measure aiming to help Arkansas truckers facing big state
sales tax bills is making its way through the state’s House
would exempt commercial vehicles from the state sales tax.
The vehicles would still be subject to city and county sales
taxes, but those taxes are capped.
would also increase the registration fee on tractor-trailers
and other commercial vehicles. The current registration fee
for a tractor-trailer is $1,350, according to Rep. Jeff Gillespie,
D-Danville, the bill’s primary sponsor; that fee would increase
said the measure was passed by the House Revenue and Tax
Committee, but has not yet been scheduled for action on the
House floor. Because of Arkansas’ laws regarding tax and
fee increases, the measure will have to pass by a three-quarters
want to bring it to a vote until I knew I had the votes,” Gillespie
said. “I only have three flat turndowns, so I think if I
ran it, it would pass, but I want to make sure.”
now, the state sales tax applied to the entire purchase price
of a truck – as opposed to city and county sales taxes, which
apply to only part of the purchase price – often leaving
truckers with bills in the thousands. Few states charge sales
tax on tractor-trailers at that level.
because of the tax, only 8 percent of the more than 83,000
large trucks whose owners are residents of Arkansas register
their vehicles in that state. For semi-trailers, the figure
is even lower – 2 percent. The trucking industry employs
more than 110,000 people in the state.
isn’t the only measure on the table in Arkansas to aid truckers
would cap the sales tax on trucks bought or sold in the state
to only the first $1,000 from the sale of a truck and only
the first $500 from the sale of a trailer. Rep. Don House,
D-Walnut Ridge, that bill’s primary sponsor, said that under
current rates, the bill would cap the state sales tax on
a truck at $51.25 and on a trailer at $25.63.
originally contained an amnesty provision that would have
forgiven back sales taxes on Arkansas truckers who were base
plated out of state. However, an opinion issued by the state’s
attorney general has derailed that provision. The bill passed
the House Jan. 29 by a vote of 84-13 and is now before the
Senate Revenue and Tax Committee.
described his and Gillespie’s bills as “competing measures.” But
in an odd twist on the tortoise and the hare, the slowest
may win the race. Gillespie said whichever bill was signed last by
the governor would become the law.
is changed by any subsequent law,” Gillespie said.
H. Reddig, associate editor