Gov. Hutchinson stops in Jonesboro to campaign for Issue 1 highway funding plan

Gov. Hutchinson stops in Jonesboro to campaign for Issue 1 highway funding plan

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson stopped Monday at the Jonesboro Municipal Airport to campaign for a highway funding plan on the November general election ballot.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will be visiting Jonesboro Monday to campaign for the Issue 1 highway funding plan on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson will be visiting Jonesboro Monday to campaign for the Issue 1 highway funding plan on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. (Source: KARK-TV)

Issue 1, if approved by voters, would seek to continue a half-cent sales tax for state highways and bridges, county roads and bridges, and other surface transportation in the state.

Gov. Hutchinson pushed for why it’s vital to continue the half-cent sales tax.

“It will allow us to continue to invest in the four-lane infrastructure. It will improve our farm to market roads that are risky and unsafe in some areas. It will make sure the continued funding goes to our cities and counties," Gov. Hutchinson said.

A group also rallied against Issue 1.

On Monday, dozens of Northeast Arkansas Tea party members, along with legislators, gathered to stand against Issue 1.

The tax first passed in 2012 with the understanding, the tax would end in ten years.

Americans for Prosperity is also against the measure.

Several people from the Northeast Arkansas Tea Party group say they don’t want their children and grandchildren to pay this tax forever.

They believe once a tax is written into the constitution, it’s hard to reverse that decision.

Community Engagement Director Hannah Bunch believes there are better solutions.

“We don’t want to put something on our children forever. And innovation is coming. Who knows how our transportation is going to be, so this is not a very innovative way to fund our roads,” Bunch said.

They argue that Arkansas pays the second-highest sales tax rates in the county, so Arkansans do not need legislation to hurt them.

Sen. Dan Sullivan says this will greatly affect the everyday person and will more than likely benefit big businesses.

“The fact is, some of the bigger businesses in Arkansas benefit more proportionally more than the average person. The average person doesn’t use our road as much as some of the bigger businesses do,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan says there are better resources for funding.

“We have a marijuana tax. 25,000 pounds of marijuana will be sold. That tax will be coming in. We have two new casinos. That’s new revenue coming in. So, we have a lot of new revenue coming in to help offset,” Sullivan said.

Gov. Hutchinson also visited Harrison, Rogers, El Dorado, and North Little Rock Monday.

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