Legislative Roundup: Big River Steel Project Close to Final Approval

by Mark Carter  on Friday, Apr. 5, 2013 9:05 am  

Manufacturers’ Tax Cuts
Manufacturers received some good news when a bill to cut the taxes they pay on utilities was passed through House committee.

The bill would reduce the sales tax on electricity and natural gas to 1 percent by 2015. State officials estimated the measure would reduce state revenue by about $14 million next year.

Illegal Workers
A bill that would authorize the state contractors licensing board to revoke or suspend the license of a contractor found to knowingly employ an illegal worker — either directly or through a subcontractor — awaits hearing in Senate State Agencies & Governmental Affairs.

Senate Bill 1089 is sponsored by Sen. Jon Woods, R-Springdale. Similar bills by Rep. Jim Nickels, D-Sherwood, were introduced in the 2009 and 2011 sessions and failed to advance.

Elsewhere at the Capitol

  • The PACE Initiative — the Property Accessed Clean Energy Act — was signed into law. It allows for the establishment of energy improvement districts to fund loans for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water improvement projects.
  • Carter amended his proposal to cut the capital gains tax. The new version raises the standard deduction from $2,000 to $2,400 over three years.
  • As expected, the House voted to override Beebe's veto of the voter ID bill. The Senate had previously done so. Both votes were along GOP-led party lines. The voter ID bill requires photo identification to cast a ballot but requires the state to provide free IDs to those who don’t have one.



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