If you’ve been following this whole smoking tax business, you know that there are a few hold-outs in the Arkansas House who’ve not yet signaled their intention for how they will vote — which in some cases, as the Under the Dome blog notes, is a strategic pose employed by some canny legislating types to get leverage for their own bills.
Columnist David Sanders takes a look at the landscape:
Do the math. There are now 28 Republicans serving in the House and state constitution requires 75 affirmative votes to pass any tax other than a sales tax, which only requires a simple majority. If the governor and speaker had all the Democrats on board — which is in doubt — then they would only need three Republicans to break ranks and vote with them. According to the latest estimates, 70 Democrats are on board with the tax.
Likewise, the Tolbert Report is in full vote counting mode, with a (shrinking) list of Republicans to watch as the vote comes down to the wire.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Robert “Robbie” Wills, a smugly censorious anti-smoking scold if there ever was one, lines up a few GOP ‘yea’ votes for the increase.
ALSO: Does Sanders break a little news in his column? He says GOP Rep. Roy Ragland is planning a run for lieutenant governor next year. This is something that’s been floating around for some months now, but as far as I know it’s the first place I’ve seen it published. (That’s right! I actually heard a rumor that I didn’t rush to publish on The Arkansas Project. I know, I don’t know what got into me either.)