Five firms ap­ply for tax ad­viser

Bureau of Leg­isla­tive Re­search to study bids for con­tract

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

Five com­pa­nies are seek­ing a con­tract with the Bureau of Leg­isla­tive Re­search to be its tax con­sul­tant to the Leg­is­la­ture’s tax-over­haul task force.

WC Mitchell Tax and Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices of North Lit­tle Rock; BKD LLP of Lit­tle Rock; Postleth­waite & Net­ter­ville of Ba­ton Rouge; PFM Group Con­sult­ing LLC of Philadel­phia; and Quar­les & Brady LLP of Wash­ing­ton, D.C., each sub­mit­ted pro­pos­als by Thurs­day’s 4:30 p.m. dead­line, said Jill Thayer, le­gal coun­sel to Bureau of Leg­isla­tive Re­search Di­rec­tor Marty Gar­rity.

The bureau’s staff will now re­view the pro­pos­als sub­mit­ted by these con­sul­tants to help de­ter­mine whether they are qual­i­fied, task force co-chair­man Rep. Lane Jean, R-Mag­no­lia, said Thurs­day night.

Last month, only two con­sul­tants — PFM and WC Mitchell — sub­mit­ted bids for the task force con­tract. Ex­press­ing dis­ap­point­ment, the panel of leg­is­la­tors de­cided to re-ad­ver­tise the job.

“I’m more en­cour­aged af­ter we got five,” Jean said Thurs­day.

The task force’s next meet­ing is sched­uled for Aug. 31.

Jean has said the task force would de­cide at that meet­ing which com­pa­nies will make pre­sen­ta­tions to the panel’s Sept. 7 meet­ing.

At the Septem­ber meet­ing, the task force is ex­pected rec­om­mend to the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil which con­sul­tant should be hired. The coun­cil is ex­pected to con­sider that rec­om­men­da­tion dur­ing its Sept. 15 meet­ing.

Last month, task force Co-Chair­man Sen. Jim Hen­dren, R-Sul­phur Springs, said the law­mak­ers need a tax con­sul­tant to be able to an­swer ques­tions about the tax over­hauls in states such as

At the Septem­ber meet­ing, the task force is ex­pected rec­om­mend to the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil which con­sul­tant should be hired.

North Carolina and In­di­ana.

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

The De­cem­ber re­port can in­di­cate that the task force is still work­ing and that “we’ll get back to you,” Hen­dren said last month.

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.

The 16-mem­ber Tax Re­form and Re­lief Task Force was cre­ated un­der Acts 78 and 79 dur­ing this year’s reg­u­lar ses­sion.

This year, the Leg­is­la­ture also ap­proved Repub­li­can 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 about $25 mil­lion in fis­cal year 2019 and then by $50 mil­lion each year there­after.

In 2015, the Leg­is­la­ture en­acted Hutchin­son’s plan to cut in­di­vid­ual in­come tax rates for Arkansans with tax­able in­come be­tween $21,000 and $75,000. That tax cut was ex­pected to re­duce state gen­eral rev­enue by $100 mil­lion a year in fis­cal 2017 that ended June 30 and there­after.

The task force was cre­ated in part be­cause some law­mak­ers fa­vor larger in­come tax cuts, par­tic­u­larly for Arkansans with more than $75,000 in tax­able in­come.

Hutchin­son has said he wants to con­tinue cut­ting in­di­vid­ual in­come tax rates in the fu­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.