Matt Boch and Mike Parker Comment on Arkansas’ 2018 Tax Outlook and Reform

In its 2018 Arkansas legislative preview, Bloomberg Tax looked to partner Matt Boch in the article, “ Arkansas Legislative Preview: Gauging Impact of Federal Tax Law.” 

When President Donald Trump signed the $1.5 trillion tax bill into law in December, Boch said he sees the federal tax reform as “raising questions while the Arkansas Tax Reform Task Force grapples in 2018 with how to fix the Arkansas tax system.”

The tax overhaul allows taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 of property taxes, and state and local income or sales taxes. Boch said he thinks there will be more people who are facing the full marginal burden of Arkansas’s income tax rate, which could increase the pressure to cut income tax rates.

He said efforts to “mimic recent federal tax changes could be in the pipeline.”

Earlier this week, the Arkansas Tax Reform Task Force terminated its contract with outside consultants PFM Group, which was hired in September 2017 to assess the state’s tax system.  

Partner Mike Parker provided comment to Bloomberg Tax on the Task Force’s move to bring efforts in-house in an effort to save money in the article, "Arkansas Tax Reform Body Nixes Consulting Agency’s Contract." Parker said he thought PFM Group had “done a good job.” He added the internal resources task force co-chair Sen. Jim Hendren (R) pointed to are the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research, the Department of Finance and Administration and ‘‘other groups that the task force would ask to come and make presentations.’’

Boch added in the article, “Arkansas Tax Reform Approach Changing After Consultant Nixed,” that PFM’s absence is a potential loss of policy recommendations. He thinks there was an “expectation that PFM was at some point going to make policy recommendations—to move from just educating members to making recommendations,’’ but imagines that would have taken a few months to transition. Now with PFM gone, “there’s no expert report in the pipeline.”

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