by Max Brantley
Roby Brock indicates the defeat of the capital gains tax cut for the wealthy this morning in Senate committee set the stage for a workout of House/Senate divisions on tax cuts.
The predicted package to be approved: $37 million in tax cuts. 1) Gov. Beebe's half-cent grocery tax reduction; 2) the tax break for manufacturers' utilities (this would include the gosh-awful giveaway to merchant power producers for the natural gas they burn); 3) Sen. Gilbert Baker's reduction in the used car sales tax, by raising the exemption level from $2,500 to $5,000; 4) a correction for low-income tax relief for heads of household; 5) the mostly useless back-to-school sales tax holiday on school clothing and supplies; 6) extension and an increase to $250,000 in the tax credit for investments in tourism projects in depressed counties.
The stuff is supposed to start rolling out of a special meeting of the Senate tax committee after adjournment this afternoon.
UPDATE: No action in Senate committee this afternoon after a visit by gubernatorial chief of staff Morril Harriman. Comments on the House floor earlier seemed to hint that a compromise was in the works, but no further action developed.
Will House Republicans continue to block $6,000 spending increases for the Arkansas School for the Deaf and similar? We'll see. The House did sign off on all the Senate General Improvement Fund bill, dozens of them, but it's uncertain still how the surplus money issue will shake out. And, yes, the Shiites did allow the School for the Deaf bill through.