House floor could be the scene for a messy highway debate


One prominent House Democrat says taxes have been cut too much in recent years. A prominent Republican Senator has concerns over funding projections and agency accountability. Those frets combined with other political concerns could lead to a hard vote on the House floor for Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s $300 million highway funding program.

Hutchinson’s plan to raise $300 million through a referred permanent half-cent sales tax, increasing gas and diesel fuel taxes, placing a new registration fee on alternative energy vehicles, and using a portion of dedicated revenues from expanded casino operations has sailed through the Arkansas Senate. It is expected to cruise out of House Revenue & Tax Committee this Tuesday, but could meet resistance on the House floor.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Searcy, explained his public criticism and vote against the governor’s road plan last week. Dismang said he questions whether or not the money from projected casino revenues will meet goals as part of the funding plan. If it doesn’t, he is fearful that money will be pulled from general revenues.

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