4/15/2002 6:15:00 PM Bill to tax satellite TV leaves local rep bemused
That's because Camarot, D-Prescott, has faced a brick wall in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives whenever he tries to get a hearing for his bill to get rid of a long list of sales tax exemptions. His bill includes satellite TV services, too.
"It's kind of comical," Camarot said. "Somebody came over to me and said, 'Henry, why don't you try them one at a time?'"
Camarot sees his bill as an opportunity to produce millions of dollars in income when the state is facing its worst fiscal crisis in at least a decade.
He praised the Senate for its action.
As the crisis becomes more apparent and each house struggles to trim as much as $1 billion from their budget proposals for next year, Camarot says more and more people are listening to his ideas – but not enough.
"The crisis has to grow" before some people will listen, and he finds that disheartening, he said.
He pointed to new layoffs at the Humboldt Unified School District, a rally by county governments against state cuts, and a prison hunger strike against a reduction in daily meals this past week as signs that the crisis is growing.
"I don't know what the leadership in the House has to hear in order to stop and take a look, instead of saying, 'Henry, it looks like a tax,'" Camarot said. "I guess we have to have bloodshed in the streets."
Senators voted 16-11 Wednesday to tax satellite TV services. Those in favor of Senate Bill 1062 called it a tax equity issue, because cable TV companies already have to collect the tax.
Sen. Ken Bennett, R-Prescott, was among those voting against it, saying it would have been better to lower the cable tax and institute a smaller satellite TV tax if it is an equity issue.
The Senate got around a two-thirds vote required for tax increases by agreeing to distribute the money directly to municipalities and counties. Officials project it will raise $13 million annually.
Camarot said he can't wait to bring up his long-standing argument to drop more tax exemptions when the bill comes over to the House for a vote. "I'm gonna jump all over it," he said.