The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee took up Sen. Gilbert Baker’s proposed used car sales tax reduction this morning. Beforehand, Roby Brock Twittered that the Association of Arkansas Counties had said it would oppose ALL tax cuts this session.
I feel some of the counties’ pain on this. But one tax — or two or three — will be cut this session. Limiting the damage to ongoing programs is the best hope. (I hope Pulaski County — with its multiple employee pay raises and bonuses; the new furniture heading into county administrative offices the other day, and otherwise bulging sales tax receipts —isn’t leading the charge on the no-tax-cut posse. Wouldn’t be prudent.)
UPDATE: The Senate committee today endorsed 1) the governor’s half-cent reduction on the sales tax on groceries; 2) the tax cut on utility bills for manufacturers (no, silly, not for home utility bills); 3) the used vehicle sales tax reduction, which raises the exemption from $2,5000 to $5,000.
Is that it for the Senate, you think? Does this indicate the question eventually will be whether the governor and Senate get the grocery tax reduction or the House and the economic illiterates get the capital gains tax cut for the wealthy and no grocery tax reduction for working stiffs? In years past, you’d have bet on Mike Beebe. In 2012 A.A.O. (Arkansas after Obama), nothing is certain.
ALSO: Further reporting from Roby Brock indicates that the utility tax break as written by Senate sponsor Bill Sample is an even bigger break for big users of natural gas, a break that could cost $20 million a year.
UPDATE II: Gov. Beebe will work with the Senate slate of bills. He says the capital gains cut remains unacceptable (no kidding). I hope that means a closer look at that utility tax cut for manufacturers with the unexpected big cost. So does the House accept that slate or reject it? Hmmm.