Beebe Says His Grocery Tax Cut has Legislative Support

JANUARY 5, 2007 - Posted at 7:39 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor-elect Mike Beebe says several legislators have volunteered to sponsor legislation to cut the state's sales tax on groceries, and he's not discouraged by the reluctance of legislative leaders to embrace the proposal.

He said yesterday that his victory in November's election shows public support for cutting the sales tax on groceries.  He spoke at a forum on the upcoming legislative session, sponsored by the Associated Press Managing Editors Association.

Beebe said that, during last year's campaign, the people of Arkansas followed closely his race with Republican Asa Hutchinson, and they knew what they were doing when they elected him.  He had campaigned on phasing out the six-cent tax on groceries.

Beebe offered few details of his proposal to phase out the tax.  He said he would unveil his plan during a joint session of the House and Senate next Wednesday.  Beebe said he has not yet drafted any bills for the tax cut.

Beebe addressed the group after incoming House Speaker Benny Petrus and incoming Senate President Jack Critcher (D-Batesville) expressed reluctance to eliminate the tax, which generates about $250 million annually.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)