Beebe Tries, Fails at Property Tax Redistribution
Governor Beebe’s URT bill didn’t get out of the House Education Committee today, causing Democrat Senator Bruce Maloch of Columbia to say he wouldn’t pursue his identical Senate bill in the Special Legislative Session.
The House Education Committee refused to bring HB1010 (sponsored by Democrat Rep. Joe Jett of Success) up for a vote after it was tabled earlier in the day.
HB1010 would allow Arkansas to take excess property tax revenue from “wealthier” school districts — districts where higher property tax collections result in funding above mandated minimum levels — and redistribute it as the state desires. The bill would also phase out excess revenue from eight districts where collections are higher.
Observers say this effectively stops Governor Beebe’s end run around the 2012 Arkansas Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision to uphold school districts’ rights to keep and spend in the district any excess funds pledge to schools and generated by property taxes.
Governor Beebe said then he believes Arkansas should treat these excess taxes the same as general sales taxes. So he tried to use the Special Session to make another run at the law to reach his desired result of redistributing property taxes state-wide.
It’s such a sharp contrast to his stance last spring when he wanted private option to pass!
His mantra then was “Arkansas must comply because Obamacare is the Law.” His mantra now seems to be “Try any way you can to get around the Law.”