Photo: Jasont82 (Wikimedia)
The General Assembly voted Wednesday overwhelmingly to override Gov. Mike Pence’s veto of a tax bill.
For the past few years, taxpayers in two counties – Jackson and Pulaski – have been paying an unauthorized local income tax used to pay for county jails. Legislation this past session retroactively approved the collection of the taxes.
But Pence vetoed the bill, saying he believed the money should be refunded. Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane says he agrees.
“If the costs have to be borne by somebody, it should be borne by the innocent parties. The taxpayers are the innocent parties here,” he says.
The governor proposed an administrative remedy to the problem that would refund taxpayers and make changes to local tax distribution in the future.
But State Sen. Brandt Hershman (Buck Creek) says the legislation is the best solution.
“Sustaining this veto will simply add a penalty on an error that was at least partially the fault of state government,” he says.
The House voted 68 to 23 and the Senate 34-12 to override the veto, with only a few Republicans voting with the governor.
No Sign of Discord, GOP Says
Republican legislative leaders say Wednesday’s vote to override the governor’s veto of a tax bill is not a sign of discord within their party
Speaker Brian Bosma says the decision to override the veto was only made after lawmakers worked with the governor on an administrative remedy.
“It was very clear that the administrative solution was unwieldy and much more expensive to the state taxpayers than coming in to solve this situation,” he says.
Pence still pushed for the legislature to sustain his veto. Senate President Pro Tem David Long says the veto override was a simple disagreement.
“In conversations with the governor, I think we all respected each other’s positions and what we did say was whatever happens today, we move forward united on almost all other issues,” he says.
In a statement, Pence says stands by his veto and regrets the General Assembly voted to override it, emphasizing he still believes taxpayers should receive refunds.