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Beebe's veto of sand tax break overridden

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published March 19, 2014 at 1:55 p.m. Updated March 19, 2014 at 2:08 p.m.


Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Searcy, offers to take questions before a veto override vote Wednesday in the state Senate.

Both chambers of the Arkansas Legislature have voted to override Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of a provision of an appropriation bill exempting sand used in oil and gas wells from the state's sales tax.

On Wednesday, the House voted 55-41 and the Senate voted 26-7 to override the governor's veto. A simple majority in each chamber can override a veto.

Beebe had called the provision unconstitutional, saying it shouldn't have been considered under the fiscal session and should require a two-thirds vote from both chambers because it is a "substantive change to Arkansas code."

The provision's sponsor, Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Searcy, has the legislature's passage was appropriate because it clarified the legislative intent of state law.

Rep. Stephen Meeks, R-Greenbrier, spoke on the House floor in favor of the override, saying the sand was never supposed to be taxed and the provision assured that that would be understood. He said the courts have provided "judicial precedence" in siding with that view and that overriding the veto negated the need for an appeal of that decision.

There was no discussion in the Senate before the vote. Dismang offered to answer questions, but none was asked.

The state Department of Finance and Administration estimates the provision amounts to about a $5 million tax exemption.


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Hogdude says... March 19, 2014 at 3:33 p.m.

An interested party should begin the legal process to place this issue before the Arkansas Supreme Court. When Gov. Beebe says a law is unconstitutional, then it probably is. If not, then, everyone can go forward with the tax exemption. The Supreme Court needs to review it.

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LevyRat says... March 19, 2014 at 3:46 p.m.

Can the oil and gas industry in Arkansas really be spending nearly $100 million a year on sand?????

Really? That is a lot of sand .......

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Dontcallmenames says... March 19, 2014 at 4:42 p.m.

Most elected officials, including Beebe, and Americans wouldn't know the Constitution if it came up and bit them. There is no "sand" in there, there is no "force someone to buy healthcare" in there and there is certainly no "killing babies" in the Constitution either. It's great that our system allows one branch to override an idiotic governor and even President. Now we need to start using the branches to override idiot judges who find things in the Constitution that are not there and have never been there, regardless of what our culture wants there to be in Constitution.

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RBBrittain says... March 19, 2014 at 5:35 p.m.

@Dontcallmenames: There's nothing in the Constitution to say the Ledge CAN'T exempt oil drilling sand either. And since you're spouting Ron Paul propaganda about the U.S. Constitution that has ZERO relevance to the Arkansas Constitution, I bet you've never read the latter (or maybe even the former). I have; though the point is arguable, IMO not only is the bill constitutional, but Gov. Beebe's use of line-item veto on that part of the bill was NOT constitutional. (I'm not a lawyer, but I spent 20 years in state government finance before retiring on disability.)

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FreeSpiritMan says... March 19, 2014 at 6:21 p.m.

The oil and gas industry really needs all the breaks they can get, those poor devil's are just having to scrape by to make ends meet.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... March 19, 2014 at 6:43 p.m.

Yawn .. somebodies are not getting a rise this year.

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Duhig says... March 19, 2014 at 6:53 p.m.

Well, beaten by Texas again. Shipping our potential revenue to Texas oil companies is not a good idea. Again, this 5 million could have bought 50 million dollars worth of insurance premiums for low and moderate income local folks

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Reason says... March 19, 2014 at 10:09 p.m.

See how easy it is to buy a vote!


Take away 1 percent of state employees' COLA and give $5 MILLION (each year) to the gas and oil. Simple!

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NoCrossNoCrown says... March 20, 2014 at 1:38 a.m.

Boggles the mind that these corporate stooges are so in bed with the Kochheads, that they would sell out the entire state for a bowl of porridge......
Even sadder the folks that believe that if they have an "R"beside their name....
They will always do what is right or what is best for all of Arkansas, instead of just their corporate overlords....... Ledge for Sale - call 1-800-SCREWU2

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Reason says... March 20, 2014 at 6:58 a.m.

Brittain: I'm not a lawyer either but look at Article 5 of the State Constitution and I believe that this is what Beebe is referring to.

Article 5

5. Time of meeting.
a) The General Assembly shall meet at the seat of government every year. (b) The General Assembly shall meet in regular session on the second Monday in January of each odd-numbered year to consider any bill or resolution. The General Assembly may alter the time at which the regular session begins. (c) (1) Beginning in 2010, the General Assembly shall meet in fiscal session on the second Monday in February of each even-numbered year to consider only appropriation bills. The General Assembly may alter the time at which the fiscal session begins.
(2) A bill other than an appropriation bill may be considered in a fiscal session if two-thirds (2/3) of the members of each house of the General Assembly approve consideration of the bill. (d) The General Assembly, by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly, may alter the dates of the regular session and fiscal session so that regular sessions occur in even numbered years and the fiscal sessions occur in odd-numbered years.

Furthermore, I don't want to pay taxes either and should be protected under the Equal Protection Clause.

Arkansas Constitution
Article II
18. Privileges and immunities - Equality.
The General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.


IMO and not a legal opinion.

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