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Arkansas Labor Unions Urge Policy Changes

Labor unions and their supporters are encouraging Arkansas legislators and federal lawmakers to close policy loopholes they say favor corporate interests over small businesses and workers’ rights.

A report released by the Economic Policy Institute and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, shows changes in the tax code could result in a fairer system that strengthens economic growth.

Jim Nickels represents an AFSCME Council in Arkansas.

“We are calling for three simple initiatives: closing corporate tax loopholes, making Wall Street bankers pay a small transaction fee on trades, and making millionaires pay the same tax rate as the rest of us,” said Nickels “If we invest revenues from those aforementioned changes, then we can create over 33,000 jobs in Arkansas and more than three million across America.”

Nickels say the report's findings also show a continuing double standard that negatively impacts small businesses.

“There is a family-owned three-generation tire shop operation in central Arkansas called Sherwood Tire. When they sell a set of tires and make a few hundred bucks it's subject to state income tax,” Nickels said. “However, when Pep Boys or Walmart sells a set of tires they are able to ship their profits on that set of tires out of state.”

Nickels says his organization and others are supporting the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act in Congress that would raise about 220 billion in revenue over 10 years and hold accountable corporations that ship jobs overseas.

He admits working families need policymakers to level the playing-field and lay the groundwork for a fair tax system that helps the middle class and small businesses keep more of what they earn.

Malcolm Glover was a news anchor/ reporter for KUAR News from 2007- 2014.