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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Taxes on Senate agenda today UPDATE

Posted By on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Tax breaks are on the Senate agenda today — to exempt more from the used car sales tax, to give a huger-than-dreamed tax break on manufacturers' gas and electric bills and to reduce the sales tax on groceries a half-cent.

I'm surprised by how little attention is given to the Senate giveaway to electric utilties. The enormous windfall of a removal of the sales tax on gas used in generating power won't create a single job in Arkansas or spur a single dollar of investment here, but it will make the generation of merchant power still more profitable (and much of the power will go out of state). And the profits will go mostly to out-of-state owners. Crazy. It is particularly crazy because the added cost of that giveaway might make unaffordable a pending proposal to increase the income tax exemption for working single moms.

Increasing profits for the owners of a gas-fired power plant vs improving the life of a working mother? Easy choice for the Arkansas legislature.

The House opened the day by defeating the House bill to require backseat passengers to wear a seatbelt.

UPDATE: Senate approves all three tax breaks: on manufacturers' utilities (again, no, not your utilities); used cars and groceries. Now who blinks, House or Senate? I don't think Senate will pass Rep. Ed Garner's doodoo economics capital gains tax exemption. But the House, in retribution, might reject Sen. Gilbert Baker's used car tax reduction. Or maybe the House will deal a new tax-cut card.

NOTED: These senators didn't support the big giveaway on gas bills for manufacturers: (VOTING NO) Crumbly, Elliott, Hendren, D. Johnson, Laverty, Madison, Salmon, Whitaker and D. Wyatt. (NOT VOTING) G. Jeffress, Luker and P. Malone.

Hold your applause on Hendren. He wanted an even bigger exclusion for chicken growers.

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