AFA is currently surveying our membership, but the impact will clearly be felt by the loggers and sawmills.
The bill was introduced on Thursday of last week and hurriedly referred to the Ways & Means committee chaired by Representative Bill Poole (R- Tuscaloosa).
Surprisingly, the committee met on Wednesday to have a public hearing on the bill. After testimony concluded and in violation of prior precedent, Chairman Poole called for an immediate vote. Usually, a public hearing is held and the vote occurs at the next scheduled committee hearing.
Clearly, there was concern by certain members of the committee that this increase was too dramatic.
When the vote was called, a request was made that the vote be a “recorded vote” as opposed to a “voice vote.” Much to the consternation of Chairman Poole, Representative Ed Henry seconded the motion and there was no choice but to have the member’s votes recorded.
The vote on the bill failed by an 8-6 vote. Voting FOR the tax increase were Republicans Bill Poole, Steve McMillan, Alan Baker, Danny Garrett, Mark Tuggle and the bill’s sponsor Terri Collins.
Voting AGAINST the bill were Democrats James Buskey, Craig Ford, Rod Scott and Patricia Todd and Republicans Alan Boothe, Donnie Chesteen, Ed Henry and Phil Williams.
In an unusual move, Chairman Poole called a second special meeting of the committee on Thursday, while the House was engaged in a filibuster on another issue. Once again the committee took up HB587 and this time the bill was given a favorable report.
The only Republican voting against the bill was Representative Phil Williams (R-Huntsville). An amendment was offered to appease the counties and municipalities ensuring that a small percentage of the tax increase will remain for them (the original bill removed this).
The bill now continues on its lubricated fast track. It’s scheduled for consideration before the full House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 12th (next week).
The bill is but one of nine tax increase bills that the Republican leadership has proposed for consideration next week on a special order calendar.