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Dear Mahatma: Arkansas has a "motor fuel shrinkage allowance" where the motoring public pay the taxes on gasoline but a percentage of that money does not go to the state for roads. Rather that money is allowed to stay with the licensed fuel wholesalers. Can the current political regime really ask the people to prolong a road tax while at the same time let millions of those same tax dollars stay with private business. P.S. Come up; the fishing's good. -- Uncle Ted

Dear Unc: Three points of interest.

First, we have a formal definition of shrinkage allowance from the Department of Finance and Administration. It is an allowance based on deductions for losses to fuel wholesalers resulting from evaporation, shrinkage or unknown causes. The allowance, um, allows a 3% deduction of the first million gallons of taxable gasoline reported by licensed wholesale distributors each month, with a maximum dollar amount allowance up to $6,450 per licensed wholesaler.

For fiscal 2020, the total shrinkage allowance turned back to fuel wholesalers was $4,580,723.78.

This sum was calculated by the formula in Arkansas Code Annotated 26-55-230.

Why is this law, and other tax exemptions, in effect? Because the General Assembly in its wisdom has declared them to be necessary.

Second, can the current political regime ask the people to prolong -- to enshrine in the state constitution -- a half-cent sales tax dedicated to the state's highways while allowing any or all of the many tax exemptions?

Issue 1, if approved by voters Nov. 3, would make permanent a 10-year temporary half-cent sales tax for highways. That sales tax was approved by voters way back in 2012.

Almost $300 million would be raised a year for state, county and city road improvements.

In our humble opinion, the current regime can ask for anything; the people will answer on Nov. 3, Election Day.

For some reason, probably because we are of low character, we're reminded of the admonition to wish in one hand and ... never mind.

Third, Uncle Ted, is that we have fished with you. One boat, five men, five hours, 10 trolling rods, six fish. Compared to that, the fishing would have to be good.

Dear Mahatma: I often see a sign telling drivers there's a different speed limit up ahead. A lot of these signs are on a hill, and when you go over the hill you see a new speed limit sign. When exactly does the speed limit take effect? Is it when you first see the sign or when you get even with the sign? -- Slightly Confused

Dear Slightly: The new speed limit takes effect at the point of the sign.

Thanks for asking and for the memory -- this was one of the very first questions we answered back about the turn of the century. Give or take.

Vanity plate on a Porsche in Fort Smith: YIPKIYA.


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