committee, says early tax cut proposals in his committee will need to show revenue neutrality, and he expressed optimism and caution on a potential superproject that Arkansas is in contention for.
In today’s (Jan. 17) Talk Business Arkansas Update, Files said early tax reform proposals will need to show balance.
“I’m certainly going to be open to letting them make their presentations, but I going to be asking them for some revenue neutrality,” he said.
Files said he hopes to work with the House in an effort to alter income tax brackets in the state. He wants to see relief for middle-income tax earners, but is not supportive of a tax increase on the wealthy.
He stressed that his background in business will help him steer state policy in the tax arena.
“It’s an opportunity to be influential in what policies get determined,” Files said. “I think it’s important to have people who know how business works. There’s a lot of people down here that don’t meet a payroll and are just getting a check from somebody. That’s a whole different perspective ... knowing the obligations that come week after week and the demands that you have it changes your perspective on taxing and how the government affects you.”
Files said Gov. Mike Beebe’s grocery tax cut is not his A1 priority, but he’s supportive of it.
He also discussed his encouragement and caution regarding a potential $1 billion-plus economic superproject.
“I think there’s a lot of excitement and enthusiasm going in. Not many of us have seen a lot of details on it, so the verdict remains to be seen,” he said. “The fine line here is what are we willing to vote to obligate the state for and what do we get in return. I’m going to be really interested to see how that economic analysis comes back to where that payback comes back. If it doesn’t pay back, it turns into us picking winners and losers and I don’t think that’s goal for being down here.”
Files said he believes the proposal made by Beebe and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, if the deal comes through, will be thorough and prudent.
“Certainly, the Governor and AEDC have done their homework, they’re not just going to throw something out there and hope it sticks,” he said, urging that the state’s obligation on bonds must not jeopardize the balanced budget under which the state operates.
Link here to see a video interview between Roby Brock and Sen. Files.