The Arkansas General Assembly is meeting to sine die Wednesday, formally ending the fiscal session, but a veto issued by Governor Mike Beebe leaves at least one legislative item left to address.
The line-item veto is an objection to the widening of a sales tax exemption for equipment and machinery used in manufacturing. The extension newly defines sands used for fracking natural gas and oil as equipment.
Opponents argue the change made in the Special Language subcommittee should have followed fiscal session rules requiring a 60 percent vote to consider non-fiscal measures. But Republican Representative Andy Davis, who represents parts of western Pulaski County, said otherwise.
“I think that could be in line with other things that have been done in Special Language. I mean, special language can be used to clarify legislative intent of some appropriation, how money should be collected or spent, I think it's line.” said Davis.
Davis sits on the Special Language committee and said the amendment was clarifying the existing law by including the sands as equipment but suggests further action might be beneficial.
“I support the exemption in general and I support the use of special language to do this. All special language expires with the appropriation so this could be addressed in the regular session through separate legislation and then the special language would expire in the future,” said Davis.
Davis said he expects members will likely attempt to override the governor's veto which requires only a simple majority. The exemption is projected to cost the state about $5 million annually.