House defeats corporate welfare amendment | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 31, 2011

House defeats corporate welfare amendment

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Shazam. The House defeated a corporate welfare constitutional amendment by a 19-65 vote. Opponents included an unlikely pairing of Republicans with Democratic Rep. Jim Nickels, a tribune for the working man.

The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Jake Files and approved by the Senate, would have allowed development districts to be set up to capture local sales taxes to help pay for hotel, retail and entertainment projects. These schemes have proved of little worth around the country — a string of ailing shopping centers built around heavily subsidized Bass Pro Shops is a good example. Nickels noted the proposal allowed imposition of sales taxes without a vote of the people to help build businesses that will mostly employ minimum wage workers. That isn't economic development, he observed.

I think this means the legislature will send only one constitutional amendments to the 2012 ballot — dedicating a half-cent sales tax to highway construction.

UPDATE: But .... it will take a suspension of House rules, but there's talk that there will be an effort to expunge today's vote tomorrow and pass the amendment. That would require a powerful amount of vote swapping, but this could be one of things where the House is obligated to pass a Senate amendment because the Senate passed the House constitutional amendment. That would be too bad. This is a very bad amendment.

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