by Max Brantley
As I wrote earlier, the Senate failed by 3 votes to approve a vote on the repealer.
Last gasp has started in the House.
This afternoon, it added an amendment to HB 1114 to delay the tax break one year, to July 1, 2013. That would put off a loss of highway funds to cities and counties, delay a tax break truckers weren't supposed to get and leave it to the regular legislative session, with less restrictive rules, to consider the matter afresh.
It took only a House majority to amend the bill. But it must be approved by Joint Budget tomorrow morning, then be approved by the House Thursday and transmitted to the Senate, which could give final passage Friday. One problem: The appropriation bill will require three-fourths approval, or 75 members of the House and 27 members of the 35-member Senate. Where will those votes come from in the Senate, particularly? Your guess is as good as mine on that, unless other side deals are in process. Parole and a foreclosure law amendment (which has been sent back to Joint Budget for further amendment) are still hanging.
Rep. Buddy Lovell, in offering the truck tax amendment, said House Minority Leader John Burris supported the change, which would allow the 2013 General Assembly to decide on both the diesel tax and the sales tax exemption.
Burris, spoke for the change, but noted the peril of putting a policy issue on an appropriation bill — the possibility of killing an agency's appropriation, in this case the Department of Finance and Administration.