Five firms apply for tax adviser
Bureau of Legislative Research to study bids for contract
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.