Legislation to increase the homestead property tax credit passed easily out of the Arkansas House of Representatives with 89 out of 100 votes before failing in the Senate Revenue and Tax Committee this week. HB1321 by Rep. Lanny Fite (R – Benton) would have increased the tax credit by $25 for property owners. The fund for this property tax relief credit has risen to over $100 million. The increased credit would reduce the fund about $12 million. Part of Rep. Fite’s bill is to study possibly cutting the sales tax that directs money into this fund since it has grown so large or to keep increasing the property tax credit.
The bill was heard and failed in the Senate Revenue and Tax Committee on Wednesday. Rep. Fite appeared on Conduit News Radio with Paul Harrell on Thursday to discuss the bill. There he informed the public that a bill to increase the homestead property tax credit filed by Sen. Jim Hendren (R – Sulpher Springs), the governor’s nephew, had also been filed as a competing bill (SB447). That bill though would divert funds from the property tax relief fund to first pay about $8 million for new voting machines and then some money to general revenue.
Rep. Fite says he would oppose that effort by Sen. Hendren and felt that the money should go for the purpose promised to the public, to provide property tax relief, not to hijack the funds for general revenue. This hijacking and raiding of the fund was foreshadowed by a post by Conduit for Action in January.
In the interview Rep. Fite details the purpose of the fund, his bill, and the process so far. Watch the interview in its entirety below.