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story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Asa Hutchinson, center, details his highway funding plan alongside House Speaker Matthew Shepherd, left, and Senate President Pro Tempore Jim Hendren.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and legislative leaders on Monday unveiled a $300 million highway plan that would permanently extend the state's half-cent sales tax, increase fuel taxes and tap expanded casino revenue.

Hutchinson said the proposal was the largest highway funding plan in Arkansas history. To be implemented, the plan will require legislative action and a ballot referral in 2020.

“This plan achieves the right balance,” Hutchinson said. “It is affordable. It is prudent for our budget, and it is reasonable.”

The proposal would raise more than $205 million annually by making permanent the half-cent sales tax that voters approved with a 10-year sunset in 2012. This would require voter approval in 2020.

It would raise another $58 million by creating a new index for motor fuel taxes, raising the sales tax by 3 cents on gas and 6 cents on diesel.

The remaining $36.9 million would come from increased registration fees on hybrid and electric vehicles and by dedicating future casino tax revenues to highways. The plan guarantees $35 million a year from the increased casino funds, state reserves or other general revenue.

Arkansans in 2018 approved a constitutional amendment that expanded casino gaming in Arkansas.

Hutchinson’s plan comes at the start of the week when the state House of Representatives will take up his income tax cut plan. Some House members have expressed reluctance to vote for the cuts without a highway funding proposal.

Democrats on Monday said their initial thoughts on the plan were positive, but they wanted to study the proposal to ensure that general revenue remains protected. General revenue comes from the state’s income and sales tax collections and funds the state’s basic services like public education.

The governor assured those at a Monday news conference that the plan wouldn’t jeopardize the state’s general revenue funding stream.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Print Headline: Arkansas governor announces $300M highway funding plan; proposal includes increase in fuel tax


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  • malice06220956
    February 11, 2019 at 11:30 a.m.

    All I know is they'd best not be taking the money from APERS or ATRS!

  • GeneralMac
    February 11, 2019 at 12:31 p.m.

    Sounds good.

    I think Asa just hot a home run.

  • GeneralMac
    February 11, 2019 at 12:31 p.m.

    " hit"

    where is ARMNAR when I need him ?

  • Gnusman48
    February 11, 2019 at 12:44 p.m.

    Hold onto your wallets, Middle Class. They're coming after you again.

  • Happy1234
    February 11, 2019 at 12:51 p.m.

    Yep we need the money now that he just lowered the income tax on the rich by 1%.
    What do we do the next time we need 300 million for roads lower the tax on the rich and raise the price at the pump for all of us who drive to work each day.

  • Retirednwsman
    February 11, 2019 at 12:58 p.m.

    Guess Hutchinson doesn't remember the 1 billion highway plan that was enacted during the Huckster years. It's amazing how politicians(including Trump) throw around phrases like, "largest ever, best ever." They might need to look in the history books before they open their mouths and show their ignorance.

  • RBBrittain
    February 11, 2019 at 1:17 p.m.

    Guess Retirednwsman doesn't understand that gas tax revenues do NOT increase with the price of gas, but road building expenses increase by that and even more. (Even FakeGeneral gets that, and he's usually one of the worst luddites here.) We may disagree on how to raise more money for highways, but most of us on both left and right agree that more is needed.

  • Elector
    February 11, 2019 at 1:22 p.m.

    Neat little trick to be played on us. The legislature's politicians can brag about lowering our taxes and then force us to vote to raise our taxes in order to repair falling bridges and pot holed roads. I can hear it now, "vote for us, we lowered taxes". You the gullible voters raised taxes, not us. And of course, we vote to reelect them. Everyone thinks their rep is good; it's someone else's that's bad.

  • Elector
    February 11, 2019 at 1:24 p.m.

    Anyone else ever notice how Asa's smile looks like the Joker's?

  • RBBrittain
    February 11, 2019 at 1:25 p.m.

    Besides, I'm pretty sure Huckabee's plan included the first $575M round of GARVEE/IRP bonds, which was spent already, renewed by voters under Beebe, and just about spent again. Unlike that, this is for roads whose numbers don't start with an "I".