Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (R) became the second high-ranking Republican elected official to throw his support for a half-cent sales tax increase for Arkansas highways.
Ballot Issue No. 1 is a legislature-referred ballot measure that will allow voters to decide a 10-year, temporary half-cent sales tax increase for four-lane highway construction and repairs.
Move Arkansas Forward, a coalition of business and highway proponents, are campaigning in favor of the measure. No organized coalition is campaigning against the proposed amendment, although conservative anti-tax organizations, such as Americans for Prosperity, are voicing opposition to the effort.
In our latest issue of Talk Business Quarterly, AFP’s Teresa Oelke and Highway Commissioner and Move Arkansas Forward Chairman Madison Murphy opine on the subject.
Last month, Sen. John Boozman (R) said he supported the highway tax proposal.
In announcing his support on Tuesday (Oct. 9), Darr said, “No one hates taxes more than me; however, one of the primary functions of government is to build roads and infrastructure and this act does just that.
“My two primary reasons for supporting Ballot Issue No. 1 are the 40,000 non-government jobs that will be created and or protected and the relief of heavy traffic congestion. Traffic congestion has become a serious issue in Central Arkansas as well as Northwest Arkansas. I believe this act will address those needs. Only 3% of the stimulus money received a few years ago went to improving our roads. With Ballot Issue No. 1, 100% of funds will go towards roads.
“I believe doing nothing is more costly to the state of Arkansas and its citizens than implementing this act. I am proud of Senator Boozman’s leadership on this particular issue and I am pleased to join him in supporting Ballot Issue No. 1.”