Sen. Johnny Key sent a Twitter message without comment last night.
It’s a photo of a page from the Arkansas Truckers Association magazine and includes the statement that the Association will work to defeat any attempt to repeal the sales tax exemption on big rigs that they achieved in 2011 by deception.
Surely you remember how the $4 million total sales tax exemption — it was already capped at $600 on truck and trailer sales — was given with the understanding that truckers would help support a 5-cent-a-gallon diesel tax increase. The truckers reneged on support for the tax after the deal was approved by the legislature and so the diesel increase wasn’t put on the ballot. But the truckers successfully resisted a movement to take back their sales tax exemption.
Oh, sure. Lane Kidd, the head of the truckers association, says truckers support “reasonable” increases in the diesel tax. He says this in full understanding that the Arkansas legislature, particularly with rising Republican influence, will shield them from any diesel tax increases just as it shielded them from the deserved take-back of the sales tax break. And, oh sure. The truckers say fuel taxes, or “user fees,” are the only fair way to pay for highway work, not a general sales tax. I bet the truckers won’t be spending any money in ads to defeat the general sales tax for highways on the November election ballot, however. You can trust the truckers on this just about as much as you could trust them on the deal to trade a diesel increase for a sales tax exemption.