A Better Region 8: Highway Funding

A Better Region 8: Highway Funding

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Last month, as the Arkansas legislative session began, we made an easy prediction about our highway funding.

For example: "The governor and the Republican-led state House and Senate want to cut income taxes, but they also say we need at least $200 million annually to keep our roads in decent shape.

It'll take more to build or widen any roads.

Legislators don't have a good path on how to get there.

Well, let's predict this now: Our income taxes will go down and our fuel tax will go up.

We're not advocating it, just a prediction."

And that's exactly what's happening.

Those making above $86,000 a year in household income will see a tax break.

This week, a house panel endorsed a plan to ask voters next year to permanently extend a half-cent sales tax for state highways.

We're already paying the tax. It's set to expire in 2023.

There is another funding plan that would raise fuel taxes and take a piece of the expected casino revenue for roads.

Both proposals are waiting to go to the entire house to be voted for or against, then the Senate and governor would also have their say.

And then what happens if Arkansans, the ones who show up to vote anyway, say no to extending the sales tax.

Either way, the money to fund our roads, our schools, our health programs and other areas of our state government must get funded. It’s just what pocket and whose pocket we’re taking it from.

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