Thanks to Jan Morgan and her supporters, Governor Asa Hutchinson had to come out and say he doesn’t support raising the grocery tax. Morgan led the opposition to the tax increase while Asa spent months trying to side step the issue.
In an interview on Conduit News with Paul Harrell, Jan Morgan cautioned that while Asa’s letter said he does not “support” a grocery tax increase, he avoids saying he would “oppose” it if it were to be brought up. And, if Asa is elected to another term he will have a free hand to do what he wants.
Morgan said there are other items on the task force list for elimination and they are things that primarily help families and farmers. She mentioned several items being considered by Asa’s task force and said, “Asa has not stood up and told his task force take these things off the table.”
Asa’s task force “was never about reforming a bad tax code, which it was supposed to be about, it is about getting more ways to get more money out of the people.”
BACK-TO-SCHOOL SALES TAX HOLIDAY
The item on top of the list of Asa’s task force is the possibility of eliminating the Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday!
The tax holiday occurs every year on the weekend of the first Saturday in August, and the following items are exempt from sales tax: (1) Clothing; (2) Clothing accessories or equipment; (3) School art supplies; (4) School instructional material; and (5) School supplies.
Morgan, who opposes the repeal of this and other exemptions, described the importance of the Back To School Sales Tax Holiday saying:
“Buying school supplies and school clothes getting your kids started in school is costly. It cuts right to the bone for people who are barely making it paycheck to paycheck each month. So that sales tax exemption is very helpful, and it means the difference in school kids getting the supplies they need and not getting the school supplies.”
Senator Linda Collins-Smith who was a cosponsor of the Back To School legislation, commented on the task force considering eliminating it:
That is disturbing. It is so important to parents. Many parents are just overwhelmed by the cost of getting their children ready to go back to school. It’s not just the cost of school supplies, it’s also the cost of their children’s clothing needs for the fall.
And, I have teachers in my district who pay for some of their class supplies out of their own pocket. It is bad enough they don’t have more supplies and the high cost of those supplies, but to take away their opportunity to buy them without tax would be a blow. I’m still proud of helping pass the Back to School Tax Holiday and I will continue my support in keeping it.
The tax holiday is popular, and people benefit from it. Do you have children or grandchildren who need school supplies and clothing? Does your family or friends benefit from the back to school tax holiday? How about families who homeschool their children and must pay for all the school materials their children need?
In Walmart the sales tax holiday seems to be the busiest time of the year, other than the Christmas season.
IS IT REALLY ASA’S TAX TASK FORCE?
Governor Hutchinson has tried to distance himself from the tax task force pointing out it is a legislative task force not an executive branch task force. But he fails to acknowledge he is the driving force behind the task force.
- In a speech to the legislature, Asa requested the legislature form the tax task force and he listed the guidelines the task force would work under.
- The actual legislation creating the task force was either written or approved by Asa because the multi-page bill was filed the day after his speech.
- This means even the criteria for selecting who would be on the task force was set by Asa.
- To seal the deal, Asa gave the legislation to his nephew, Senator Jim Hendren, to sponsor, which guaranteed his nephew would be named chairman.
Even if it had not been Asa’s task force the fact remains he has not spoken against the efforts to grab more tax money …. Well, until Jan Morgan backed him into a corner and he had to say he doesn’t “support” a grocery tax increase.