Beebe Says Money for Proposed Trauma Center Can't Come from General Revenue

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Beebe said today that the state cannot afford to fund a $25 million trauma care system using general revenue, even though a legislator says he may push for a ballot item to create the network.

Beebe says the budget is balanced and takes a conservative outlook for future revenue.  But the governor says he does not expect that to create an extra $25 million.

Representative Denny Sumpter, a West Memphis Democrat, says he's drafting a proposal for the 2008 ballot.

A proposal during the session would have placed a quarter-cent tax increase on insurance policies throughout the state, exempting fixed life insurance policies.  The premium increase, coupled with a $50 fee on drunken-driving convictions, would have raised $15 million for the system.

Senate members of a conference committee endorsed that proposal but House members rejected the tax increase.

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