Featured Articles

Three Budget Alternatives: 2011-2013 Biennium

(December 2010) Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has called on tax cut proponents to identify spending cuts. But spending cuts are not required to cut income, capital gains or grocery tax rates.


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(November 2010)

Taxes were raised in 1983 and, again, in 2004 with the following result: Arkansas ranked 47th, 48th or 49th nationally in per capita income, with a level 75 to 78 percent of the U.S. thru 2006. In sum, income improved by three-hundredths in nearly a quarter-century.

This is the sad economic record defended by tax increase proponents, and it's time they were called on it. Their policies ate the seed, and caused capital, jobs and paychecks to flee Arkansas. The long-suffering people of Arkansas deserve better.


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Phase-Out The Grocery Tax

Reductions in the grocery tax are one factor in Arkansas' recent improvement in per capita personal income from 48th to 44th in the U.S. But there is another compelling reason to phase-out the grocery tax: it is an immoral tax that falls disproportionately on the weakest members of civil society.


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Reduce State Income Tax Rates

Current Arkansas policy punishes middle-class households. They pay the top 7 % income tax rate, the highest among states that border Arkansas. Middle-class households in Arkansas should not be punished for living on the wrong side of the state line. Arkansas state income tax rates should be reduced over a multi-year period.


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Reduce Capital Gains Taxes

How weak is the current Arkansas jobs market? The recession officially ended in June 2009 but the number of employed Arkansans is less than December 2007 when it started. In fact, Arkansas nonfarm payroll employment has declined to 2004 levels, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


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Use Dynamic Analysis in Revenue Estimation

Dynamic analysis is an attempt to measure the full impact of fiscal policy revisions, including tax proposals, on revenue estimates. It can also provide legislators with more information when considering fiscal proposals. One example is the 2008 increase in the severance tax.


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Cut Spending

Arkansas government is like the kudzu plant. It grows when the Arkansas private economy is contracting. It grows when the private economy is expanding. Through rain or shine Arkansas government grows, advancing policies that interfere with private sector entrepreneurs, job creation and income growth.


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Remove the Cap on Charter Schools

The Policy Foundation, since its founding in 1995, has championed charter schools as an education reform. APF analysts Allyson Tucker and Donna Watson, in a 1996 study, noted Arkansas had a weak charter school law. "Charter schools," they wrote, "are increasingly championed on both sides of the political fence and few political leaders have been more vocal about their promise than President (Bill) Clinton."


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Merge Service Co-Ops Into One Unit

Much of the debate about K-12 consolidation revolved around the student enrollment threshold to be used as criteria for closing districts. Gov. Huckabee proposed a 1,500 threshold and some legislators suggested a lower number before 350 students was decided upon in PA 60 of the 2nd Extraordinary Session of 2003. A similar debate about the educational co-ops did not occur.


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Expand The Virtual Academy

Distance learning has been part of K-12 virtual education efforts in Arkansas since the mid-1990s. But obstacles to virtual education exist. There is inadequate access to virtual education for students. K-8 enrollment statewide is capped at 500 students. Children with inadequate access to virtual education include those with medical conditions.


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Medical Insurance

The new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a burden on Arkansas taxpayers, though executive branch officials are in denial about its budget exposure. Legislators should understand nationalized medical insurance includes "a deceptive funding mechanism" for added benefits.


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Ethics Reform

The Policy Foundation's interest in ethics reform dates to 1998 when it made recommendations to prevent double-dipping in terms of compensation. All lobbyist expenditures should be reported and disclosed to taxpayers. A searchable check register of state expenditures should be established.


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Mission Statement

The Arkansas Policy Foundation is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that analyzes the impact of public policy on Arkansas and makes recommendations.

The Foundation emphasizes the importance of tax policy and education reform.

Principles of tax policy: Arkansas would benefit from comprehensive, pro-growth reform; Arkansans are not under-taxed; taxes and rates do matter to entrepreneurs; dynamic scoring of tax changes and effects provides benefits.

Education reform: The Foundation seeks intellectual honesty and complete openness in reporting the lack of academic progress in Arkansas' school system.

The Foundation encourages citizenship.

Recent Articles

Three Ways to Cut the Arkansas Capital Gains Tax

(October 2010) Arkansas Republicans are poised to increase their numbers at the state Capitol next month, which means capital gains taxes are likely to emerge as an issue when the 88th General Assembly meets in January 2011.


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Reply to Gov. Beebe on Fiscal Policy

(September 2010) No one can dispute that Gov. Mike Beebe has enacted the largest tax cut in Arkansas history. But Gov. Beebe raises a strawman argument when he associates prisoner releases and teacher firings with a reduction in the state income tax, including capital gains. Modest revenue reductions should be accepted for a greater good: jobs for Arkansans struggling to find honest work after the worst recession since the Depression.


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NBER Confirms Policy Foundation Finding Recession Ended in 2009

(September 20, 2010) A panel of top economists announced today the U.S. recession ended in June 2009, a finding reached by the Foundation in a research memo (November) and op-ed (December) published late last year.


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Persistently High Unemployment

(August 2010) The federal Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act (1978), also known as ‘Humphrey-Hawkins’ assigned a target unemployment rate of 4.0 percent for individuals age 16 and older. The Arkansas unemployment rate, at 7.5 percent (June) is nearly double that amount, and has been greater than 7.0 percent since March 2009, a 17-month period.


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‘A’Districts in Foundation Studies Have Fewer Discipline Incidents Than Pulaski Schools

(August 2010) Five 'A'-rated Arkansas school districts in four Policy Foundation studies have fewer discipline incidents, with one exception than three in Pulaski County (little Rock, North Little Rock and the Pulaski County Special School District).


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Little Rock School Discipline

(July 2010) Little Rock charter schools reported no discipline incidents but 26 of 34 local traditional public schools reported weapons incidents, staff assaults or student assaults, according to a Policy Foundation review of 2009 Arkansas School Performance Report cards.

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Policy Foundation to Host July 30 Event

(July 2010) The Policy Foundation will host a July 30 event honoring the late Dr. Milton Friedman (1912-2006), the 1976 Nobel Laureate in Economics and a proponent of educational choice.

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One Hidden Cost of ObamaCare

(June 2010) Arkansas small businesses face increased red tape as the result of a little-noticed provision in Obamacare that requires them to file a 1099 tax form with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each time they make total annual purchases of $600 or more from any individual or corporation.


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Twitter: The Policy Foundation's Virtual Education Event

(May 2010) tweeted the Policy Foundation's virtual education conference at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock to a national audience. Read more at

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The Information Economy In Arkansas
Obstacles And Opportunity

(April 30, 2010)
(OBSTACLES) States in the Southeast region provide more knowledge than Arkansas when measuring and reporting to markets on their Information sectors. Students in Arkansas have inadequate access to virtual education. Enrollment at the K-8 level is capped at 500 students statewide, and children with inadequate access include those with medical conditions.

(OPPORTUNITY) More information should be provided to potential employers about the Telecommunications component of Arkansas' Information sector. The statewide cap should be repealed as part of an effort to market the Telecommunications component of Arkansas' Information sector to world markets.

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Policy Foundation To Host Virtual Education Conference May 4 At Clinton Presidential Center

(April 2010)
The Policy Foundation is hosting a one-day conference on virtual education on May 4 at the Clinton Presidential Center in downtown Little Rock. There is no charge to attend the conference, and lunch will be provided to participants who register with the Policy Foundation prior to the event, which will take place between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

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Former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, keynote speaker at the Policy Foundation's May 4 conference examines the online learning imperative in the following paper. Mr. Wise is President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington-based group that supports education reform.

New Arkansas Medicaid Director To Speak At Policy Foundation Luncheon April 6

(March 2010)
New Arkansas Medicaid Director Gene Gessow will be the Policy Foundation's guest at an April 6 luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at Frankie's restaurant in downtown Little Rock. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Region's Bank Building at the corner of Broadway and Capitol.

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How Do We Transform Our Schools?

A Harvard professor and education expert examine technology in education.

"The current commercial system in education moves through five steps: 1) the writing of concepts in textbooks, 2) the adoption decisions by districts and states, 3) the delivery of the content by teachers, 4) some individual help from teachers, and 5) assessment."

Government: Arkansas' Largest Labor Market Sector

(February 2010)
Government will emerge as Arkansas' largest labor market sector this decade if two long-term employment trends continue to advance.

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Public Option Failure Means Medical Care Issue Shifts To State Level

(January 21, 2010)
The public (government) option that served as the basis for various congressional proposals failed for several reasons including grass-roots opposition from taxpayers sympathetic to the Tea Party movement. The group raises the legitimate concern that increased federal medical spending will add to record budget deficits and further deterioration in the U.S. fiscal position.

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Arkansas Employment at 2004 Levels

“The long-suffering people of Arkansas deserve policies that create a vast, stable and prosperous middle class, not ideas that create more poverty. They deserve the opportunity to achieve the American dream through good-paying private sector jobs that provide upward mobility.” Policy Foundation, ‘Road Map for Arkansas Prosperity’ (December 2008)


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Governor Mike Beebe Governor Mike Huckabee

Looking For Archived Policy Research?


Socialism Doesn't Work

Friedrich A. Hayek taught at the Univ. of Arkansas-Fayetteville in the early 1950s. He was awarded the 1974 Nobel Prize in Economics. His insight? Socialism doesn't work due to the lack of a price system.

Recent Policy Foundation Media Highlights

"Official end to recession declared, but Arkansans still uncertain"

Talk Business

September 21, 2010


"NBER: U.S. recession ended June 2009"

City Wire

September 20, 2010


"Answering the call on jobs, says Beebe"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

September 5, 2010


"Scarce equity capital means fewer jobs"

Investors' Business Daily

September 2, 2010


"Arkansas Unemployment In July Falls to 7.4%"

Talk Business

August 20, 2010


"Study: Better Schools Have Fewer Discipline Problems"

Times Record (Fort Smith)

August 18, 2010


"Get A Government Job"

Arkansas Trucking Report

August 2010


"State jobless rate falls to 7.5% in June"

City Wire (Fort Smith)

July 20, 2010


"Economy watchers say 'double-dip

recession' unlikely"

City Wire (Fort Smith)

July 15, 2010


"Fort Smith metro jobless rate drops below 8%"

City Wire (Fort Smith)

June 2, 2010


"State roads meeting draws few"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

May 20, 2010


"Most Arkansans don't think economy

is on the right track"

Russellville Courier

May 8, 2010


"Poll: Economy Rough,

Most Arkansans Don't

Like Steps Taken By Obama"

Times-Record (Fort Smith)

May 8, 2010


"State Roads Meeting Draws Few"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
May 20, 2010

"Speaker Sees Education 'Crisis'"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
May 5, 2010

"Area at top of new PCPI list"
El Dorado News-Times
May 3, 2010

"Virtual Ed Enrollment Cap Faces Greater Scrutiny"
Education Week
April 28, 2010

"Conference keys on Virtual Education"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
April 25, 2010

"Deconstructing neo-liberal ideas"
Washington Times
March 30, 2010

"State's 7.7% jobless rate highest since June 1988"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Northwest Arkansas Times
Benton County Daily Record
March 27, 2010

"'09 personal income in state down 0.2%"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Northwest Arkansas Times
Benton County Daily Record
March 26, 2010

"Some relevant reading"
Mike Masterson column
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Northwest Arkansas Times
Benton County Daily Record
March 14, 2010

"Growing Government Employment"
Talk Business
March 12, 2010

"Poll: Arkansans think economy
headed in wrong direction"
Log Cabin Democrat (Conway)
Times-Record (Fort Smith)
Commercial (Pine Bluff)
Courier (Russellville)
January 24, 2010

"Best Books '09"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Benton County Daily Record
Northwest Arkansas Times
Herald-Leader (Siloam Springs)
December 20, 2009

"State's jobless rate dips to 7.4%"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Benton County Daily Record
Northwest Arkansas Times
Herald-Leader (Siloam Springs)
December 19, 2009

"State Job Outlooks At Odds"
Times Record (Fort Smith)
December 15, 2009

"Great Recession R.I.P."
Arkansas Business Weekly
December 14, 2009

"Cap and Trade"
South Arkansas Sunday News (Camden)
December 13, 2009

"Study: 'Cap-and-Trade' will lead to thousands fewer jobs in state"
El Dorado News-Times
December 11, 2009

"State 46th in personal income"
Cabot Star-Herald
Carlisle Independent
Jacksonville Star-Herald
Lonoke Democrat
Maumelle Monitor
North Little Rock Times
Sherwood Voice
November 11, 2009

"We're No. 46!"
Arkansas News Bureau
John Brummett column column
Daily Citizen (Searcy), Times Record (Fort Smith), Benton County Daily Record (Bentonville)
Nov. 8, 2009

"Arkansas Personal Income Rises To No. 46"
Talk Business
Nov. 2, 2009

"Plenty of blame"
Commercial (Pine Bluff)
Sept. 12, 2009

"Group grades Paris a B and Scranton an A"
Express-Progress (Paris)

"Mountainburg schools score A"
Journal (Alma)
Sept. 9, 2009

"Tests point out need to do better"
Commercial (Pine Bluff)
Sept. 8, 2009

"The darkest hour is before dawn"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Sept. 6, 2009

"Mountainburg scores at top: District one of only 17 in state to get an A"
Press Argus-Courier (Van Buren)
Sept. 5, 2009

"Salem schools receive A-"
News (Salem)

"Arkansas Policy Foundation issues public school rankings"
News (Nashville)
Sept. 3, 2009

"School Gets B Grade"
Democrat (Booneville)

"School District Ratings Reported"
Spectator (Ozark)

"Report is given little credibility by educators"
Clarion (Dumas)

"Lake Hamilton betters '08 scores"
Sentinel-Record (Hot Springs)
Sept. 2, 2009

"School district receives 'B' grade"
Daily Siftings-Herald (Arkadelphia)
Sept. 1, 2009

"Other ABCs of education"
Sentinel-Record (Hot Springs)

"An Agenda for Schools"
Pine Bluff Commercial

"Study bestows Star City Schools with 'B' grade"
Lincoln American (Star City)

"HSD receives 'F' on recent study"
Eagle Democrat (Warren)

"Hamburg Gets C, Crosset Gets D In Grades
by Arkansas Policy Foundation"
Ashley County Ledger (Hamburg)

"H-WH's public education sinkhole must be plugged"
Daily World (Helena)

"Foundation gives D-minus to LCSD for academics"
Courier-Index (Marianna)

"Mena schools earn 'A' grade with test results for 2007-08 school year"
Star (Mena)
August 27, 2009

"Making the Grade"
News-Times (El Dorado)

"BELOW AVERAGE: Area School Districts Graded"
Pine Bluff Commercial

"Policy group gives Fayetteville schools an A"
Northwest Arkansas Times

"Bismarck School District gets an 'A'"
Daily Record (Malvern)

"School Districts Rate High"
Times Record (Fort Smith)

"Pottsville school officials like rating"
Chronicle (Atkins)
August 26, 2009

"Policy group says Bryant deserves 'A' for schools"
Benton Courier

"Foundation grades Arkansas schools"
Jonesboro Sun

"Area school district gets top rating"
News-Times (El Dorado)

"Forrest City, Hughes get failing grades from foundation"
Times-Herald (Forrest City)

"Foundation gives the H-WH School District a failing grade"
Daily World (Helena)

"Foundation gives 17 A's, Nine F's to districts"
Morning News (Fayetteville)

"Foundation gives F's to 9 school districts"
Gazette (Texarkana)

"Conway School District gets an A for 3rd year"
Log Cabin Democrat (Conway)
August 25, 2009

"Foundation gives F's to 9 Arkansas systems, A's to 17"
Daily Siftings Herald (Arkadelphia)
Daily Guard (Batesville)
Sentinel-Record (Hot Springs)
August 24, 2009

"Report: 9 schools in state get an F, advocates overhaul"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Benton County Daily Record
Northwest Arkansas Times
Herald-Leader (Siloam Springs)
August 23, 2009

"Everyday Job Growth, Wal-Mart Style"
Investors' Business Daily
July 2, 2009
Read online: Click here.

"Arkansas Firms Find Roots In A Recession"
Talk Business
June 3, 2009
Read online: Click here.

"Starting Up In An Economic Downturn"
David Sanders column
Arkansas News Bureau
June 3, 2009
Read online: Click here.

"Silver Lining Dept."
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Northwest Arkansas Times
May 21, 2009

"Schools Thinking Outside The Box"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
May 17, 2009

"Gravy Train"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Northwest Arkansas Times
May 14, 2009

"Economist: Bailouts won't help struggling economy"
Associated Press
April 16, 2009
KATV-7   Little Rock
KTHV-11   Little Rock
KLRT-16   Little Rock

"Ex-Fed official Poole plans talk at Hendrix"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
April 9, 2009

"Despite Layoffs & Recession, Wal-Mart Adds Jobs"
Talk Business
March 5, 2009

"Worst Recession Since ...?"
February 2009

"Sixth Sense"
Talk Business Quarterly
Q1 2009

"A Home Is for Living, Not for Flipping"
January 2009

"Recession A Year Old, Bureau Says. Economists Confirm Its 2007 Start"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Northwest Arkansas Times
December 2, 2008

"Economist Claims Nation In Recession"
Fayetteville Morning News
May 17, 2008

Policy Accomplishments

Following is a list of policy accomplishments recorded by the Arkansas Policy Foundation in its 15-year history as a market-based think tank: Click Here.

Arkansas Policy Blog

Click here to view the Arkansas Policy Blog.

Making A Difference In Arkansas

The Arkansas Council on Economic Education (ACEE) is a private, non-profit, non-partisan, educational organization founded in 1962 to promote economic literacy in Arkansas.

Peer-Reviewed Research

The Arkansas Policy Foundation is an educational organization that regularly submits its research to scholarly journals that use a peer review process.

Journal Publications

"Wolverines, Razorbacks and Skyscrapers"

Transaction Periodicals Consortium,

Rutgers University

Forthcoming (Fall 2010)

'Regulation of financial derivatives in the U.S. code'
Derivatives Use, Trading and Regulation
(London, U.K.) Palgrave Macmillian Ltd.
February 2006
Read Online

'Deflation & Economic Growth'
(Piscataway, N.J.) Transaction Periodicals Consortium, Rutgers University
Summer 2006

Policy Foundation research on this topic cited by Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe (Opinion No. 2005-291)

'A review of state statutes regulating financial derivatives in the USA'
Pensions, an International Journal
(London, U.K.) Palgrave Macmillian Ltd.
Read Online

Non-Profit Resources