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Arkansas economy improving

On June 3 in this publication, a rather critical opinion piece appeared regarding Arkansas' efforts to create job opportunities for its citizens.

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RBear says...

There's a lot to unpack in both this column and the column referenced. Is Mike Ogden right? To some degree, yes. Is Jacob Bundrick, the author the referenced column, "A Neglected Gauge," right? To some degree, yes. In other words, both guest columnists are coming at this argument from different angles, each trying to one up the other on whether tax incentives are good or bad. Ogden has to support this argument to justify his job, which is to dole out incentives to attract business to Arkansas. Bundrick seems to be a staunch opponent to tax incentives, using his tax-funded job at UCA's ACRE to promote his anti-incentive agenda.
I think it merits review from both sides. While tax incentives can be almost a crap shoot in terms of realized benefits, they serve a purpose when Arkansas is competing with other states for industries and jobs. To say Arkansas hasn't realized the benefits, as Bundrick tries to portray, is hardly fair since it takes time for these projects to get up and running to produce the actual economic development they promise.
Toyota received tremendous incentives to pick San Antonio over Arkansas and other areas when locating the US Tundra/Tacoma plant. Now, that plant has spurred economic growth on the Southside, including the location of A&M's San Antonio campus and other suppliers in the area. Is it the powerhouse of the city? Hardly, considering how big San Antonio is (it's now 1/2 an Arkansas in population). But it provides an economic anchor to help balance the growth in a city that started to sprawl towards the north.
Regardless, I think it's worthwhile to dig into both columns to see the merits of their positions. Job growth in Arkansas is crucial to helping lift the state out of the rankings it currently has. That starts with cozying up to the Chinese at times with some nice welcoming gifts. Hopefully, they'll stay and grow the regions.

Posted 19 June 2017, 7:31 a.m. Suggest removal

MM03 says...

RBear, who is Mike Ogden?

This article discusses the economy in terms of fairly large businesses. The lifeblood of this country is small business whether C corps, partnerships or sole proprietorships. These credits, rebates and incentives do little or nothing for small businesses.

How about ditching the state income tax? Neither Texas or Tennessee have one. If you want to be competitive with neighboring states, either reduce or remove the state income tax.

Small businesses need assistance too. Work on incentives for them.

Posted 20 June 2017, 9:55 a.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

MM03, meant to say Mike Preston.
While I understand your point SMB, it's really not in the best interest of the state to look at state incentives for those businesses. The focus of the state's economic development office is to help attract major industry into the state. That's not to say that a county or city jurisdiction couldn't offer similar incentives and that's often the case. In San Antonio, the city's EDO has negotiated numerous packages with a variety of industries, including job training programs, tax incentives, and even land swaps. Take for example, the property swap that recently occurred in downtown San Antonio to allow a high rise to be constructed, keeping Frost Bank in the downtown area.
With regards to the state income tax, I'm not sure of TN's income base, but TX's income base is much more diverse than AR's. Thanks to the oil and gas taxes, the state has been able to forego income taxes. AR doesn't have the same reserves to be able to allow for such an approach. Without the income tax, fundamental services would not be available for small businesses to function. Neat idea, but not very well thought out.

Posted 20 June 2017, 11:58 a.m. Suggest removal

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