Paragould Senator Offers Tax Plan

January 14, 2004 - Posted at 7:46 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Senators are gathering information on proposals to raise taxes to pay for court-ordered education reforms.

Senator Tim Wooldridge (D-Paragould) and state fiscal officers spent more than an hour yesterday in the Senate chamber fielding questions.  The House and Senate revenue and taxation committees have not acted on any tax measures.  The committees are scheduled to meet jointly today.

Among the tax proposals on the table are:

-A five-eighths percent sales tax increase that would raise $241 million.

-Repealing the state's 30 percent capital gains exclusion, raising $22 million.

-Raising the assessment rate for property taxes from 20 percent to 22 percent, raising between $25 million to $80 million.

-Expansion of the sales tax to some services, such as wrecker and industrial cleaning services, with the amount depending on the services affected.

-A seven percent flat tax on corporate income, raising $25 million.

-Raising the state severance tax on natural gas to as much as 15 cents per one thousand cubic feet, with allowances for low-producing wells.  That move would raise $9 million.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)