Truck tax break repeal on agenda; expect nuttiness | Arkansas Blog

Friday, February 10, 2012

Truck tax break repeal on agenda; expect nuttiness

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 7:19 AM

Legislation was filed yesterday, supported by legislative leadership, to repeal a sales tax break for big trucks and trailers approved in 2011. It was to take effect July 1 as compensation for voter approval of a 5-cent-a-gallon increase in the diesel tax to pay for a highway bond program.

TRUCKERS FRIEND: Nate Bell.
  • TRUCKERS' FRIEND: Nate Bell.
The diesel tax election was scrapped because of expected defeat. The truck lobby for a moment thought it should keep its tax break anyway, but quickly realized the untenability of that position and said it agreed that the sales tax exemption should not be put in effect. In a state already leaking from money shortages, it is the right thing to do. This is apart from the lack of wisdom in giving another tax break to a cosseted industry that already causes more damage to highways than it pays for.

Here's a potential rub: Rep. Nate Bell, the Republican who has compared Democrats to Nazis for legislation introduced for the public good (restrictions on cell phone use in school zones, for example), has declared on Twitter that he will not support this "tax increase." It is dishonest, close to a lie, to say this bill is a tax increase. It will prevent implementation of a tax break that has not taken effect. It was a break that was to be given in return for a diesel increase. What Bell is really saying is that he favors a further tax cut for people tearing up our roads. It is the best example yet of the folly of the Republican notion that if we just cut taxes enough, prosperity will abound. Perhaps. But you'll need an ATV to drive on the interstates to Memphis, Fort Smith and Texarkana. Does Bell have support from sufficient like-minded 'baggers to impede passage? We'll soon see.

Next time a rumbling rig blows you off the road or you get rocked by an interstate pothole, remember Nate Bell. He's got their back.

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