The Yellowhammer State is predicted to have record tax revenue for the Education Trust Fund (ETF) at the end of fiscal year 2022 in September.
After July, the ETF had $9.7 billion in available funds, which is already well above its total yearly obligations of $9 billion.
Wednesday, on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program,” State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) suggested that the excess ETF funds should be utilized for tax rebates.
“I just think it’s important,” Orr said, ” that we in office today … we have got to show restraint and send the money back to the people from whence it came, and not say, ‘Oh, how can we spend these new found dollars?’ People are struggling and it’s hitting everybody, no one’s immune, but send it back to the people and let them help make up the cost of inflation that they’re having to grapple with these days.”
In terms of how the rebates would be given out, the state senator advised that some of the details would still have to be hashed out.
“I think to be significant, it needs to be hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. “There are a lot of different forks in the road that we’ve got to determine who the recipients will be, but we certainly want to help those that are struggling and those who have contributed to the income tax [deposits] at the state level.”
He also argued that rebates should only be a first step and that the legislature should also consider permanently cutting state tax rates.
“[T]here may be other legislators that have additional ideas,” he added. “It’s not according to how I see things. There are other good ideas. We cut business taxes this last legislative session, we may want to revisit that. We may want to look at the individual income tax rate and see if we can reduce that … I think it’s rebates-plus, and plus being tax cuts that would be permanent like we did in the 2022 session.”
Orr reiterated that there was always a temptation in the legislature to find ways to spend extra revenue on more government programs. Orr indicated that he wants to prevent that from occurring this time around.
“If I’ve learned one thing from being in elected office … it’s that government never has enough,” he exclaimed. “There’s always something more – ‘If we only had this, things would be better,’ and that’s on the education side certainly and that’s on the operations side. We talked about prisons, we talked about mental health, etc. There’s just a never-ending hunger for more taxpayer dollars. I likened it to feeding the beast and the beast is never sated.”
Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” Weekdays 9-11am on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee
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