The General Assembly convened today in the Constitutionally mandated veto session. We have been blogging for a couple of weeks about one of the bills likely to be considered for override – House Bill (HB) 1329. Almost 1,100 emails were sent to senators and representatives in less than 48 hours to NOT support a veto override. How did it come out? YOUR VOICES WERE HEARD!

When the required reading of the bill number and title was made, no motion to override was even made! In caucus meetings prior to the session convening it was apparent that the votes to override were not present. There was some grumbling and complaining about the way the argument had been framed as a tax increase when many wanted it to be called just re-instituting a tax. The problem is that it was a tax increase. I’m not very popular in some offices today! đŸ™‚

I’ve written before that when the bill was originally passed, many on both sides of the aisles thought it was the right if not only solution to the problem of the un-level playing field. Since that vote, more legislators learned that some of the information they had received was either not complete or accurate.

For example, one legislator was heard to say that they did not know that local governments could place this issue on the ballot on their own. If they had known that at the time of the vote, they would not have voted for the bill.

It’s easy to condemn those who supported the bill originally. I don’t argue that legislators could and should have possessed more knowledge about the bill but that doesn’t work out as you might think it does.

I believe the sponsor of the bill Rep. Ryan Silvey believed it was the right thing to do. While I disagree with him, he still believes it is the right thing and that it’s not a tax increase. Rep. Silvey is also the House Budget Chair. Legislators had no reason to doubt the bill with the Budget Chairman sponsoring it.

The faces of the municipal league folks as I left the building were very long. They now will have to go back to their “members” – cities that use your tax dollars to join and work against you on issues such as this – and propose alternatives.

Solutions to the Car Sales Tax Increase is a feasible alternative. It would place on a statewide ballot in every locality that didn’t have a use tax in place the question of whether or not the voters of that locality want to have one. If it passes in a locality (municipality or county) they will have a local use tax. If it doesn’t, they won’t.

This alternative would meet the Constitutional requirement for the local taxes to be approved or disapproved by local voters. The state picks up the tab for the elections which is more efficient and saving local taxpayers money and the question is asked all at once. It would level the playing field for all that chose to do so.

It’s a better solution than HB1329.