Arkansas Business' 25 Legislative Actions (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

22. Grocery Tax Cut (2007)
Fulfilling a campaign promise to eliminate sales taxes on groceries in stages, Gov. Beebe proposed halving the state sales tax to 3 percent, and the Legislature obliged. He is trying to carve away another penny in the current session.

23. Gas Severance Tax (2008)
A threat by former gas executive Sheffield Nelson to put a 7 percent severance tax on the general election ballot by initiative gave Gov. Beebe enough leverage to force a 5 percent tax (with liberal exemptions) through the Legislature, the first significant tax on gas production in the state's history. The proceeds go mostly to highways.

24. State Lottery (2008)
Lt. Gov. Bill Halter led an initiative campaign to amend the state Constitution to authorize the Legislature to conduct a lottery with the net proceeds supporting an expanded college scholarship program. Voters approved it by a wide margin, and the Legislature is now wrestling with the devilish details.

25. Tobacco Taxes (2009)
A coalition of health groups sought an increase in tobacco excise taxes to pay for some 20 health projects, the largest being a comprehensive emergency medical system. Gov. Beebe embraced it, fixed the tax increase at 56 cents a pack, and the Democratic leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives rounded up enough Republican votes to reach the three-fourths threshold for passing the tax.


(Click here to see all the stories in our anniversary edition. Or click here to flip through each page of the edition in this special free electronic version.) 



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