Diesel tax increase dropped from Arkansas Senate panel agenda

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A bill to raise the state sales tax on diesel fuel by 5 cents a gallon has been pulled from a Senate committee's agenda but the bill is expected to be heard later in the week.

House Speaker Robert Moore, a Democrat, was to have presented the bill Monday before the Senate Transportation Committee. A spokesman says Moore pulled the bill because some committee members were expected to be absent.

Earlier Monday, Moore said he was optimistic about the bill's chances but said he didn't yet have enough votes to get it out of committee. 5 of the eight members of the panel are Republicans, and many GOP lawmakers have vowed to oppose any tax increases.

The bill is a companion to a proposed constitutional amendment on highway funding.

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