AR-House Dist. 41: Oh, Now I Get It

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After writing the previous post about Ed Garner’s HB 1002, I started to wonder why, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, Garner was so hell-bent on repealing the tax. I mean, I’m not the only one saying this stuff. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Family offered a similar take on the bill:

Cutting Arkansas’ already generous capital gains taxes would benefit only the super wealthy, with three quarters of the tax break going to the top 1 percent of taxpayers, according to an analysis by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.

Taxpayers making more than $352,000 a year would pay on average $7,142 less per year in taxes if capital gains taxes were eliminated in Arkansas. That compares to a tax break of $2 per year for middle-income workers.

If it really only benefits the top one percent of taxpayers, why should Garner fight so hard for it, right? It didn’t make a ton of sense.

Until I looked at his campaign contribution and expenditure reports, that is. Then it became pretty obvious.

Across all three primaries and all three House races, Garner has received the following:

  • Stephens Investments Holdings, LLC: $5,798.98 (incl. $798.98 in non-cash expenditures)
  • The Stephens Group: $2,500
  • J.T. Stephens, Jr.: $3,000
  • Warren Stephens: $2,000
  • Stephens Employee Matt Deuschle: $500
  • Stephens Employee David Knight: $250
  • Wal-Mart: $500
  • Jim Walton: $800
  • WAL-PAC: $500

While not dispositive (because it’s entirely possible that Garner is just completely ignorant of economic reality), this list suggests pretty strongly that Garner wants to cut the tax not despite how few people it benefits, but precisely because of who those few people are.  You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, and we’ll let the rest of the people have itchy backs because we just don’t care.