Last week, the entire Arkansas congressional delegation voted for a tax bill that rewards corporations on the backs of working class families. They voted for a bill that will explode the federal deficit in order to give massive tax breaks to the wealthiest of the wealthy. They voted for a bill that according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center will cause over a quarter of American households to see their taxes go up by 2027. They voted for a bill that will hurt Arkansas families.
The mega-rich in this state aren’t hurting. Our state’s working class families are hurting, and it’s time we sit up and pay attention. History shows that the only way to effectively grow the economy is from the middle out and bottom up – yet our legislators voted for a plan that adds trillions to the national debt just to give tax breaks to the donor class. Arkansas needs meaningful legislation that benefits real people and not corporations and multi-millionaires. We deserve representatives who care about people, not profits.
Research shows that trickle down economics does not improve the lives of working class families. One thing it does do effectively, however, is continue the vicious cycle of income inequality and cyclical poverty that plagues our state and states all over the country. The only way to grow the economy and make a real difference in people’s lives is by helping the people who need it – like the single mom working two jobs and taking night classes at the local community college who dreams that one day she’ll be able to afford a home with a backyard and a dog for her two kids. Yet instead our legislators slash taxes for the wealthiest of the wealthy while our state’s residents struggle to put food on the table and pay for the prescription medications their kids need.
Arkansas is ranked 44th in the nation for poverty rates with more than 17% of our state’s residents living at or below the poverty line, according to U.S. News and World Report. We are 49th in terms of wages with a median household income of only $44,300. Poverty is particularly prevalent in Garland County, affecting 1 out of every 4 children and seniors. But under the tax plan that our representatives voted for, 11 million American families will see tax increases of up to $1,000, according to the Tax Policy Center. The stark reality is that Arkansas families can’t afford it.
My husband and I are educators and are not independently wealthy; we’re hardworking Arkansans just like our friends, neighbors, and colleagues. And just like our family and friends across this state, we worry about the increases in cost of living and how we’ll continue to save money for our daughter’s college education. What it comes down to is that the solution to the problems of poverty, healthcare, and income inequality doesn’t come in the form of cutting taxes for the wealthy. The only proven solution that works is to make serious investments in working class families – yet our representatives have chosen to reward corporations and ignore the real problems facing our residents.
It’s time to elect legislators who truly care about the people they represent. We deserve representatives who listen to their constituents and will propose real solutions to the problems facing Arkansas families. We deserve legislators who will make meaningful strides to invest in educational opportunities for our people, drive down the costs of prescription medications, and ensure that our people have jobs they can count on and income they can live on. And we can’t afford to wait.
Our people are hurting, and we need legislators who are focused on helping Arkansas families achieve more, do more, and be more. The time is now.
After all – it’s our tomorrow.