The House Rules Committee met quickly on Tuesday (Feb. 14) and pushed two key measures to the full House floor for consideration. Several other measures were left on hold.
HCR 1009, which would repeal a tax break for truckers that has not gone into effect, will be considered by the full House body. The proposal was contingent on a diesel fuel tax increase going into law, but the Arkansas Trucking Association backed out of the deal after polling showed the fuel tax increase was unpopular.
The ATA’s board of directors sent a letter of support for the tax repeal effort. House Rules members quickly approved the repeal measure with little discussion and no on-the-record opposition. Rep. Larry Cowling (D-Foreman), sponsor of the measure said without the diesel tax increase the tax break “could no longer be revenue neutral.”
Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration estimates suggested the tax reduction would eliminate $4 million from the state coffers.
House Rules members also approved HCR 1004 with little debate. The measure is the Joint Budget Committee-approved resolution that will allow for a Revenue Stabilization Act (RSA) to be filed. The RSA lays out budget priorities for nearly all state agency spending.
An alternative RSA has been proposed by House Republican leadership. Rep. John Burris’ (R-Harrison) HCR 1008 was not considered today and he was not present in the meeting.
Speaker of the House Robert Moore (D-Arkansas City) said it would be considered in the future when more details are provided. HCR 1004, which has been reviewed by the Joint Budget Committee, was further along in the process, he said.
HCR 1003 by Rep. James McLean (D-Batesville) was withdrawn. It would reduce elected officials’ mileage reimbursement rates to the same as state employees.