Senate Revenue and Tax

December 8, 2021


Sample [00:00:00] Members, members, let’s start taking our seats. All right, guys, we’re going to roll. I call this meeting of the Senate Revenue and Tax Committee together. Do we have a House member here to present– oh, Sen. Dismang, you going to present that bill? Sen. Dismang, you’re here to present House Bill 1001. 


Dismang [00:01:04] Thank you, committee. Members, Mr. Chairman, this is the bill that we heard yesterday in committee and also on the floor today. I’m assuming I’m on 1001. And with that, I’d be happy to take any questions. 


Sample [00:01:18] Are there questions for the senator? 


Rapert [00:01:22] Senator– Mr. Chairman? 


Sample [00:01:24] Yes. 


Rapert [00:01:26] [00:01:26]Senator, one last opportunity, would you like to add law enforcement to this bill? [4.1s]


Dismang [00:01:31] [00:01:31]No, sir. [0.2s]


Rapert [00:01:32] [00:01:32]You don’t want to. [0.5s]


Dismang [00:01:33] [00:01:33]No, sir, especially after testimony that we had yesterday when it was– and I’ve talked to law enforcement across this state and they had no idea that we would be supplementing federal law enforcement officers with that bill. I think in talking to a number of different folks, they felt as though if there was going to be, you know, for instance, an amount of money set aside that they’d obviously like to have a fewer number of people benefitting from that so there was a larger benefit per person. And so in light of that information that came out in yesterday’s testimony, absolutely not. I think there’s a better way and one that we’ll be able to work through soon. [32.8s]


Rapert [00:02:07] [00:02:07]You’re entitled to your opinion. But as to that, I was trying to lighten the mood a little bit for you, Senator. But actually, that bill was in the session in the spring. It was vetted and looked at by all of the quorum courts, all of the city councils, all the associations. And for that matter, we were advised we had to include them. It may have been a surprise to you, but it was a surprise to no one else. [22.3s]


Dismang [00:02:30] [00:02:30]I talked to everybody that had signed on as a co-sponsor to your bill and then voted yesterday on the germaneness to the bill. I found one member out of all the members that I contacted that were aware that it was going to provide a supplemental payment to federal law enforcement. [14.6s]


Rapert [00:02:45] [00:02:45]Well, that’s [0.4s] why we read legislation. But it was not a surprise in any of the discussions, but that’s fine. Thank you, Senator. 


Sample [00:02:53] Are there any other questions? Do I have a motion? Oh, oh, I’m sorry. You have a question? Oh. [00:03:10]We  have some people here to talk, to speak for and against. Dan Whitfield, if you will. Mr Whitfield, if you would state your name and who you’re representing. And you’re speaking against the bill, is that correct? [37.5s]


Whitfield [00:03:49] [00:03:49]Yes, sir. My name is Dan Whitfield. I’m from Bella Vista, Arkansas in Benton County.[3.1s]


Sample [00:03:53] [00:03:53]If you would, sir, remove your hat.[0.5s]


Whitfield [00:03:55] [00:03:55]I’ve been on the road [0.6s] for five days sleeping in the car. I do apologize. My hair is a mess. All right. I’m here to represent the Arkansans that are working class that won’t be benefiting from this bill as much as the other Arkansans that will be. So I’m here to speak against House Bill 1001 and I’ll begin with the facts. I’m not a tax accountant. I’m sure a lot of people at this table are not as well, maybe a few. But firstly, I’m here to represent Arkansans that are the working class that would be benefiting from the bill as much as Arkansans that will be. 70 percent of the tax cuts will be going to the wealthiest 20 percent of Arkansans. And those over, you know, that will go to the people making over $60,000 per year, where the average household income in Arkansas is only $48,952. Those making under $22,000 a year will see no benefit, which is 30 percent of all Arkansans. One in three Arkansans are disabled and 30 percent of those are actually living underneath the poverty line. And we’re looking to use this money to cut taxes for the wealthiest Arkansans while ignoring the Arkansans that really need help, where 25 percent of the children in our state go to bed with a hungry stomach, where we could end hunger in our entire state for every single person for– it sounds like a lot– but only $240 million. Arkansas, Arkansas, it ranks 42 in education, 42 of 50. 49 in healthcare, 43 in infrastructure. And you know, we thank God every day here in Arkansas for the $4.9 billion that Senate Democrats just brought in an infrastructure bill. But it’s still not enough to really help those people that need this help the most. So I’ll end with this. I just implore you all to take into consideration the people that aren’t going to be helped from these tax cuts. I mean, personally, I will be. I’m sure you all will be. But there are a lot of people who can’t be here today to represent themselves that aren’t going to take any benefit at all from these tax cuts when these are really– in the near poorest state in the country, we really need to be focused on those people and helping make sure that they’re able to get by every day, rather than making sure that everyone who’s able to get by every day just fine can get by a little bit easier. 


Sample [00:06:20] Thank you, sir. Are there questions for the witness? Seeing none, thank you.  Next, Paul Gehring. You’ve got a financial impact for us? 


Gehring [00:06:56] Thank you, Mr. Chair, members of the committee. Paul Gering, DFA. I’ll be happy to answer any questions regarding the fiscal impact statement. It is identical to the revenue impact that we issued for Senate Bill 1 as originally filed. 


Sample [00:07:08] Are there questions for Mr. Gehring? Sen. Rapert. 


Rapert [00:07:14] Thank you, Mr Gehring, I know that you guys were working on an updated list. I think the last time we had a full updated list was the actual task force that had that list. So I don’t know if that’s– is there any idea when– it may not be this session, but it’d sure be nice that we’ll have some idea of a list of every single one of those tax credits and what the value is? 


Gehring [00:07:35] Yes, sir. Senator Rapert, we certainly have been working on that as soon as your request came through earlier this week. Tax credits within Excise Tax Administration has developed some initial numbers for the different tax credits. We’re also working with income tax to get the other tax credits that are claimed on individual income tax returns. Hopefully, we will have that information to you as soon as possible, I would say, within a week. Of course, we would like to deliver it quicker than that. But because of the short turnaround, unfortunately, we weren’t able to have it ready for the committee this afternoon.  


Rapert [00:08:09] I wish I’d thought to ask even sooner. And in terms of the– you’re, you’re the expert– good opportunity to ask to make sure I’m clear on this– do we have any other tax credit or, and I don’t want to use the wrong verbiage for you here, but some, some of it operates as a rebate. Do we have anything that is refundable at all in the code? Is it all non refundable tax credits? 


Gehring [00:08:35] I’m not aware of a refundable tax credit, sir. 


Rapert [00:08:38] Because that’s, that’s a point and that’s a point that we had even tried in the spring to say, well, maybe we could amend what we were trying to do to a nonrefundable. That didn’t work in the spring either. But thank you for clarifying. Yes, sir. 


Sample [00:08:50] Are there other questions for Mr. Gehring? Seeing none, thank you, sir. 


Gehring [00:08:55] Thank you, Mr. Chair. 


Sample [00:08:57] Senator Dismang, are you ready to close for your bill? Senator Johnson. I didn’t see the name. Oh, Mr. Calvert. I’m sorry, I misread that and thought it was Paul Gehring because it was for. Mr Calvert, you are speaking for the bill. Introduce yourself and– 


Calvert [00:09:44] My name is Paul Calvert and I thank you for your kind attention. I’ll try to make this short. As a taxpayer, I really don’t like it when government takes my money on threat of men with guns coming to lock me in a cage if I don’t comply. However, there is something that burns me up even more than government taking my money. It bothers me even more when government spends those tax dollars, when government spends my money that often results in a loss of freedom for good, hard working people. So I like the idea of having less money stolen from me, but I am even more excited that government will be spending fewer dollars in ways that will almost certainly violate my rights and the rights of my friends and neighbors. That’s all I have. 


Sample [00:10:21] Thank you, sir. Are there questions for Mr. Calvert? Seeing none, thank you. I’m sorry that I misread because you’re normally here not to speak for the bill. OK, now we have a motion from Senator Johnson is do pass. A second. Senator Rapert. Any discussion on the motion? Seeing none, all in favor say aye. Opposed no. What do we have next? House Bill 1006. 


Dismang [00:11:06] Members, this strikes some language related to the initial appointments to the commission. It conflicted with another section on, on detailing out how to make the appointments. So by striking that it brings uniformity to the bill– or law. 


Sample [00:11:21] Any questions for the senator. No one wants to speak on it. Do we, do we have a motion? Motion do pass. Second, Senator Johnson. Any discussion on the motion? Seeing none, all in favor say aye. All opposed, no. Sen. Dismang, are you going back over to House Bill 1007? I just assumed that you were closed since you walked over here and sit down by me. 


Dismang [00:12:08] Members, this is the bill we heard yesterday in relation to the steel project and the recycling tax credits and setting up that new category that would qualify for those credits. 


Sample [00:12:21] Are the questions for the senator? Senator Johnson.  


M Johnson [00:12:27] Sen. Dismang, I’ve had some people ask me about the recycling credit period and not just the steel industry and whatever. Just to clarify for those that aren’t aware, Arkansas has a recycling equipment tax credit that can be used by other types of businesses. And this wouldn’t change that. This is to clarify some things, but it still leaves– if I had a– say I had a business where I would chip up waste wood and sell it to people that make plandex or something, then that would be eligible for the 30 percent recycling equipment tax credit? 


Dismang [00:13:06] If they’re eligible today, then they would still be eligible. This just adds one more category that qualifies. It’s a very specific set of parameters that you would have to meet, but yes. For it to be part of the new category. 


M Johnson [00:13:18] More for the benefit of the public who thinks that we’re, we’re singling out one industry for a benefit, there are– this benefit is available to all recyclers in a different manner, of course. 


Dismang [00:13:31]  I mean, to be honest, I’ve never utilized the credit. I don’t know much about it. But I– my understanding is if you hit the qualifications under some of the other provisions in the bill, then you would qualify, you know, today, as you would yesterday. 


M Johnson [00:13:46] I had personal knowledge of a, of a company in Northwest Arkansas that recycles some municipal waste products and separates the plastic and they have equipment that processes that and it’s eligible for the grant. And I’m just wanting the public to know that this is not just about steel mills. This is about people that have proper equipment purchased for recycling and offers the tax credit. 


Dismang [00:14:12] Thank you. 


M Johnson [00:14:13] Thank you, senator. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 


Sample [00:14:15] Seeing no other questions, I have got a motion do pass. Do you have a second? Second by Sen. Caldwell. Discussion on the motion? Hearing none, all in favor say aye. All opposed no. Members, we are adjourned.