LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas House Speaker Robbie Wills is the only elected official with a state vehicle who said he's exempt from paying income tax on the vehicle's use, according to a newspaper report.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Monday that Wills, D-Conway, said his business use of his state-owned Chevrolet Tahoe is not a taxable benefit.
"I have not used the state vehicle for personal use," Wills said. "I've used the vehicle for travel to and from meetings and other events when attending in my official capacity as speaker. I have my own vehicle for personal use."
Other elected officials have said they'll start paying taxes on their use of state vehicles after the newspaper questioned whether the benefit was tax-free. Lt. Gov. Bill Halter said he's paid taxes for use of his state vehicle since he took office in 2007, while Attorney General Dustin McDaniel turned in his state vehicle and reimbursed the state about $2,900 for his past use.
Gov. Mike Beebe does not have a state vehicle and is driven to events by others.
Officials with the House of Representatives said Wills is exempt from the tax — including his 30-mile commute from Conway to Little Rock — because his entire legislative district is considered a business location.
State Revenue Commissioner Tim Leathers said mileage reimbursements and a state-provided vehicle for a "business purpose" would be tax-exempt. He declined to comment as to whether legislators' travel from their homes to the Capitol is business travel.
The governor has ordered a detailed review of all the vehicles in the state's 8,653-vehicle fleet. Beebe has said he wants justification for each vehicle's use and why it's necessary.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.