Tax panel re­jects bids to an­a­lyze state’s code

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - MICHAEL R. WICKLINE

A leg­isla­tive tax-over­haul task force de­cided Tues­day to re-ad­ver­tise for con­sult­ing firms to as­sist it in its work, af­ter re­ceiv­ing only two pro­pos­als.

“We’re be­gin­ning to look at the re­sponses [to the re­quest for pro­pos­als, and] it looks like both of them are a lit­tle bit de­fi­cient on sub­mit­ting the re­quired in­for­ma­tion,” Jill Thayer, le­gal coun­sel to Bu­reau of Leg­isla­tive Re­search Di­rec­tor Marty Gar­rity, told the task force at its Tues­day meet­ing.

The task force needs a tax con­sul­tant to be able to an­swer ques­tions about de­tails of the tax over­hauls en­acted in states such as North Carolina and In­di­ana, the panel’s co- chair­man, Sen. Jim Hen­dren, R-Sul­phur Springs, said.

PFM Group Con­sult­ing LLC of Philadel­phia and WC Mitchell & As­so­ci­ates Inc. of North Lit­tle Rock were the only pro­pos­als re­ceived by the Bu­reau of Leg­isla­tive Re­search by Mon­day’s dead­line.

Hen­dren said the task force could con­sider the two com­pa­nies that sub­mit­ted pro­pos­als “even though they are some­what de­fi­cient,” or “we can can­cel the [re­quest for pro­pos­als] and ask for it to be let again, which would de­lay us for 30 days.

“I think right now the best thing to do is to can­cel it and be more dili­gent and ac­tive in pur­su­ing some other sub­mit­ters, so we get a big­ger pool to pull from and make sure that we get the best pos­si­ble rep­re­sen­ta­tion,” Hen­dren said.

The panel of 16 leg­is­la­tors ap­proved a mo­tion by Rep. Bob John­son, D-Jack­sonville, to can­cel the ini­tial re­quest for pro­pos­als.

Un­der state law, the Tax Re­form and Re­lief Task Force is re­quired to present a pre­lim­i­nary re­port by Dec. 1 and rec­om­mend leg­is­la­tion for the Gen­eral Assem­bly by Septem­ber of next year for en­act­ment in the 2019 leg­isla­tive ses­sion.

The De­cem­ber re­port can say, “We’re still work­ing, and we’ll get back to you,” Hen­dren said.

The Bu­reau of Leg­isla­tive Re­search plans to is­sue the new re­quest for pro­pos­als on Thurs­day, Thayer said.

The dead­line for com­pa­nies to sub­mit pro­pos­als will be Aug. 10 at 4:30 p.m.

Dur­ing its Aug. 31 meet­ing, the task force will de­cide which com­pa­nies will make pre­sen­ta­tions dur­ing its Sept. 7 meet­ing, said task force Co-Chair­man Rep. Lane Jean, R-Mag­no­lia.

The Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil will then de­cide which com­pany to hire, and it will con­sider the pro­posed con­tract with the com­pany on Sept. 15.

Hen­dren has said he hopes the con­sul­tant’s cost will be less than the roughly $2 mil­lion that it cost for a con­sul­tant for the Leg­is­la­ture’s health care task force be­cause “we are not talk­ing about some­thing that is nearly as com­pli­cated as fed­er­ally man­dated pro­grams like Med­i­caid and health care.”

The Tax Re­form and Re­lief Task Force was cre­ated un­der Acts 78 and 79 dur­ing this year’s reg­u­lar leg­isla­tive ses­sion.

The Leg­is­la­ture ap­proved Gov. Asa Hutchin­son’s plan to cut in­di­vid­ual in­come taxes for Arkansans with less than $21,000 in tax­able in­come ef­fec­tive Jan. 1, 2019. This plan is pro­jected to re­duce state gen­eral rev­enue by $25 mil­lion in fis­cal year 2019 and by $50 mil­lion each year there­after.

The task force was cre­ated af­ter leg­is­la­tors ap­proved two in­come tax cuts pro­moted by Hutchin­son in 2015 and this year af­fect­ing in­di­vid­u­als who earn up to $75,000 a year, though the one ap­proved this year won’t take ef­fect un­til 2019.

The 2015 tax cut was ex­pected to re­duce state rev­enue by $100 mil­lion in the fis­cal year ended June 30.

Some law­mak­ers fa­vor larger in­come tax cuts, par­tic­u­larly for Arkansans with more than $75,000 in tax­able in­come, and the task force was cre­ated in part be­cause of those con­cerns.

Hutchin­son, a Repub­li­can, has said he wants to con­tinue cut­ting in­di­vid­ual in­come tax rates.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.