Wallet Hub did a study to determine how much people “get their money’s worth” for their state and local taxes paid. That is, how much we get from taxes vs. how much we pay in taxes. The results could be viewed as how “efficient” our state and local governments are at turning tax revenues into government services such as highways. Conversely, they could be a function of how much graft and corruption is costing taxpayers. Arkansas was dead last in the rankings. That is to say, we get the very lowest return in the nation for our taxes paid.
Our taxes are among the worst in the nation. 40th out of 50 according to the chart. If we are in the bottom ten because our taxes are among the ten highest, you would expect that at least our government services would also be among the ten highest- if we pay a lot at least we should get a lot. Sadly, the reverse is true. We are 48th in government services provided. In spite of being in the top ten in what we pay to state and local government, we are in the bottom three in terms of what we get from state and local government.
The liberals at the Arkansas Times tried to make this a red/blue thing, implying that the problem was that we are now a red state. They could be a decent independent news organization if they were not so ridiculously dishonest about things like this. We have only been “red” a short while, and this study measured local governments too, many of which are still blue. This is not a red/blue problem in my view. The problem as I see it is that our present ruling class (red or blue makes no difference) is more rapacious in their looting of the populace compared to the ruling class of other states and/or our populace is more docile and willing to put up with being looted. Until one or both of those things change I don’t see it getting better.
Much of our low ranking comes from the poor return we get on highway dollars spent, yet the population recently voted to raise their own sales taxes to give the same highway commission system more money to inefficiently spend. The problem with “democracy” is that we get the government that the average voter deserves. Arkansans are familiar with the idea of repentance as a religious concept. It is essential to the Christian faith. Maybe it is time we “repented” of giving our consent to be governed by the folks that have brought us here and instead give someone new a chance so that we might leave a better Arkansas to our children.