Southern Legislators Advised to Revise Tax Codes

AUGUST 16, 2004 - Posted at 5:02 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A Tennessee economist said today that reforming tax codes in good times could give states a hedge on tough economic times to come.

He said a state tax system can be best overhauled by broadening the tax base to include services and avoiding major concessions and exemptions.  University of Tennessee economist professor William Fox said states could also join other states in the Streamline Sales Tax Project for uniform definitions and tax rates for taxable goods.

Fox spoke today to delegates at the Southern Legislative Conference meeting in Little Rock.

Fox said raising taxes isn't an option because it's not a reform.  But several states, including Arkansas, have raised taxes in recent years to boost state revenue in recessionary times.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)