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Are raw materials getting a raw deal?

Are Raw Materials Getting A Raw Deal?

The legal wheels keep turning -- albeit slowly -- in the lawsuit filed by Omega Tube & Conduit Corp. against Pulaski County.

And there's no apparent end in sight.

The Japanese company is challenging the county's authority to levy personal property taxes on raw materials at its Little Rock plant.

Omega argues that only raw materials used in Arkansas-sold products are subject to the tax.

The county says all raw materials are subject to taxation.

The case will have statewide ramifications since the tax status of raw materials varies from county to county.

Omega officials are upset that the company has to pay the tax while Century Tube Co., a competitor in Jefferson County, is exempt.

Another source of irritation is that industrial recruiters representing the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission and others told Omega representatives that raw materials used in products destined for out-of-state buyers would be exempt.

To date, Omega has lost appeals to the Pulaski County Board of Equalization and former Pulaski County Judge Rita Gruber. The case was taken to circuit court and later transferred to chancery court.

Judge Annabelle Clinton Imber made a verbal judgment against Omega in September 1990, but that judgment was set aside when she recused herself.

The reason Imber stepped down from the case is that Larry Crane, director of the state Assessment Coordination Division and a key witness for the county, made a social visit to Imber's home last spring.

The case was assigned to Judge Robin Mays, and it's been stalled ever since.

One recent development is a motion to intervene filed by Little Rock City Director Cyril Hollingsworth on behalf of Associated Industries of Arkansas Inc., an affiliate of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.

Larry Vaught of the Pulaski County attorney's office has filed a motion to deny the intervention. Vaught also has made a motion to dismiss the suit and place in escrow the $110,000 Omega is withholding on raw materials for 1989-90.

State Rep. Art Givens, an attorney for Omega, filed a motion to deny Vaught's requests. Mays has yet to make a ruling on the motions or schedule a pre-trial hearing.
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Title Annotation:Omega Tube & Conduit Corp.'s suit against Pulaski county which claims that all raw materials may be taxed
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Jun 3, 1991
Previous Article:In search of equalization.
Next Article:Divided they stand.

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